Northern Illinois Names Former Buffalo Aide John Stutzman Assistant Wrestling Coach

By Robert Hester | Oct. 31, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
DeKALB, IL Northern Illinois University wrestling coach Dave Grant has learned the requirements for success in the Mid-American Conference during the past four seasons. The Huskie coach gained a step on at least one of his league rivals by naming former University at Buffalo aide John Stutzman as his assistant coach for the 2000-01 campaign. Stutzman helped head coach Jim Beichner guide the Bulls to to a fourth-place finish at the MAC Championships last spring following a 9-3-0 dual-meet record during the regular season. Three UB grapplers qualified for the NCAA tournament after second-place showings at the MAC summit, with 133-pounder Shawn Kegel carrying UB colors with a 30-12 ledger. Teammates Josh States (28-13 at 184 pounds) and Joe Downey(26-15 at 197) also traveled to the national meet. The Bulls' performance marked the third consecutive season UB had sent three individuals to the NCAA Championships. "John has a great deal of experience in coaching, being at two programs (Buffalo plus a short stint as an assistant at Drexel University). He is a highly motivated, energetic person," Grant explained. "He is definitely committed to the wrestling program and the athletes. He will bring a high level of intensity and enthusiasm to our program." Stutzman returned to his alma mater after three standout seasons for the Bulls. He owns the program record with 95 career victories as part of a 95-27 (.778) overall mark, including 35 wins in 1996-97. That total had stood as the UB single-season hallmark until Gary Cooper posted 37 triumphs last season. His 35-4 (.897) record as a junior is third in the school's all-time single-season winning percentage rankings. The new Huskie aide was an alternate for the NCAA Championships in both 1996 and 1997. The preliminary invitation came after he won 29 matches as a sophomore to gain the first of three consecutive East Coast Wrestling League placefinishes before UB joined the MAC in 1998. He also is one of only two wrestlers in Buffalo history to win 30 or more matches in two separate seasons. A 31-win campaign as a senior(1997-98) enabled Stutzman to join that elite group. Before he came to Buffalo, Stutzman wrestled one year (1994-95) at Niagara County (NY) Community College where he posted a 38-9 record. His personal resume also includes second- and third-place finishes at the Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association state tournament. In the process, he helped his William Penn High School team to a pair of state titles. "It's good to be able to get back to the MAC and have a chance to work with Dave to help Northern Illinois move up in the conference," Stutzman said. "My goal is to help the Huskies win the MAC championship and continue to produce All-America wrestlers. That's a high hope but I think you have to work hard and set goals high in order to achieve them." The 26-year-old Stutzman is a native of Bear, DE. He earned his bachelor of social sciences degree in early childhood education from UB in 1998.