Seventh annual NWCA/FCA CEO Leadership Academy set for Edwardsville, Ill., May 16-17

By Jason Bryant, NWCA | May 16, 2017, 12:28 p.m. (ET)

Manheim, Pennsylvania – The seventh annual NWCA/FCAW CEO Leadership Academy is set to take place at the Jon Davis Wrestling Center in Edwardsville, Ill., on May 16-17. A collaborative effort between the National Wrestling Coaches Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Wrestling, this Leadership Academy is focused on coaches at faith-based institutions.
Since 2000, there have been 173 new collegiate wrestling teams on both the men’s and women’s side and most of the additions have come from small, private faith-based colleges and universities.

“Smaller faith-based institutions have a set of values that present their own unique challenges,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “With the help of Dr. Dan Gould, the architect for both of our Leadership Academies and with the backing of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we have a tremendous educational program with a great panel of speakers, coaches and individuals who can help with the nature of these institutions.”

The panel includes legendary and Hall of Fame retired head coaches Jack Spates (Oklahoma), John Fritz (Penn State), and Jim Miller (Wartburg),  along with highly successful current college coaches including Maryville head coach Mike Denney, Wheaton coach Jim Gruenwald, Grand View head coach Nick Mitchell, and Chattanooga head coach Heath Eslinger.  The academy will be facilitated by Michigan State doctoral graduate Scott Westfall, who works with the MSU Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and is regarded as an expert in Sports Leadership. The academy will be highlighted by the keynote luncheon speech by Col. Jason Morris of the United States Marine Corps. Col. Morris has numerous decorations from the Marines.

“Each speaker brings a unique element to the discussion,” said Moyer. “And we’re also elated to add Col. Morris to the fray. The Marine Corps has long been supportive of the NWCA efforts with our events, but they’ve also stepped up to become a partner with our Leadership Academy. We can’t say enough about how much the Marines have done and will continue to do for the NWCA and the sport of wrestling as a whole.”

“There’s truly something every attendee can learn from each of our speakers,” said Moyer. “Not all schools have the same institutional vision, so with our partners at FCA Wrestling, we can learn, teach and prepare coaches for all aspects of coaching beyond the technical part of the sport.”

The joint NWCA-FCAW Leadership Academy is part of a much larger NWCA coaching development initiative. The CEO Leadership Academy components are designed to strengthen the coach’s CEO skills as well as to promote best practices for maintaining a strong alignment between our collegiate wrestling programs and the greater educational mission of each school. In 2011, the “faith-based” component was added so scholarships can be extended to an additional 25 – 30 coaches each year.
In 2017, 15 college, high school and club coaches will attend this year’s Leadership Academy. College coaches include: Matthew Cross (Elizabethtown), Canaan Bethea (George Mason), Justin Solberg (Minnesota State-Moorhead), Shaun Lally (Muhlenberg), Logan Davis (Southern Virginia), Michael Case (Dubuque), Chris Skretkowicz and Rich Lavorato (VMI), Jared Fekete (Wheaton), Jonathan Drendel, Daniel Capp and Graham Karwath (Williams Baptist), Jose Quintana (UW-Eau Claire) and Efrain Ayala (UW-Oshkosh).

From the club and high school levels: Shawn Weltzin (Thompson High), Chris Yentzer, Chad Parks (Shawnee Heights) and Chuck Hoskins (Westfield High)

For full information about the NWCA Leadership Academy, go to