Irwin Named West Liberty Wrestling Coach
WHEELING — West Liberty University officials didn’t have to travel very far in their search for a new head wrestling coach. All it took was a short jaunt down W.Va. 88.
Wheeling Jesuit University coach Danny Irwin was introduced as the Hilltoppers’ next mat boss during a press conference Monday morning at the university’s downtown center.
“Our esteemed President, Dr. Stephen Greiner, sends his regrets for not being able to attend today. He is currently in China on official university business,” West Liberty University athletics director Lynn Ullom said. “This is a tremendous day for West Liberty University wrestling. We have a long and storied tradition of success in wrestling. Not only is this a big day for West Liberty University, but I would also like to think that it is a big day for the Ohio Valley wrestling community.”
Ullom said the hiring was a no-brainer.
“How many times are you fortunate enough that when you embark upon a coaching search you’re going to have someone, even locally, that can step right in with credentials that make them elite in his field?”
Irwin comes to the hilltop after two highly successful seasons with the Cardinals. This past season they qualified six wrestlers to the D-II nationals, and all six earned All-American honors. The Cardinals finished as NCAA D-II national runnersup and Irwin was named the D-II Coach of the Year.
“I’m deeply honored to take over a program with the rich tradition of West Liberty wrestling,” Irwin said. “This was an awesome opportunity for me to work with a group of people who are committed to success in every phase of the student-athlete experience. The support this program receives from the alumni, administration and the Ohio Valley wrestling community is overwhelming.
“Anytime you leave somewhere where you’ve put your heart and soul into, it’s extremely tough. I coached high school for two years and it was tough to leave that group of men. I was at Wabash for nine years and the relationships that were built there were tough to leave. Only being in Wheeling for two years was special … this area is special. Not only in sports and wrestling in general, but the people.”
Although Greiner was not able to attend, he did send his regards in a statement.
“We are tremendously excited to bring in such an impressive young man who has demonstrated success at the highest levels athletically and academically. Coach Irwin’s incredible work ethic combined with his proven ability to recruit and develop high-achieving student-athletes on and off the mat make him a perfect ambassador for his sport and a great fit for our university.”
Prior to coming to Wheeling Jesuit, Irwin spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division III Wabash College. During his nine years, the Little Giants posted four NCAA Division III Top 10 finishes. He was named Regional Assistant Coach of the Year on three occasions, and was a national finalist for the Best of Brands social media award across all NCAA divisions. He started his coaching career with a 2-year stint at Bluffton High school in Indiana.
“My immediate goal at West Liberty is to get to know the team and the families that support them,” Irwin said. “I also want to hear from the alumni base. Each one has a different story but it’s the combination of those stories that make West Liberty one of the nation’s most tradition-rich wrestling programs.”
Irwin said he can’t wait to meet the team and his staff of assistants.
Irwin replaces Mitch Smith who recently stepped down to accept a position in the private sector.
An Indiana native, Irwin was a regional champion and 2-time national qualifier during his days at Manchester University. He and his wife, Andrea, reside in St. Clairsville with their two children, Addison and J.P.