Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb Athletics Department is pleased to announce the promotion of Daniel Elliott to Head Coach of the Wrestling program. Elliott served as the Associate Head Coach for the last two seasons and has been on the GWU wrestling coaching staff for the last seven years.
Elliott will take over for former head coach Dick Wince who retired at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season after 22 years at Gardner-Webb University.
"Daniel came here as a student-athlete in 2001, and it has been a pleasure to watch him mature and grow into a coach worthy of this position in just over 10 years," said Vice President for Athletics Chuck Burch. "His drive and enthusiasm will serve him well, as will his love for this University and wrestling program.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to be the next head wrestling coach at Gardner-Webb University. It is a special feeling to be able to coach at one's alma mater and I am truly thankful for the chance to continue to be a part of the development of this program," commented Coach Elliott.
Since moving over to the bench as a coach, Elliott has seen at least one GWU wrestler make it to the NCAA Championships in five of the last six years, including watching a record-tying four student-athletes qualify for nationals in 2010-11.
In 2010, Dustin Porter, who reached the NCAA Championships in each of the four years from 2007-10, became GWU's first four-time qualifier, while fellow GWU grappler Rob Tate reached the Championships in 2006-07, earning the Runnin' Bulldogs lone victory at the national event that season.
In the classroom, redshirt-sophomore Alex Medved was tabbed as a 2011 National Wrestling Coaches Association National Academic All-American, one of 92 student-athletes across the nation to receive this academic recognition.
Redshirt-senior Jonathan Velazquez was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2011 NCAA East Regional Championships, as he helped lead GWU to a second-place overall team finish with a total of 74.5 points at the meet. Velazquez, along with Travis Porter and both Alex and Ryan Medved, were crowned East Regional Champions in their respective weight classes and qualified for the national championship tournament.
In 2010-11, Gardner-Webb had four grapplers' record over 20 wins on the season, while six wrestlers posted winning records on the year.
"Daniel has learned and gained a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from one of his mentors, Coach Dick Wince, as both a student-athlete and a coach," added Burch. "We continue to be grateful to Coach Wince for his tireless efforts in building our wrestling program over the past two decades. We are excited for Daniel to be able to continue building on that foundation."
Elliott has worked hard in raising money for the GWU Wrestling program and its new facility. His fundraising efforts allowed the Runnin' Bulldog wrestling program to move into a new building for the 2010-11 season, which when fully renovated will be one of the nicest wrestling only facilities in all of NCAA Division I with offices, locker room, team room, bathrooms and a large practice area.
"The wrestling program has undergone several changes in the recent year ranging from our move into the Southern Conference to the current training facility. During my past few years as associate head coach, Coach Wince has given me the trust and guidance to take over several areas of the program," added Coach Elliott. "I am excited to continue to grow as a coach and as a program. We will continue to work to bring quality people to Gardner-Webb who will buy into the goals of the wrestling program as we work to improve. This is a very vital time in a young person's growth, and I look forward to helping our athletes grow into citizens that Gardner-Webb will be proud of."
During his career for the Runnin' Bulldogs, Elliott was a two-time NCAA Qualifier. He was also a two-time regional champion at 149 pounds. In his last regional meet, Elliott was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler. He finished the regular season with a record of 39-2 during his senior campaign and was ranked 10th in the nation in the final standings.
Elliott holds the school record for career wins, single-season wins in addition to consecutive wins. He also led the team in each of his last three seasons in takedowns.
In the spring of 2008, Elliott competed in the USA Wrestling Northeast Regional and placed third in his weight class, marking the first time that he had placed at a senior-level event.
"Gardner-Webb University holds a very special part of my heart. I have been associated with this university for over ten years now, starting as a student and now becoming the head coach of the wrestling program. I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the school, the athletic department and the wrestling program. I have been changed as a person during my time here at Gardner-Webb and look forward to helping our team members grow as men," remarked Elliott.
Elliott graduated in May 2006 with a double major in history and communications. Elliott then went on to earn his masters in sports sciences and pedagogy from Gardner-Webb in the summer of 2008.
"I would like to thank Dr. Bonner, Mr. Burch and the rest of the Gardner-Webb administration for putting their trust and faith into me as I take over the wrestling program. This is an exciting time in the program's history and I am thankful to be a part of this transition," continued Coach Elliott.
Last season, the Gardner-Webb wrestling program's first year as associate members of the Southern Conference, the Runnin' Bulldog grapplers posted a 6-12 dual match record and a 2-5 record in conference dual match action for the season.
Battling injuries all season long, the Runnin' Bulldogs were able to post a sixth-place finish at the 2012 Southern Conference Wrestling Championship in March, scoring a team total of 21 points as three wrestlers placed in fourth-place or higher in their respective weight classes. However, for the first time in the program's 12-year Division I history, the Runnin' Bulldogs did not send a wrestler to the NCAA National Championships.
In the program's first ever postseason conference championship tournament, redshirt-junior Travis Porter, who suffered a fall in the True Second match at 197 pounds at the conference championship tournament, took third-place overall, while fellow teammates Alex Medved (157 pounds) and Justin Guthrie (165 pounds) each placed fourth in their weight classes.
Alex Medved and Guthrie each posted 19 overall wins on the season to lead the team, while redshirt-senior Michael Slaughter finished his career out at GWU on a high note with 16 total combined wins at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively.