Boiling Springs, N.C. -
Gardner-Webb wrestling head coach Dick Wince, who has been a part of
Gardner-Webb Wrestling for 22 years, 20 years overall as the head coach of the
GWU wrestling program, has officially announced his retirement.
"Our wrestling program has been positively
impacted by Coach Wince during his outstanding career," said Vice
President for Athletics Chuck Burch. "His leadership and influence has
been instrumental in the lives of dozens of young men who have gone on to
success after college. He is a pillar of our wrestling program's history, and
will be missed. We wish him well in his retirement."
Wince, who has overseen the program from its
days as a small NAIA competitor all the way to its current status as a
competitive mid-major program at the NCAA Division I level and its first year
in the Southern Conference, has steadily built a winning tradition in Boiling
"I came here in 1990 with every intention of
staying five years and moving on...instead, I fell in love with the people in
this institution, and with college coaching. I learned many years ago that the joy of coaching was not in
wins and losses, but in relationships.
There are so many more important things than winning wrestling
matches. I've been blessed far
beyond what I deserve in so many ways that it's difficult to know where to
start," commented Coach Wince."
Under his tutelage, the GWU program has seen
at least one wrestler make it to the NCAA National Division I Championships in
eight of the last nine seasons, including having four grapplers qualify for the
national tournament both in 2011 and 2006, both school records.
In fact, Wince's first NCAA Division I
national qualifier was his son Erik in 2002-03.
During GWU's 12-year Division I history, the
Runnin' Bulldogs have had a total of 16 national qualifiers, while grapplers
Dustin Porter, Josh Pniewski and Daniel Elliott all earned top-20 national
rankings during their time as Runnin' Bulldogs.
In GWU's NAIA and NCAA Division II history,
Wince had four wrestlers earn All-America honors, the first being James Short
in 1997, while Kenny Wince, another of Coach Wince's sons, was GWU's first of
eight Academic All-Americans in 1999.
"It has been amazing seeing young men go
through the most profound maturation of their lives and being a part of
it. It has been amazing to be able
to use our great sport as a vehicle for introducing people to the Gospel. It has
been amazing to hear from alumni that even decades later they believe that
being a part of Gardner-Webb wrestling has helped them to become great
husbands, fathers...etc. and that they are grateful for having been here," stated
On more than one occasion, Coach Wince's
squad has been honored for their work in the classroom, being honored numerous
times by the National Wrestling Coaches Association as one of the top-30 NCAA
Division I programs in team grade point average throughout various seasons
under his tenure.
blessed to become friends with some of the greatest names in our sport.
I've been especially been blessed to have alumni who are now dear and
longtime friends and hunting buddies," continued Wince.