The Baldwin Wallace University wrestling program has been one best in the Ohio Athletic Conference, the Mideast (2016 and 2017) and Central Region (2018) of Division III and all of NCAA Division III. History proves that fact, both past and recent
The Recent Success
BW has won the last three OAC titles, placed second at the Mideast Regional Tournament in 2016 and 2017 and qualified seven of its wrestlers the past two seasons to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. In 2018, BW won its third straight OAC crown to tie the 1971 through 1973 squads for the most consecutive leafue titles in school history.
In addition, BW has had 13 of its wrestling student-athletes named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-America team. That is more than any other school in Division III.
At the time of this update (February 19, 2018), BW travels to the Central Regional Tournament at Wabash University in Crawfordsville, Indiana on February 23-24 and hopes to qualify as many of its student-athletes possible for this yea's NCAA Div. III National Tournament, hosted by BW on March 9-10 at Public Hall/ Auditorium in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
Jamie Gibbs Took Over in 2011-2012:
The program entered a new era in 2011-2012 when current Head Coach Jamie Gibbs took over the program for another BW coaching legend, Rich Fleming, who retired after 23 seasons as head coach.
The Recent Success During the Gibbs Era:
Since the day Gibbs stepped on the BW campus, the Yellow Jacket wrestling program has gotten better and better and better. Here are some of the success in the past five seasons. Cmbined, BW is 84-21 for an outstanding .800 winning percentage.
This season, BW won its third straight OAC title, compiled a 19-2 overall and perfect 6-0 dual match recod and did not have a close match in conference action. The Yellow Jackets ended the regular season ranked sixth in the NWCA Div. III national poll. BW defeated five teams ranked in the Top-25 and its only two losses have come at the hands of teams ranked even higher! More history in 2017-18 awaits this outstanding group of 37 men and coaches at the regional and national tourneys.
A year ago, Gibbs again led his squad to a school-record number of dual match victories with 22, a 22-3 overall record, a perfect 5-0 record in OAC duals with a second straight OAC title, an all-time-best second place finish at the NCAA Division III Mideast Region Tournament for the second straight year and placed high as a team at the 2017 NCAA Div. III National Tournament. BW finished 10th in the final NWCA Division III national poll. In addition, BW received a NWCA National Team Award for its fine 3.31 team grade point average, and six grapplers were named to the NWCA Scholar All-America team.
In 2015-2016, Gibbs led his squad to a school-record number of dual match victories with 18, an 18-8 overall record, a perfect 5-0 record in OAC duals with the aforementioned OAC title, an all-time-best second place finish at the NCAA Division III Mideast Region Tournament and a 31st place showing at the 2016 NCAA Div. III National Tournament. BW finished 17th in the final NWCA Division III national poll. In addition, BW received a NWCA National Team Award for its fine 3.14 team grade point average, and a BW-record seven grapplers were named to the NWCA Scholar All-America team.
In 2014-2015, Gibbs led his Yellow Jackets to a then record 17 dual match wins, a 17-5 overall and 4-1 OAC record, a sixth place finish at the Mideast Regional and a 20th-place finish at the Div. III National Tournament. Gunter, Chase and then sophomore Josh Decatur '18 were Div. III national tourney qualifiers, and Gunter (fourth) and Chase (seventh) went on to earn All-America accolades. In addition, four student-athletes were named to the NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) Scholar All-America Team. BW finished 20th in the final NWCA poll.
In 2013-2014, Gibbs and the Yellow Jacket program took a major step forward as it had an 8-3 dual match record, sent three wrestlers to the 2014 Div. III national tourney, including Gunter who placed third and earned Div. III All-American status. In addition, three Yellow Jackets, including Gunter, were named to the NWCA Scholar All-America Team. BW finished the season ranked 22nd in the final adidas-Brute/ NWCA Division III poll. It was BW's first Top-25 ranking since 2007
Two National Champs and Two Runners-up:
BW is extremely proud of its two NCAA Division III national champions in Paul Petrella in 1977 and Kevin Higgins in 1989 and its two runner-up finishers in 177-pounder Kelly Keenan in 1994 and 285-pounder Bryan Kmetz in 2007, and a third place finish from junior Jesse Gunter.
Recent History of Individual Success:
- Two NCAA National Champions
- Two NCAA Runners-Up
- 13 Division III All-Americans
- 18 OAC champions
- 23 OAC runner-ups
The Legendary John Summa Built BW into a Winner In Wrestling in the 1960s:
The BW program began its run to excellence in 1948 when the legendary John Summa was named coach. In his 32-year career, Summa compiled a school and OAC-record 201-140-1 mark, including six OAC titles and a 105-38-1 OAC record. During much of Summa's early career, BW was not a part of the OAC and the Yellow Jackets competed against schools such as Kent State University, the University of Akron, Toledo, Ashland and other current NCAA Division I and II programs.