Jan. 13, 2010
The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) has announced that Luther College wrestling coach Dave Mitchell will be inducted into the Division III Wrestling Coaches’ Association’s Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place prior to the NCAA III National Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 5-6. The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held Thursday, March 4, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Mitchell will be one of two coaches, along with three former student-athletes, who will be inducted into the NWCA Division III Wrestling Coaches’ Association’s Hall of Fame.
Since taking over as head coach of the Luther program 14 years ago, Mitchell has led the Norse to a dual-meet record of 175-76-6 and is Luther’s all-time leader for career coaching victories.
Luther has placed in the top five at the Division III National Tournament six times in the last nine years—finishing third in 2005 and 2004; fourth in 2007, 2006, and 2001; and fifth in 2003.
In 2004, following Luther’s first third-place finish and highest finish ever at the national meet in school history, Mitchell was named the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year.
He has also had the privilege of coaching eight national champions, four national runner-ups, 41 All-Americans, 30 Scholar All-Americans, two NCAA Postgraduate Scholars, four CoSIDA Scholar All-Americans, and two Iowa Conference Scholar Athletes of the Year—an award that has only been in existence for nine years.
A graduate of Riceville High School, Mitchell continued his wrestling career at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. While wrestling for the Eagles, he captured the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championship at 167 and was named the league MVP his senior year (1993). That same year, he went on to earn All-American honors, placing third at the national meet. Twice he was named to the NWCA Coaches Academic All-American team and once to the CoSIDA Academic All-America team.
“This is an honor I did not expect, and I am very thankful to my colleagues for considering me for it,” stated Mitchell. “I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach some outstanding student-athletes, all of whom played huge roles in taking Luther College to a high level. I have also been very fortunate to be surrounded with outstanding people, including my top assistant coach Jeff O’Gara. I share this honor with him as I would not have been inducted had it not been for his dedication, loyalty and great service to our program and student-athletes.
“I would also like to thank my wife, Bridgette, and our children, Olivia, Cecilia, Isaiah and Elijah. As people in the coaching profession know, a coach spends a lot of time away from home. My family has been wonderful in the support they have given me that has allowed us to accomplish the things we have here at Luther.
“Luther College is a special place. I am humbled by the coaches and wrestlers that have come before me, and I am thankful for all of the support I have received.”