Dave Mitchell

Head wrestling coach and instructor in mathematics

First year coaching at Luther: 1995 (started as a volunteer assistant coach and assumed the head coaching position in 1997).

Career stats: Has coached 35 All-Americans, seven national champions, four national runner-ups, 24 Scholar All-Americans, one NCAA Postgraduate Scholar, and one two-time CoSIDA Scholar All-American.

You could say that Dave likes to keep things in the family--the Luther family, that is.

For starters, its hard to wrangle 15 minutes of his time without friendly interruptions from his students, athletes, or other staff, all asking his advice or extending an invitation of some sort. They seek him out because he goes the distance to meet them--in Summer 2007, for example, he traveled with his young family to the weddings of seven Luther wrestling alumni.

"I've been here 13 seasons, and I really can't distinguish the first team from the most recent," Dave explains. "It just feels like we all wrestled together."

Open, honest communication is partially responsible for holding Dave's sprawling Luther family together. "We talk about high expectations often," he explains. "We're at a point now where our starters should be in the mix to contend for All-American status, and that gives every guy in every weight class something to aspire to. We each find ways to contribute to a great team environment."

When he's not mat-side, Dave teaches statistics and other introductory-level courses, often working with students who don't intend to take any more math at the college level. "I like the challenge of knowing I might be the last person to get students fired up about the subject," he says with a laugh. He also enjoys the chance to meet a wider cross-section of Luther's student population.

Dave also serves on Luther's Interpersonal Violence Hearing Board and various faculty search committees. And he never tires of talking coaching--with assistant coach (and former college teammate) Jeff O'Gara; with his own college coach, Greg Lonning, who now serves as director of Luther's wellness program; and with coaches who came before him, including multi-sport legend Paul Solberg (who was, coincidentally, Lonning's coach and mentor).

"I knew from the start that Luther was a place for great team-building, and it's humbling to see that the traits of strong coaching have been passed down to me."