Joe Boardwine named head wrestling coach

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Joe Boardwine, one of the top high school wrestling coaches in the State of Ohio, has been hired as head wrestling coach at Campbell University, Director of Athletics Stan Williamson announced on Thursday.

Boardwine joins the Fighting Camel staff after serving the last year as head coach at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in addition to handling duties as National Director of Wrestling for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In addition to guiding wrestlers from three different high schools to state championships in Ohio, Boardwine also served as Associate Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer of the National High School (Wrestling) Coaches Association from 2004-07 and was National Teams Director / Ohio State Director of that same organization from 1999-2004.

“We are happy to welcome Joe Boardwine as our new head wrestling coach at Campbell University,” said Williamson.  “Joe has a strong background as a wrestler and as a developer of young wrestling talent.  Having served at two national organizations, Joe brings a wealth of contact information that will greatly aid in the recruiting of young men to wrestle at Campbell University.  We have found Joe to be a man of integrity and great passion for wrestling who is a great fit for our university.”

In Boardwine’s eight years in the prep ranks at Walsh Jesuit, University School (2001-2004) and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (1998-2001), he coached 13 Ohio (OHSAA) State Champions and 28 state qualifiers or place-winners and 15 high school All-Americans.

He replaces Billy Greene, who resigned in April to pursue other professional opportunities while remaining at CU as an adjunct professor in the mathematics department.

“I would like to thank President (Dr. Jerry) Wallace and Mr. Williamson for this opportunity and also for their evident commitment to the sport of wrestling at Campbell University,” said Boardwine, a 1997 graduate of Kent State.  “The most important thing I want to communicate is that Campbell University Wrestling is committed to training wrestlers and competing with its team at the highest level.”

Named Cleveland Plain Dealer Coach of the Year in 2003 and News Herald Coach of the Year in 2004, Boardwine was also chosen the NWCA National Assistant Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2001.

Boardwine’s vision for Fighting Camel Wrestling is clear. 

“The goals of the program will be to continue to produce championship results in the classroom and mentoring the wrestlers spiritually, but with a new commitment from everyone to start producing All-Americans and National Champions.”

In each of the last three years, Campbell has been named among the nation’s top 25 All-Academic Teams by the NWCA, including an 11th-place ranking in 2010 with a 3.1349 team grade-point average.  Campbell wrestlers have advanced to the NCAA Championships six times since 1987.

The Camels moved into the 3,000-seat John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center in the fall of 2008 and one season later, Parker Burns became the latest CU wrestler to advance to the NCAA Championships after he won the 197-pound weight class at the NCAA East Regional.

“This program is ready to explode,” said Boardwine.  “Everything is now in place for Campbell to grow to become a top-25 team in the nation.  From the brand-new practice facility to the new weight room, new locker room and 3,000 seat convocation center for matches, everything is here for wrestlers who dream of trying to become great – to come here, get a great education and reach their true potential.”

As National Director for the FCA Wrestling ministry, Boardwine served with the likes of Rich Bender (USA Wrestling Executive Director), Lee Roy Smith (National Wrestling Hall of Fame Executive Director) and Olympic champions John Peterson and Brandon Slay on the Leadership Board.  Under his guidance, FCA Wrestling’s current primary initiatives are to conduct a prayer breakfast at every high school state tournament in the nation and to train coaches to lead new wrestling programs at faith-based colleges and universities.

Boardwine started his head coaching career at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in 1998 and oversaw a turnaround that resulted in Ohio state tournament places of 5th, 3rd and 2nd in his three years.  His program produced blue chip recruits like 4-time state champion Harry Lester, who has twice earned World Bronze medalist honors, plus state champion and eventual 3-time NCAA All-American Andy Vogel, who now serves as head coach at Gettysburg (Pa.) College.

The native of Aurora, Ohio moved to University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio and guided that program to state championship finishes of 15th, and 8th and 5th in three seasons.

Boardwine also served as Ohio State Chairman of the national High School (Wrestling) Coaches Association (NHSCA) from 1994-2004.  In that role, the helped create and train national teams for elite Ohio high school wrestlers to compete around in the United States in national events. 

He then moved to Easton, Pa., in June 2004 to serve as Associate Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the NHSCA.  Boardwine was responsible for all daily operations of the national non-profit organization that conducts the National High School Wrestling Championships, Final Four of High School Wrestling and National Dual Meet Championships.

A 1997 summa cum laude graduate of Kent State with a B.S. in Education, Boardwine also earned his M.S. in Educational Administration from Drexel University.  During his undergraduate career, Boardwine was a two-time Mid-American Conference finalist and placed in the league championships in each of his three trips to the event.  He won over 80 matches on the collegiate level.

Upon his return to his native Ohio in June 2007, Boardwine worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley for two years before accepting the positions with Walsh Jesuit and FCA.

Boardwine is intent on translating the success his high school and club programs have enjoyed to the NCAA Division I level.

“That’s what we are shooting for at Campbell University – producing great students who are close to their community, are growing spiritually and working hard, while fighting for national championships and All-America status.  This is this kind of campus where wrestlers can thrive not only competitively, but can also get to know each other and their professors and community really well because of its smaller size. You don’t get lost in the shuffle.”

Boardwine also plans to develop a full summer camp program at Campbell, plus clinics and special events for the sport, hosted at the Pope Convocation Center.  He also plans to upgrade the varsity schedule to increase the level of exposure CU wrestlers receive to the top teams in the nation and to new geographic areas. He also plans for Campbell to begin recruiting the best high school prospects in not only North Carolina and the Southeast region, but around the nation.

“Generally, you’ll see a big increase in the visibility of the Campbell University Wrestling program as we share our vision for the program with the wrestling community nationally and let them know we intend to train and compete at the highest level here on this campus,” said Boardwine.

After getting his start in the sport at the storied Longwood YMCA program in Northeast Ohio, Boardwine was a two-time Ohio state champion and also earned prep All-America recognition at Streetsboro High School.

He and his wife, the former Melissa Staples, have two sons, Hunter and Mason.

Courtesy of