NWCA announces State, Regional and National scholastic award winners

By Tammy Tedesco NWCA

Manheim, Pa. – The National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholastic Board of Directors is proud to announce the annual National Scholastic Award Winners. The NWCA presents awards in three categories: National Coach of the Year, National Assistant Coach of the Year and National Senior Wrestler of the Year.

In each category, an individual is selected from their state association, as is a winner from the National Preps.

The 2011 NWCA National Head Coach of the Year is Paul Morina of New Jersey. Morina is the longtime head coach at Paulsboro High School. This season, Morina and his Red Raider team accomplished a rare feat – becoming just the third high school in the country to win 1,000 matches.

For the last 26 years at the helm at Paulsboro, Morina’s teams have won 25 class state championships, 24 district championships and 25 conference titles. He’s coached 168 district champions, 72 regional champions and 13 state champions. In 26 years, Morina has coached over half of Paulsboro’s 1,000 victories. He’s 529-30-4 at Paulsboro as well as the principal at the school.

“I am very honored and proud to be recognized for doing something I love,” said Morina. “Coaching is one of the most rewarding activities not because of winning, but because of the gratifying feeling you get watching kids achieve and some over achieve in the most demanding sport. Wrestling gives kids the opportunity to meet so many different people from all walks of life and make contacts they may never make otherwise.”

“I am very fortunate to be administrator and coach at a small high school, in a blue color town that has such a strong wrestling tradition and community support,” said Morina. “This award is a credit to our head coaches, assistant coaches and wrestlers who have ever worn a Paulsboro wrestling singlet in the last sixty eight years. Dan Gable once said ‘Once you’ve have wrestled everything else in life is easy,’ I truly believe that.”

Jeff Buxton of Blair Academy was named the National Prep Coach for the second time in his career. Buxton has led the Bucs to 26 straight National Prep Championships, coached 145 individual champions and has claimed titles at the prestigious Ironman and Beast of the East tournaments a combined 25 times. Buxton’s team has perennially been the nation’s top-ranked program the last two and a half decades.

“It was a very exciting season for Blair Wrestling. This was one of the most improved teams I have ever coached, our young athletes developed throughout the season meeting the demands of our schedule which also helped them to develop,” said Buxton. “We went to many exciting events having a different line up almost every match or tournament and it was rewarding to see the number of kids jump so many levels as we finished the season with a very good performance at the National Preps. This was one of those teams that energized me as they wanted more knowledge and technique as they improved. Each week was a testimony of buying into a winning culture.”

“Coach Morina and Coach Buxton have both accomplished many great things in their careers, not only preparing their athletes to be accomplished wrestlers, but also teaching them that education is just as important. Both of these coaches have been a great ambassador to our sport and to the NWCA.” said Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director.

The National Assistant Coach of the Year goes to Kirk Skiles from Lincoln East High School in Nebraska.

An assistant wrestling coach for 31 years, as well as serving as the cross country coach at both the high school and middle school levels, Skiles has helped Lincoln East win three consecutive state championships and has helped the program to 10 top-ten finishes at the state tournament.

Twenty of Skiles’ years matside have been with Marty McCurdy at East. McCurdy has helped shaped Skiles’ coaching philosophy.

“My philosophy, like many coaches is that the journey is more important than the destination. I would hope that all of the athletes on the team feel like they are part of something larger than themselves and that the teams and their friend’s struggles become more important than their own,” said Skiles. “There is nothing more rewarding in coaching than to watch teammates go through the blood, sweat, and tears of four years of training and then become friends for a lifetime because of the experiences they have shared.”

Assistant Coach Adam DeCosmo of Archbishop Spaulding in Maryland receives this year’s National Prep Assistant Coach of the Year Award. He has served in the role of assistant coach for the past four years. His team this year went 33-0 on the season, were Maryland Independent Schools State Champions, broke into the Fab 50 National Team Ranking and ended the season with a third place finish at the National Prep Championships.

DeCosmo credits a lesson taught to him by his former college coach that has helped him succeed. “Coach Pat Santoro taught me to always put yourself in your athletes shoes before making a decision on how to approach that person,” said DeCosmo.

Minnesota’s Destin McCauley is the NWCA’s Senior Wrestler of the Year. The Apple Valley High School senior won is fifth state championship, completing a 51-0 senior season. McCauley, who will spend next year at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs before enrolling at the University of Wisconsin, finished with a 286-7 career record, with 198 victories coming by fall.

Evan Silver of Blair Academy, is this year’s recipient of the National Prep Wrestler of the Year Award. He won his fourth consecutive National Prep this year, and is one of five wrestlers who have ever accomplished the feat. He holds a career record of 131-10 along with being a Beast of East, Ironman and Maccabiah Games Champion. He has committed to wrestle at Stanford University next year.

“Both Destin and Evan have finished outstanding high school careers both individually and as a part of successful teams (Apple Valley and Blair Academy). We look forward to seeing them excel at both the collegiate and Olympic levels,” said Moyer.

“Our goal as a coaches association is to continue to recognize coaches and wrestlers for their outstanding accomplishments, both on the mat in competition, academically and in life.”

We would also like to recognize the award recipients of the NWCA Regional Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Senior Wrestlers of the Year. In order to be considered for National Honors, the nominee must have been selected as a Regional Award Winner:

RegionRegional Award RecipientNomineeSchool (State)
1Assistant Coach of the YearBilly DaveysJohn Glenn HS (NY)
1Head Coach of the YearPaul MorinaPaulsboro HS (NJ)
1Senior Wrestler of the YearAndrew CampolattanoBound Brook HS (NJ)
2Assistant Coach of the YearJohn HeffernanLakewood St. Edward HS (OH)
2Head Coach of the YearJeff JordanSt. Paris Graham (OH)
2Senior Wrestler of the YearNico MegaludisFranklin Regional HS (PA)
3Assistant Coach of the YearSal BasileSpringstead HS (FL)
3Head Coach of the YearDavid PerryCroatan HS (NC)
3Senior Wrestler of the YearTJ DuncanMcCallie School (TN)
4Assistant Coach of the YearStan GrangerHolt Public Schools (MI)
4Head Coach of the YearMark HahnGlenbard North HS (IL)
4Senior Wrestler of the YearJesse ThielkeGermantown HS (WI)
5Assistant Coach of the YearKirk SkilesLincoln East HS (NE)
5Head Coach of the YearMike HagertyBlue Springs HS (MO)
5Senior Wrestler of the YearDestin McCauleyApple Valley HS (MN)
6Assistant Coach of the YearStephen BurakCoronado HS (CO)
6Head Coach of the YearSteve DavisFlower Mound HS (TX)
6Senior Wrestler of the YearConnor MedberyLoveland HS (CO)
7Assistant Coach of the YearRuss WinerDobson HS (AZ)
7Head Coach of the YearMike RippingerBox Elder HS (UT)
7Senior Wrestler of the YearMorgan McIntoshCalvary Chapel HS (CA)
8Assistant Coach of the YearLorne StillsCulver HS (OR)
8Head Coach of the YearBrent BarnesLake Stevens HS (WA)
8Senior Wrestler of the YearJade RauserBroadwater HS (MT)
RegionNational Award RecipientNameSchool
1National Head Coach of the YearPaul MorinaPaulsboro HS (NJ)
5National Assistant Coach of the YearKirk SkilesLincoln East HS (NE)
5National Senior Wrestler of the YearDestin McCauleyApple Valley HS (MN)
NPHead National Prep Coach of the YearJeff BuxtonBlair Academy (NJ)
NPAssistant National Prep Coach of the YearAdam DeCosmoArchbishop Spaulding (MD)
NPSenior National Prep Wrestler of the YearEvan SilverBlair Academy (NJ)


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