MINNEAPOLIS — Donny Wichmann, a 1989 alumnus of Augsburg University and a legend in men’s wrestling, both as a competitor and as a longtime assistant coach for the Auggies, died on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 after a battle with brain cancer. He was 53 years old.
A three-time Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion, a national tournament All-American and a longtime assistant coach who was a part of 10 NCAA Division III national championship teams with the Auggies, Wichmann was recognized for his excellence by being inducted into the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, and by the recent announcement of his induction into the 2019 class of the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Hall of Fame. He will be inducted posthumously during a ceremony on Aug. 3 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A memorial service and celebration of Wichmann’s life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Si Melby Hall on the Augsburg campus. More details on the service will be released later.
In 2015, Wichmann was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He received an incredible amount of support from the Augsburg community and the wrestling community, not only in Minnesota, but across the country as well. Numerous fundraising efforts were held at wrestling meets and related events, with the themes of “DW Strong,” “Augsburg Strong” and “Team DW.” In 2018, Wichmann was presented with the State Medal of Courage Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Minnesota Chapter during a ceremony in Austin, Minn.
Wichmann served as an Augsburg men’s wrestling assistant coach for 19 seasons — 1989-2007 under head coach Jeff Swenson ’79, and 2008-09 under head coach Mark Matzek ’05. Teams he coached won 10 NCAA Division III national titles, while finishing second seven times, third once and fourth once. The Auggies also won 13 MIAC tournament titles and 14 MIAC Team Duals titles during the span, and he was part of the coaching staff for 134 Division III All-Americans and 34 individual national champions. The Auggies were 248-30 in dual meets during his coaching tenure.
Considered one of the top middleweight wrestlers in Augsburg history, Wichmann won 137 matches in his Auggie career, claiming three MIAC individual titles — 1986 and 1987 at 142 pounds, and 1989 at 150 pounds — while earning MIAC Tournament Most Valuable Wrestler honors in both 1987 and 1989, and the most falls award in 1987. Wichmann earned All-American honors with a fourth-place finish at 150 pounds in the 1989 NCAA Division III National Championships.
Wichmann was named an Augsburg co-Honor Athlete in 1989. He earned his degree from Augsburg in 1989 with a marketing and management major.
A native of Marshall, Minn., Wichmann was a three-time Minnesota state high school tournament qualifier and a third-place finisher at 119 pounds in 1984.
Wichmann and his wife, Mindy (Mattox), were married in 2000, and lived in south Minneapolis. In addition to his work with Augsburg, Wichmann owned his own wrestling equipment and apparel company, DW Wrestling Products, and worked for Gopher Stage Lighting, a lighting equipment supplier in Minneapolis.