Kyle Blevins, former Appalachian State NCAA All-American wrestler who has served as a graduate assistant coach at Gardner-Webb University the past two seasons, has been promoted to the position of assistant coach, the Boiling Springs, N.C. school announced Monday.
Since coming on board in 2012, Blevins has worked with all weight classes at Gardner-Webb, focusing primarily on the upper weight classes. Among his success stories: 174-pound freshman Hunter Gamble, who became the first-ever Southern Conference champion for the Runnin’ Bulldogs in 2013.
That success isn’t limited to the big guys. Blevins has helped 11 different Gardner-Webb wrestlers -- ranging in weight from 125 to 174 pounds -- post double-digit wins during the 2012-13 season. Seven of those grapplers tallied 15 or more wins for the year.
That pattern continued this past season, when 165-pound redshirt freshman Austin Trott earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I National Championships. He advanced to the second round of the consolation bracket with a 12-4 major decision against Utah Valley’s Curtis Cook.
Prior to coming to Gardner-Webb, Blevins made a name for himself on the mat in high school and in college. He was a three-time Oklahoma state champ for Sapulpa High School, the school’s first triple-title winner. Blevins then headed east to Appalachian State, where he tallied 124 wins, the second-best career record in program history.
A two-time NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships qualifier in 2011 and 2012, Blevins earned NCAA All-American honors by placing fourth in the 165-pound bracket at the 2012 NCAAs, the highest of any unseeded wrestler in any weight class that year at the nationals. In addition, Blevins was named Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year after winning the 165-pound crown at the 2012 Southern Conference championships.
“I am excited to bring Kyle [Blevins] on staff as our head assistant,” said Gardner-Webb head wrestling coach Daniel Elliott. “Over the past two years, Kyle has shown the passion and ability that we are looking to continue to move this program forward. He has invested his last two years here and is committed to the growth of this program, our athletes, and himself every day.”
“After two years of serving the Gardner-Webb University wrestling team as a graduate assistant, I am honored to take on the full time position as Assistant Wrestling Coach,” said Blevins. “I hope that the attitude and effort that I bring to every task will help myself, my athletes, and my head coach be successful in all that they do.”
Located 50 miles west of Charlotte in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, Baptist-related four-year university. Current enrollment is over 4,300 students, according to the school's official website. All Runnin’ Bulldog sports programs, including wrestling, compete in NCAA Division I.