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Joel Sharratt departs as Air Force head coach to take helm at Navy

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Joel Sharratt is taking off from the head wrestling coaching position at one military academy to another.

Sharratt, who had been in charge of the Air Force Academy wrestling program the past eight years, will be taking the helm at the U.S. Naval Academy, Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced Friday.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for former University of Iowa wrestling champ Sharratt, who served as an assistant coach at Navy for six seasons under former head coach Bruce Burnett, who had announced his retirement effective October 2013 after 13 seasons.

“Joel’s leadership, respect by peers, extraordinary accomplishments, and passion for wrestling are reflected in every step of his career,” said Gladchuk. “He returns to the Naval Academy a seasoned professional who is a proven master of his profession. Thirteen years of developing winners and leaders to serve our nation have given him a unique perspective of how to succeed at a service academy. He is a perfect fit for Navy and we have every expectation his tenure in Annapolis will be one of great academic and athletic success for our midshipmen.”

“It’s an honor to be back at the Naval Academy building leaders of character who are ready to serve our country,” said Sharratt. “I want to acknowledge Mr. Gladchuk and the institution for their support of me and the Navy wrestling program. It’s a great honor to take over such a historic program and after meeting with the team and staff today, I feel very excited about the opportunities the program has in the future. I look forward to reconnecting with the Naval Academy alumni base, former wrestlers and fans.”

Sharratt became Air Force coach in the summer of 2006. Just two years later, Sharratt was named Western Wrestling Conference Coach of the Year. In 2012, Sharratt was named the College Coach of the Year by the Colorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

This past season, Sharratt led the Falcons to an 11-6-3 record and a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, sending four Falcons to the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

As a wrestler at Iowa for the legendary Dan Gable, Sharratt was a four-year letterman. The Bloomington, Minn. native was a three-time NCAA finalist, winning the 190-pound title at the 1994 NCAAs… and was crowned 190 champ at the 1995 Big Ten conference championships.

Take a look back: For all College Wrestling Examiner articles on the 2014 NCAAs, click here... and check out Mat Bracketology, College Wrestling Examiner's weight-by-weight analysis of seeded wrestlers, by clicking on the Mat Bracketology link.

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