Josh Churella, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler at the University of Michigan who has served as the Wolverines’ volunteer coach the past two seasons, has been promoted to an assistant coaching position, the school announced Friday.
The past two seasons, Churella has assisted with the Michigan wrestling program's day-to-day operations, such as planning practices, helping wrestlers prepare for matches, and working with individuals on technique, as well as event and clinic promotion. Churella has also been active in the Wolverine practice room as an everyday workout partner, working primarily with the middleweights, including 2014 All-Americans Steve Dutton and Eric Grajales.
In explaining his decision to elevate Churella to an assistant, Joe McFarland, Michigan head coach, said, "Josh is a perfect choice for this staff. He did a tremendous job over the last two years as volunteer coach. He has a huge passion for the University of Michigan and our wrestling program. He is a high-character individual, has a great personality and a wonderful presence in our practice room. He has excelled at the highest level of wrestling -- both in college and internationally. He's just a great role model for our guys. He'll do an outstanding job, and we're excited about him taking on a bigger role."
Eager to demonstrate his abilities in an expanded role on the coaching staff of his college alma mater, Churella said, "I'm extremely excited about this opportunity. After spending two years here as the volunteer assistant coach, I have learned a lot from Joe (McFarland), Sean (Bormet) and Donny (Pritzlaff), and I am grateful for that experience. I'm happy with my decision two years ago to stay here at Michigan; my heart has always been here. I have developed a lot as a coach -- both with our current Michigan wrestlers and with our club guys -- and I'm excited to grow more in this new role.
"Michigan wrestling is in a great spot right now,” Churella continued. “We've had a few good recruiting classes, and I'd like to think I was a part of that even in my limited, volunteer role. I'm eager to hit the ground running in my new position, get into homes and out to tournaments, identify and evaluate prospects and continue to bring the right kids into our program and develop them. I expect big things for Michigan in the next few years."
Churella knows the Wolverine program, as a coach, and as a wrestler. Competing for the Wolverines from 2005-08, Churella compiled a 124-21 record at the Ann Arbor school. Among his career highlights as a Maize and Blue mat star: winning a Big Ten title in 2005 at 141 pounds, being an NCAA All-American three times, and making it to the 149-pound finals at the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
As his official Michigan bio points out, Josh Churella is also a member of one of the great wrestling families associated with Wolverine wrestling. His father Mark Sr. was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American in the late 1970s. His eldest brother Mark Jr. earned a varsity letter at Michigan in 2001, while brother Ryan (2003-06) was a three-time NCAA All-American and 2006 NCAA finalist.