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Warner Pacific hires Frank Johnson to coach new men’s, women’s mat programs

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Frank Johnson has been hired to coach the new men’s and women’s wrestling programs at Portland’s Warner Pacific College, the Oregonian reported Friday.

Warner Pacific announced back in October that it would be adding both men’s and women’s wrestling, effective with the 2014-15 season, one of at least eight new programs announced in 2013, and one of four to offer both men’s and women’s programs.

Johnson is a familiar face in wrestling in Oregon, having coached at the collegiate and prep levels. From 1997 to 2002, he served as head coach at Pacific University in Portland, helping to launch their women’s program which has sent competitors to the Olympics and world championhips. What’s more, while at Pacific, Johnson coached eight NCAA Division III All-Americans.

Since 2002, Johnson has been at the helm of the Forest Grove High School mat program, which can claim six Oregon state champs. He plans to complete the season at FGHS before taking on his new assignment at Warner Pacific.

"Yea, it's fast," Johnson told Scott Bernard Nelson of the Oregonian. "But I can't even begin to tell you how exciting this is."

Johnson said he hopes to have at least 25 men and 15 women on the roster by next fall.

Warner Pacific Athletic Director Jamie Joss said it was important for the private religious school to find a coach who would be the right fit.

"It was obvious during the interview process that Frank is committed to building champions in the classroom, in the community, in competition and in Christ," according to Joss. "We are confident his connections in the Pacific Northwest and experience in building a women's wrestling program will allow him to build the championship-caliber programs we aspire to."

Both the men’s and women’s programs will compete in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). In fact, Warner Pacific will become the 15th women's program in the NAIA, allowing women's wrestling to become a NAIA Recognized sport. Warner Pacific women's wrestling will be the third program in Oregon, joining non-NAIA programs at Pacific University and Southwest Oregon Community College.

Wrestling is not completely new to Warner Pacific. The school had a men’s wrestling program from 1968 to 1975 which compiled a 58-30-3 overall record, and had 35 wrestlers qualify for the NAIA championships.

Warner Pacific College is an urban, Christian, liberal arts college located in Portland, Ore. Founded in 1937, the college has an enrollment of approximately 1300 students, and is affiliated with the Church of God.

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