Speaking May 9th was Kevin Dresser Head Wrestling Coach at Virginia Tech.
Hired as Virginia Tech’s coach in April of 2006, Kevin Dresser has gradually built the Hokies’ wrestling program into one of the nation’s elite. The Hokies won ACC tournament championships in both 2013 and 2014, along with a dual meet title in 2015 and finished in the top 10 nationally in all three of those years.
In eight of his first nine seasons, Dresser had a wrestler win an ACC title, and on five occasions, he had a wrestler named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the ACC Championships, including three of the past four seasons. In 2007, it was Jon Bonilla-Bowman who won the ACC title at 157 pounds and, in 2009, Matt Epperly came out of nowhere to win the 165-pound class and advance to the NCAA Championships. In 2012, Pete Yates won the 165-pound title, pulling a major upset in the final to earn the honor. Jarrod Garnett earned the honor at 125 pounds after rolling through his bracket in 2013. In 2014, Devin Carter returned from a devastating injury midway through the season to help lead the Hokies to a title. He won the gold medal at 141 pounds and took home the hardware for Most Outstanding Wrestler.
In the past four seasons, Tech’s stock has risen on the national scene. In 2011-12, six Tech wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships, and the Hokies finished tied for 11th place. Carter finished fifth at 133 pounds and Yates took fifth at 165 pounds, as both earned All-America honors. Carter was also named the ACC’s Wrestler of the Year after the season. The 2012-13 season was even better, as the Hokies won their first ACC team title and all 10 wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. Tech finished 10th at the NCAAs, and a program-best four wrestlers were crowned All-Americans. The 2014-15 campaign saw the Hokies take a big step, as they finished eighth at the NCAA Championships, with three All-Americans, including Carter, who became the first national finalist in program history.
Last year, the Hokies won the ACC’s dual meet title and placed 10th at the NCAAs with four All-Americans as the team scored its most points ever at the event. Additionally, the Hokies beat eventual national champion Ohio State in exciting fashion at Cassell Coliseum at a dual meet and the team finished third at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Dresser enters the 2015-16 season with a career dual meet record of 126-48. He’s coached 10 wrestlers to 14 All-America medals and has led Tech to two ACC tournament titles (2013 and 2014), as well as an official dual meet title in 2015. He has been named ACC Coach of the Year the past three seasons (2013, 2014 and 2015) and has been named the state’s coach of the year five times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID). He is only the second coach in league history to win the honor three consecutive times.
In 2008-09, his team broke all sorts of school records, including dual meet wins and NCAA qualifiers. Tech also had upset road wins against No. 17 Michigan and No. 6 Central Michigan. In 2009-10, he coached four ACC champions and helped lead Chris Diaz to an All-American finish at Nationals.
The 2010-11 year may have been the program’s finest dual meet team, as Dresser led the team to a runner-up finish at the prestigious NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals after upsets of Oklahoma State and Wisconsin. That propelled the Hokies onto the national scene, as they went on to finish sixth in the country in the dual meet poll. Three wrestlers won ACC titles and seven qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Dresser’s recruiting has taken off as the Hokies have had a top-25 recruiting class in each year Dresser has been at the helm, including six classes rated in the top 11 nationally, and the 2013 recruiting class was ranked No. 2 class by InterMat.
Dresser is a familiar name in the New River Valley, as he was the head coach at Christiansburg High School for 10 seasons, winning the Group AA state title five times and claiming second place three times. Prior to his stint in Christiansburg, he led Grundy High School to eight titles in as many years.
A native of Humboldt, Iowa, Dresser was a two-time high school state champion at Humboldt High School. In 2009, Dresser was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2013, Dresser was honored with the Lifetime Service Award given in recognition of years of dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in the youth through wrestling by the Virginia chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In April of 2014, he was one of three inductees into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Roanoke Valley Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2015.
Dresser graduated from the University of Iowa, where he won a national title in 1986 at 142 pounds. He was a two-time All-American (placing fourth in 1985 at 142 pounds), as well as a two-time Big Ten champion. For his performance in 1986, he received the Mike Howard Award, given to the most valuable wrestler for the Hawkeyes.
Dresser earned his B.S. in general studies from Iowa in 1986. He and his wife, Penny, have three children and is a native of Blacksburg, and the family resides in Riner.