Hilltoppers' Irwin is MEC Coach of the Year
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – West Liberty University head wrestling coach Danny Irwin has been selected as the 2021 Mountain East Conference Men's Sports Coach of the Year.
The MEC Coach of the Year is selected by a vote of institutional administrators and the league office. Irwin becomes the first West Liberty coach and the first wrestling coach to receive the prestigious conference honor.
This represents the latest achievement in a season of "firsts" for the Hilltopper head man and the tradition-laden West Liberty mat program.
Irwin's wrestlers were unbeaten in dual meets during the 2021 season and dominated the MEC Tournament, running away to the school's first conference championship with 9 of the 10 Hilltopper starters earning All-MEC honors.
West Liberty followed up that conference title by winning the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 Tournament at Tiffin (Ohio) University. Irwin was voted Super Region 3 Coach of the Year after leading WLU to its first NCAA Regional championship and qualifying six wrestlers for the NCAA Nationals.
Irwin and his Hilltoppers came up big on wrestling's biggest stage in St. Louis. The Black and Gold returned to the hilltop with a fourth-place trophy, four NCAA Division II All-Americans and a pair of national champions in Cole Laya (125 pounds) and Tyler Warner (133 pounds).
It was West Liberty's highest national tournament finish in the NCAA Division II era and the first time in more than a half-century of Hilltopper wrestling that WLU had produced multiple national champions in the same season.
Irwin's wrestlers were just as successful in the classroom, setting a school record with nine student-athletes being selected as Scholar All-Americans when the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) released the 2021 NCAA Division II All-Academic Team.
MEC COACH OF THE YEAR
2014-15 - Chris Grassie (Soccer, Charleston)
2015-16 - Monte Cater (Football, Shepherd)
2016-17- Jerrod Calhoun (Basketball, Fairmont State)
2017-18 - Dan Stratford (Soccer, Charleston)
2018-19 - Mike Jacobs (Football, Notre Dame)
2019-20 - Dan Stratford (Soccer, Charleston)
2020-21 - DANNY IRWIN (WRESTLING, WEST LIBERTY)