Manheim, PA – The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) is proud to announce the 2019 winners of the Scholastic Coach of the Year awards for the State, Region, and National levels.
This year’s National Coach of the Year is Jason Christenson from Southeast Polk High School (IA) and the National Assistant Coach of the Year is Keith Laeha from Kamehameha Big Island (HI). Both Christenson and Laeha were selected from the eight section winners. The section winners were voted on by each of the NWCA State Reps after they had nominated a Coach of the Year from their respective states.
Christenson (National, Section 4, and Iowa Coach of the Year) just completed his 28th season of coaching and his 18th at Southeast Polk High School. Christenson’s 2018-19 squad finished as Dual Team State Champions and State Runners Up at the Individual State Tournament with 11 qualifiers, 6 placers, and an outstanding 3 individual state champions. This now gives Coach Christenson 8 State Titles (4 Dual and 4 Individual) and 5 Runner-up finishes. He has received numerous Coach of the Year honors from such organizations as: USA Wrestling, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Iowa Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association, and the Iowa Wrestling Federation.
Laeha (National, Section 7, and Hawaii Asst. Coach of the Year) just completed his 40th season of coaching and his 16h at Kamehameha Big Island. During his career, he has served as both an assistant and as a head coach while also finding time to volunteer club teams on the big island. He has long been an avid fan and advocate for the sport of wrestling.
“Our National Coach of the Year winners, Coach Jason Christenson, and Coach Keith Laeha, each demonstrate the ability to inspire their athletes to persevere and thrive in the sport of wrestling. These recipients’ outstanding contributions to our sport are too numerous to list, but I know that the most important impact that they will make is through the relationships forged in the wrestling room with each of their athletes who will carry that legacy forward. We are proud to honor coaches from across the nation each year through the Boy’s Coach of the Year Awards Program which recognizes Head and Assistant Coaches at the State, Section, and National Level. It is through quality coaching that we will be able to continue to save and grow our sport.” Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director.