On Monday July 23, the Michigan wrestling team added former Eastern Michigan head coach David Bolyard to its coaching staff. The move caps off a new era for the wrestling program after the departure of former head coach Joe McFarland after 19 years at the helm.
Current head coach Sean Bormet was recently elevated to his position after serving as an assistant to McFarland, and is eager to continue the success the Wolverines have found in both the Big Ten and NCAA. Bolyard’s hiring marks the first personnel decision in Bormet’s freshly-minted tenure and by all accounts, it’s a good one.
Bolyard led the Eagles for four years and closed out his tenure with his most successful campaign, claiming third at the Mid-American Conference Championships. Bolyard sent four wrestlers to their weight classes’ finals at the tournament and tied a program record with five NCAA qualifiers.
Prior to heading the program, Bolyard served as an assistant at EMU for seven seasons where he began to perfect the art of coaching. Before joining the staff in Ypsilanti, Mich. Bolyard wrestled, then coached at Central Michigan.
With the Chippewas, Bolyard scrapped together a noteworthy career and now sits 10th on CMU’s all-time win list. He was a four-time NCAA Qualifier and capped it all off with All-American honors in 2004.
“Our staff is incredibly excited about Dave,” Bormet told MGoBlue.com. “He immediately brings a wealth of experience and wide range of skill sets to our program. I value his passion for wrestling and commitment to develop student-athletes. We are fortunate to have him joining us at Michigan.”
Bolyard’s availability on the coaching market began after EMU’s wrestling program was cut just three days before the NCAA Championships. Facing overwhelming budget shortfalls of up to $5.5 million, the Eagles’ administration was forced to eliminate four sports programs — softball, men’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis and, of course, wrestling.
With a resume half as impressive as Bolyard’s, dozens of wrestling programs across the country would be clamoring to add him to their staffs. But a brand new coach and convenient geographic placement was a duo that Bolyard just couldn’t refuse. And a world-class wrestling program doesn’t hurt either.
“I am grateful to Sean Bormet for giving me the opportunity to continue my coaching career at such a prestigious university,” Bolyard said. “The University of Michigan attracts some of the best student-athletes in the country, and I am looking forward to working with Sean and his staff to help them achieve their goals.”
The 2018-19 season will serve as a perfect opportunity for Bormet and Bolyard to set the tone for their tenure with a slew of elite talent coming to Ann Arbor. Wolverine stars such as heavyweight Adam Coon and 184-pounder Domenic Abounader are out and highly-touted recruits such as Mason Parris and Joey Silva are in. Parris and Silva, both ranked No. 1 at their respective weight classes, will look to make an immediate impact on the mat for Michigan.
There’s no doubt that a fresh-face with loads of quality experience can help make that happen.