Alma Mater: Indiana University Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind.
Most recently assistant wrestling coach at NCAA Division II California Baptist University, Andrew Nicola was named head wrestling coach at Concordia University on Oct. 7, 2016. Nicola became the third head coach since the program’s rebirth in 2009.
Nicola's first season in Seward brought the program more hardware as the Bulldogs captured GPAC dual and NAIA North Qualifier/GPAC tournament championships. As a result, Nicola earned GPAC and regional coach of the year awards. As part of the 2016-17 campaign, Concordia went a perfect 7-0 in GPAC duals and then placed 15th at the national championships. GPAC wrestler of the year Ceron Francisco (second) and Ken Burkhardt Jr. (sixth) earned All-America status.
Nicola, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., previously coached as an assistant in the collegiate ranks since 2009. As a two-year member of head coach Lennie Zalesky’s staff at California Baptist, Nicola helped the Lancers reach heights that had been unprecedented for the program. The 2015-16 Cal Baptist squad won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship and then placed second in its region and sixth at the NCAA Division II National Championships, where four Lancers earned All-America awards. Heavyweight Joe Fagiano took home the program’s first ever NCAA title. In addition, CBU finished in the top 10 nationally in terms of grade point average during both of Nicola’s seasons spent in Riverside, Calif.
Prior to landing at CBU, Nicola made coaching stops at NAIA Cumberland University (Tenn.) and NCAA Division II University of Central Missouri. Additionally, he served two different Indiana high schools, Bloomington South and Culver Academies.
Cumberland also made big waves during Nicola’s two seasons as an assistant. The 2013-14 Bulldogs recorded the program’s highest-ever finishes at the NAIA National Championships (sixth), National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals (third) and NWCA Academic All-American Team standings (fourth). Six Cumberland wrestlers found their way to the All-America stand at the 2014 national championships. One won a national title and another finished runner up.
Nicola has also coached on the international scene. He holds a USA Wrestling Silver Certification. He’s served on the Indiana National Team coaching staff for more than a decade. In 2013, Nicola traveled to Budapest, Hungary, for the World Championships while working as a Team USA Senior World Team Coaching Ambassador. He garnered 2012 Indiana Cadet/Junior Coach of the Year honors.
The Hoosier State native graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to complete a master’s degree in athletic and sport business administration in 2012 from Central Missouri. He also earned a master’s degree in education from Cumberland.
Bulldogs Under Coach Nicola
2016-17: 11-4 Overall, 7-0 GPAC (1st)
Total: 11-4 Overall, 7-0 GPAC (1 year)
Assistant Wrestling Coach/ Football Equipment Manager
Assistant Wrestling Coach/ Football Equipment Manager
Hometown: Moore, Okla. Alma Mater: Baker University
Levi Calhoun completed his second season as full-time assistant wrestling coach for Concordia University in 2016-17. He also serves equipment and stadium event operations roles within the Bulldog athletics department.
In two seasons with the Bulldogs, Calhoun has helped the program to GPAC and NAIA North Qualifier/GPAC tournament championships in consecutive years. Concordia has turned in national finishes of eighth (2016) and 15th (2017) in those two seasons. The Bulldogs have also totaled five All-America awards during that time, with Andrew Schulte winning a 2016 national title and Ceron Francisco placing runner up in 2017.
Calhoun spent the previous four seasons as assistant wrestling coach at his alma mater, Baker University, an institution located in Baldwin City, Kan., and a member of the NAIA’s Heart of America Athletic Conference. The native of Moore, Okla., helped Baker make a dent on the national level. During his time as a Wildcat assistant, he coached 11 All-Americans, three national finalists and a national champion.
As a student-athlete at Baker from 2006 to 2009, Calhoun twice qualified for the NAIA wrestling national championships and became the school’s first-ever wrestling All-American when he took fourth place in the heavyweight bracket. Calhoun also started all four years on the defensive line for the Wildcat football team. He garnered first team all-conference football recognition twice.
Calhoun earned his bachelor of science in physical education from Baker University. He is married to Hollie Calhoun.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska Hometown: Blythe, Calif.
The 2016-17 season marked Junior Lule's first as a member of the Concordia University wrestling staff. Lule serves as graduate assistant coach. As a wrestler and as a coach, Lule has been part of three-straight GPAC and NAIA North Qualifier championships at Concordia.
Lule shifted to coaching following a successful two-year run as a Bulldog. After transferring from Palomar College in California, Lule compiled a combined record of 50-17, qualified for the national championships twice and won the NAIA North 157-pound title as a senior in 2016. He garnered second team all-GPAC honors as a junior before moving up to the first team as a senior. Also as a junior, Lule placed third at the NAIA North Group Tournament in the 149-pound bracket.
Lule helped Concordia to two team GPAC dual titles and two regional postseason tournament championships. At the national championships, the Bulldogs placed 12th as a team in 2015 and eighth in 2016.
The native of Blythe, Calif., earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska Hometown: Milford, Neb.
Ken Burkhardt Jr. is in his first season as a student assistant coach following a successful four-year run as a Bulldog. Burkhardt Jr. A four-time NAIA national qualifier, Burkhardt Jr. collected three career All-America awards at 197 pounds. He finished his career as the winningest wrestler in program history, recording 122 victories, including a career best 36 wins as a senior. He was named first team All-GPAC once, second team All-GPAC twice and honorable mention All-GPAC once. He helped the program capture GPAC titles in three-straight seasons.
The native of Milford, Neb., collected NWCA All-Academic accolades. He earned his degree in secondary education.
Hometown: Palmdale, Calif. Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Kodie Cole is in his first season as a student assistant coach for the Concordia University wrestling program. A native of Palmdale, Calif., Cole qualified for the national championships all four years of his career while helping the Bulldogs win GPAC titles in three-straight seasons. He totaled two career All-America awards and 73 victories during his four seasons at Concordia. Cole earned his degree in environment science in May 2017.
Hometown: Beaumont, Calif. Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Dmitri Smith is in his first season as a volunteer assistant coach for the Concordia University wrestling coach. He completed his own college wrestling career in 2017 with a third-straight trip to the national championships. Smith recorded 67 career victories and was named second team All-GPAC once and honorable mention All-GPAC three times. He contributed to teams that won GPAC titles in three-straight seasons. Smith earned his degree in biology.