SEWARD, Neb. – The architect behind the Concordia University wrestling program’s rise to prominence, third-year head coach Dana Vote has been named GPAC and NAIA North Group coach of the year. Under Vote’s guidance, the 2014-15 Bulldogs have captured GPAC and regional titles and are set to send 10 individuals to next week’s NAIA national championships.
In just a few seasons, Vote has helped Concordia transform into one of the top programs in the NAIA. Only three teams in the entire nation have qualified more wrestlers for the 2015 national championships.
Vote inherited a rebuilding job upon arriving at Concordia in 2013 after having spent five seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division III Buena Vista University. Following an 11th-place regional finish and no national qualifiers in 2013, Vote pumped energy into the program and led a runner-up North claim and the national qualification of five wrestlers last season. One year later the Bulldogs sit atop both the conference and region and own a No. 10 national ranking.
All 10 of Concordia’s nationally-ranked individuals and each of its nine all-conference performers were recruits brought to Seward by Vote and his staff. That list includes GPAC wrestlers of the year Enrique Barajas (2015) and Emilio Rivera (2014), 2014 All-American Austin Mogg as well as 2014-15 first team all-conference grapplers in sophomores Ceron Francisco (285) and Andrew Schulte and a group of four second teamers.
Together they helped the Bulldogs win the NAIA North Group Qualifying Tournament as well as the GPAC title with a league dual record of 7-0. Bulldog individuals went a combined 43-14 at the regional and 53-17 in the seven GPAC duals.
Vote and the Bulldogs are poised to improve upon their 22nd-place finish at the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Championships. This year’s national tournament will take place March 6-7 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan.