Hired as Virginia Tech’s coach in April of 2006, Kevin Dresser has gradually built the Hokies’ wrestling program into one of the nation’s elite.
Born: Nov. 9, 1962
Hometown: Humboldt, Iowa
Wife: former Penny McMurray
Children: daughters Emma and Anna, son Jack
High School: Humboldt [Iowa] High School
College: University of Iowa (B.S. in general studies, 1986)
University of Iowa (two-time All-American, 1986 national champion)
|1988-96||Head coach, Grundy High School|
|1996-2006||Head coach, Christiansburg High School|
|2006-current||Head coach, Virginia Tech|
|2006-07: 6-12 overall, 1-4 ACC|
|2007-08: 7-9 overall, 2-4 ACC|
|2008-09: 20-2 overall, 5-0 ACC|
|2009-10: 17-5 overall, 4-0 ACC|
|2010-11: 20-4 overall, 5-0 ACC|
|2011-12: 8-6 overall, 4-1 ACC|
|2012-13: 16-3 overall, 5-0 ACC (league champs)|
|2013-14: 18-5 overall, 4-2 ACC (league champs)|
|2014-15: 14-2 overall, 5-0 ACC (dual meet champs)|
|2015-16: 16-2 overall, 5-0 ACC (dual meet champs)|
The 2015-16 campaign marked the best season in school history both in terms of performances on the mat and individual accolades. The Hokies won the ACC dual meet championship and then stunned the nation by finishing fourth at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, beating perennial powers such as Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Cornell. The fourth-place finish marked the best finish ever by an ACC team.
Following the event, Dresser received national acclaim. For the first time in his career, he was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association's national Coach of the Year.
"We've been in the top 10 for basically five straight years," Dresser said. "If you're going to have a great program, consistency has to be a part of that. You don't want to be a one-hit wonder. So I'm proud of what my staff and our wrestlers here have been able to accomplish. They have been consistently good for a while now, and that's very hard to do."
The fourth-place finish marked the Hokies' fourth consecutive top-10 finish and their fifth consecutive top-11 finish. Tech accumulated 82 points at the NCAA Championships, coming five points short of actually finishing in third place.
Six Tech wrestlers earned All-America honors - the most in school history. Nick Brascetta and Zach Epperly both came in third at 157 and 174 pounds, respectively, and Brascetta departed as the school's second three-time All-American (Devin Carter). He amassed a 67-18 record during his career.
The Hokies' ACC dual meet championship marked their fourth title since joining the league for the 2004-05 academic year. Tech also won ACC tournament championships in both 2013 and 2014, along with a dual meet title in 2015. The wrestling program has won more ACC titles than any Tech program outside of track and field.
In nine of his first 10 seasons, Dresser had a wrestler win an ACC title, and that was no different in 2015-16, as 125-pounder Joey Dance and 184-pounder Zack Zavatsky each won individual crowns.
On five occasions, Dresser had a wrestler named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the ACC Championships, including three of the past five seasons. In 2007, it was Jon Bonilla-Bowman who won the ACC title at 157 pounds and, in 2009, Matt Epperly came out of nowhere to win the 165-pound class and advance to the NCAA Championships. In 2012, Pete Yates won the 165-pound title, pulling a major upset in the final to earn the honor. Jarrod Garnett earned the honor at 125 pounds after rolling through his bracket in 2013. In 2014, Devin Carter returned from a devastating injury midway through the season to help lead the Hokies to a title. He won the gold medal at 141 pounds and took home the hardware for Most Outstanding Wrestler.
In the past five seasons, Tech's stock has risen on the national scene. This past spring, eight wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships, and eight also qualified during the 2014-15 season. During the 2013-14 season, nine qualified, and Carter made it all the way to the national championship match at 141 pounds before falling to Ohio State's Logan Stieber - a four-time national champion. Carter's runner-up finish ranks as the best individual finish in program history. In 2012-13, the Hokies won their first ACC team title and all 10 wrestlers qualified for the NCAAs.
Dresser enters the 2015-16 season with a career dual meet record of 142-50. He's coached 13 wrestlers to 20 All-America medals and has led Tech to two ACC tournament titles (2013 and 2014), as well as two official dual meet titles (2015 and 2016). He has been named ACC Coach of the Year three times (2013, 2014 and 2015) and has been named the state's coach of the year five times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID). He is only the second coach in league history to win the honor three consecutive times.
Dresser's recruiting has taken off as the Hokies have had a top-25 recruiting class in each year Dresser has been at the helm, including six classes rated in the top 11 nationally, and the 2013 recruiting class was ranked No. 2 class by InterMat. Dresser is a familiar name in the New River Valley, as he was the head coach at Christiansburg High School for 10 seasons, winning the Group AA state title five times and claiming second place three times. Prior to his stint in Christiansburg, he led Grundy High School to eight titles in as many years.
A native of Humboldt, Iowa, Dresser was a two-time high school state champion at Humboldt High School. In 2009, Dresser was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2013, Dresser was honored with the Lifetime Service Award given in recognition of years of dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in the youth through wrestling by the Virginia chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In April of 2014, he was one of three inductees into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Roanoke Valley Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2015.
Dresser graduated from the University of Iowa, where he won a national title in 1986 at 142 pounds. He was a two-time All-American (placing fourth in 1985 at 142 pounds), as well as a two-time Big Ten champion. For his performance in 1986, he received the Mike Howard Award, given to the most valuable wrestler for the Hawkeyes.
Dresser earned his B.S. in general studies from Iowa in 1986. He and his wife, Penny, have three children: Emma (18), Anna (16) and Jack (14). Penny Dresser is a native of Blacksburg, and the family resides in Riner, Virginia.