Joel Sharratt returns to Navy, named head coach
By Stacie Michaud
Navy Sports Information
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced on Friday that Joel Sharratt has been named Navy’s new head wrestling coach. A former assistant coach at the Naval Academy under Bruce Burnett, Sharratt has spent the last eight years as the head wrestling coach at the Air Force Academy.
“Joel’s leadership, respect by peers, extraordinary accomplishments, and passion for wrestling are reflected in every step of his career,” said Gladchuk. “He returns to the Naval Academy a seasoned professional who is a proven master of his profession. Thirteen years of developing winners and leaders to serve our nation have given him a unique perspective of how to succeed at a service academy. He is a perfect fit for Navy and we have every expectation his tenure in Annapolis will be one of great academic and athletic success for our midshipmen.”
“It’s an honor to be back at the Naval Academy building leaders of character who are ready to serve our country,” said Sharratt. “I want to acknowledge Mr. Gladchuk and the institution for their support of me and the Navy wrestling program. It’s a great honor to take over such a historic program and after meeting with the team and staff today, I feel very excited about the opportunities the program has in the future. I look forward to reconnecting with the Naval Academy alumni base, former wrestlers and fans.”
Sharratt began engineering the turnaround in the Air Force wrestling program when he was introduced as the Falcons’ head coach in the summer of 2006. Although faced with a rebuilding task in his first season as head coach, Sharratt helped lead Air Force to a 3-1 mark in its inaugural season in the Western Wrestling Conference. With the Falcons earning a sixth-place team finish at the NCAA West Regional, Crozier and Devlin led Air Force as third-team all-conference selections.
In 2008, Sharratt was named the Western Wrestling Conference Coach of the Year after leading Air Force to a second-place finish at the 2008 NCAA West Regional, matching the program’s best showing at the tournament (also finishing second in 2003). Jake Kriegbaum, named the Outstanding Wrestler at the West Regional, and Tyler French both won their respective weight classes at the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships, while three others placed second.
To cap off the season, the Falcons also sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Championship for the third time in the past four seasons. All four won at least one match at the national meet.
In 2010, Sharratt helped guide a young team to six wins and a fifth-place showing at the NCAA West Regional. In addition, he began to develop Cole VonOhlen into a national contender, as the newcomer became the first Air Force freshman since 2005 to earn a spot at the NCAA Championship. VonOhlen, nationally ranked at 141 pounds for most of the 2010 season, was named the Western Wrestling Conference Freshman of the Year and earned a second-place showing at the West Regional.
In 2011, Sharratt led Air Force to a 12-5 dual record. Seven Falcons notched at least 20 wins on the season, including a nation’s-best 44 victories from VonOhlen, while the Falcons captured third place at the NCAA West Regional. VonOhlen, ranked in the top 10 nationally, was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the West Regional and went on to his second NCAA bid in as many years.
In 2012, both VonOhlen and Josh Kreimier advanced to the round of 12 at the NCAA Championship. In addition, Sharratt was named the College Coach of the Year by the Colorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Sharratt guided Air Force to an 11-4 dual record during the 2013 campagin. Four Falcons qualified for the NCAA Championship, including VonOhlen who became just the third four-time NCAA qualifier in program history. VonOhlen, who finished in the top 12 despite battling a significant shoulder injury, was joined at the national tournament by West Regional champions Josh Kreimier and Dylan Hyder and WWC Freshman of the Year Josh Martinez.
This past season, Sharratt led the Falcons to an 11-6-3 record and a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional. Senior 133-pound Greg Rinker captured the individual title at 133 points, while Josh Martinez (125) and freshman Natrelle Demison (149) finished as the runner-up at their respective weight class. Once again, four Falcons earned NCAA Tournament bids, including Martinez who became just the 12th wrestler in school history to earn an NCAA Tournament bid at least three times.
Sharratt’s influence has been notable off the mat as well. Josh Larson served as the Cadet Wing Commander in the spring of 2011, supporting the team’s leadership role in military development. Academically, the Falcons have been consistently in the top 10 percent of the NCAA APR (Academic Progress Rate) rankings among all Division I wrestling institutions, while earning NWCA All-Academic honors as a team in 2009. In addition, Stephen Crozier was named to the NWCA All-Academic team in 2008 and 2009, and was also a three-time member of the WWC All-Academic team. In 2013, the Falcons had two more wrestlers earn NWCA All-Academic honors.
One of the nation’s most passionate coaches, Sharratt believes in leadership from the front and when given the opportunity to deploy to Balad AB, Iraq, in the spring of 2011, he humbly accepted the chance to go overseas, serving as a part of General Neubauer’s Combatives Mobile Training Team. As combatives instructor at the Air Force Academy, Sharratt worked with the Air Force Center of Excellence, housed here at USAFA to help offer the greater Air Force the best combatives training possible.
Sharratt spent six seasons as an assistant coach at the Naval Academy under the tutelage of former U.S. National Coach Bruce Burnett. In 2005-06, Sharratt helped lead the Midshipmen to a 13-2 dual record, marking the most wins by the program since the 1990-91 season, while also sending five wrestlers to the NCAA Championship. A tenured assistant professor at the Naval Academy, he also served as the faculty chair of the USNA combative courses.
A 1995 graduate of the University of Iowa, Sharratt was a three-time All-American, earning three trips to the NCAA Finals, winning the championship in 1994. Training under the tutelage of legendary coach Dan Gable during his college career, Sharratt was a four-year letterwinner for the Hawkeyes, and was twice selected as the team captain. Sharratt led his team to the 1995 Big Ten Championship and NCAA Championship, winning the Big Ten individual championship that season. Sharratt also competed as a member of the 1993 and 1994 Big Ten Championship teams, as well as the 1992 and 1994 NCAA Championship teams.
Following his college career, Sharratt was a two-time member of the U.S. National Team, earning the bronze medal at both the 1996 Olympic Trials and 1997 Pan American Championships. While competing on the international level, Sharratt represented the United States around the world including trips to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Italy, France and Canada. His accomplishments as a coach in the freestyle arena included cadet national champions and junior national champions, as well as multiple national team members and world medalists.
Sharratt also served as a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his master’s degree in sports administration in 2000, serving a two year position as the Developmental Freestyle Coach for the state of Minnesota. Sharratt also worked as an assistant coach at Lehigh from 1996-98 and as a graduate assistant at his alma mater during the 1995-96 season.
A native of Bloomington, Minn., Sharratt was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011. Honored as an athlete, Sharratt was recognized for his accomplishments both as a state champion at Bloomington-Kennedy High School and as an All-American and NCAA champion at Iowa.
Sharratt and his wife, Jamie, are the parents of four daughters, Tori (10), Taylor (8), Carly (5) and Trista (4).