Wrestling

  • Seven national top-10 team finishes
  • Four NCAA Div. III individual championships
  • 42 All-America honors

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Coaching staff

Eric Van Kley
Head coach

Iowa Conference co-Coach of the Year--2009-10

In his eighth season as Central College's head wrestling coach in 2014-15, Eric Van Kley has returned Central to national prominence.

Van Kley, who also serves as Central's athletics director, guided the Dutch to four 10-dual win seasons since 2010. His 2012-13 squad's 12-6 mark was the program's highest winning percentage since 1993-94. Centra, which hasl also returned to the national rankings, sent a wrestler to the NCAA Division III national tournament for the fourth straight year in 2014.

Van Kley was named the co-winner of the league coach of the year award in 2009-10 after piloting Central to its first winning season since 2000-01. Inheriting a squad with as many as five open weights, Van Kley's tireless recruiting efforts have expanded the roster to 50 wrestlers.

Eric Van Kley A Rock Valley, Iowa native, Van Kley started the wrestling program at the University of Great Falls (Mont.) in 2004 and turned it into an NAIA title contender. He compiled a 28-13 dual meet record over three seasons and wrestlers earned NAIA all-America distinction 13 times with three top-10 national team finishes. In 2006-07 the Argos won the West Region championship and finished sixth at the NAIA national tournament. Van Kley was named the NAIA West Region coach of the year. His 2005-06 team received NAIA Top 10 academic distinction. Van Kley also served as the Great Falls athletics director in 2006-07, overseeing an 11-sport program, and was named the university's staff employee of the year.

Van Kley served three seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at The Dalles High School in Oregon before he spent a year as assistant coach for Division I Millersville University ( Pa.) while also serving as Leadership Program Coordinator for the National Wrestling Coaches Association. He worked with a Millersville squad that won the Eastern Regional dual meet title and placed second at the Virginia Duals.

An honors graduate of Minnesota State-Mankato, Van Kley was a three-time letterwinner for the NCAA Division II program. He served as captain for the 2000 team which placed sixth at the national meet and was a two-time Scholastic All-America honoree, while receiving the team's Maverick Achievement Award. Van Kley earned a master's degree from Duquesne University (Pa.).

Van Kley is also heavily involved in the U.S. Cadet & Junior National Greco-Roman tournament. He served as head coach of the Iowa team in 2010-11, guiding the squad to a sixth-place finish, after previously serving as an assistant. He's coached in the tourney for seven years, including his time as a team director in Montana.

Van Kley and his wife Sarah are the parents of two sons and a daughter.

Video: Meet coach Van Kley

Video: Van Kley on why Dutch wrestling will be successful

Video: Learn more about wrestling at Central

To contact Eric Van Kley
Phone: (641) 628-5422
Email: vankleye@central.edu

Kevin Donahue
Assistant coach

Former all-American Kevin Donahue is entering his fourth season as assistant wrestling coach at Central College.

A 2011 Cornell College graduate, Donahue was a three-time NCAA all-American at 141 pounds. He placed fourth at the NCAA Division III championship meet twice and finished seventh in 2008-09. Donahue was also a two-time Iowa Conference champion. Compiling a 109-41 career record, Donahue ranks 10th on Cornell’s career wins leaderboard. He helped the Rams post four top-20 NCAA finishes, including two in the top 10.

A Mechanicsville, Va. native, Donahue received Cornell’s Paul K. Scott Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award. He was named the team’s 2011 MVP and was a three-time recipient of the squad’s Most Dedicated Wrestler Award. He also received the Most Improved Performer Award in 2009.

Donahue also coached at Rob Waller’s All-American Wrestling Camp. 

Phone: (641) 628-5141
Email: donahuek@central.edu

Bob Kuennen
Assistant coach

Bob Kuennen is entering his sixth season as an assistant coach.

Kuennen, a 2006 Wartburg College graduate, was named a Scholar All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches Association and was an academic all-Iowa Conference honoree in 2006.

A Fort Atkinson, Iowa native, Kuennen also serves Central as educational talent search coordinator.

Email: kuennenr@central.edu


Matt Diehl
Assistant coach

Matt Diehl is entering his 24th season as a member of the Central staff and served as the program's head coach from 1996-2004. He's now a volunteer assistant.

A former all-American for the Dutch, Diehl is a 1987 Central graduate. He received a master's degree in exercise and sport science at the University of Wis.-La Crosse, where he also spent a year as assistant coach.

Prior to returning to Central in 1991, Diehl was head coach at Iowa Falls High School for two years and was a junior high coach in Audubon for one year.

Diehl, an Osceola native, was a two-time NCAA Division III qualifier at 118 pounds, earning all-America honors and winning an Iowa Conference title in 1987, helping the Dutch place eighth in the nation.

Diehl and his wife Cathy are the parents of three sons and a daughter.

Phone: (641) 628-5230
Email: diehlm@central.edu

Central College