Mike Mendoza has been named head coach of the Boise State wrestling program, Director of Athletics Curt Apsey announced Friday.
Mendoza, just the third Boise State wrestling head coach in the last 44 years, had spent the previous six seasons as head coach at CSU Bakersfield.
“This wrestling program has a long history of success,” Apsey said. “In going through the search process for a new head coach, it became increasingly evident that Mike Mendoza had the energy and tenacity to get this program back to where we know it can be – competing in the upper echelon of collegiate wrestling.
“His guys have performed on the mat and in the classroom, and he’s shown a great ability to connect his program with the community, all things that are very important to us.”
A 1999 graduate of CSU Bakersfield, Mendoza became head coach at his alma mater in 2010-11 after spending eight years (2002-10) as the head assistant coach for the Roadrunners. Mendoza guided a program that went 3-7 in his debut season to the top 25 of the USA Today/National Wrestling Coaches Association Division I Coaches Poll in 2015-16, the school’s first ranking in 15 years.
“I am honored to be a Bronco,” Mendoza said. “I look forward to bringing my family into such a wonderful community, and getting to know the individuals that put their blood, sweat and tears into building Bronco wrestling. This program’s tradition and prestigious history is part of what drew me to the job.
“Boise State is capable of great things on the mat, as evidenced by what has been accomplished in the past. I’m excited to get in the room with the guys on this roster and getting to work in order to achieve what they all came here to be a part of.”
This past season the Roadrunners went 11-4 on the season, including a league-best 4-1 mark in Pac-12 duals. CSU Bakersfield also sent five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships this past season, including Bryce Hammond (174 pounds), who became one of only five individuals in school history to claim three individual Pac-12 titles, winning his third in 2016. Hammond also earned All-America honors for the Roadrunners in 2014.
During his six years as head coach, Mendoza produced 17 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships and four individual Pac-12 champions.
Under his watch, CSU Bakersfield also excelled in the classroom, finishing three seasons ranked in the NWCA Division I All-Academic Top 30. Two of his wrestlers, Dalton Kelley in 2014 and Ian Nickell in 2016, were named Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Kelley was also named second-team Academic All-America in 2014, the first Roadrunner student-athlete to earn the accolade since the program joined Division I.
Additionally, 23 of his student-athletes garnered Pac-12 All-Academic accolades and nine were named NWCA All-Academic, and his teams recorded perfect single-year scores of 1,000 in each of the last two releases of the Academic Progress Rate.
During his time as head assistant coach, CSU Bakersfield produced five All-Americans, six Pac-12 champions and 38 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships.
A four-year starter while wrestling for CSU Bakersfield during his collegiate career, Mendoza, who was team captain and a member of the Pac-12 All-Academic Team in 1999, qualified to the NCAA Championships three times (1996, 1998-99), one of only 14 wrestlers in school history to accomplish the feat. He was a member of a pair of league-championship teams (1996 and 1999), and his 1996 squad finished third at the NCAA Championships.
Prior to rejoining his alma mater, Mendoza worked as a graduate assistant at Adams State in Alamosa, Colo. He helped produce four Division II All-Americans and a national champion during his two seasons with the Grizzlies (1999-2001).