AUDIO: Jake Stevenson
One of the most successful competitors in the history of the Morningside College wrestling program has become the Mustangs’ new head coach.
Morningside athletic director Tim Jager announced that Jake Stevenson, a former four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American and a 2007 NAIA National Champion, has been hired as wrestling head coach. Stevenson will take over for Jager, who resigned as head coach last week to become Morningside’s new athletic director after he had guided the Mustangs to a 75-41-2 record over the past eight seasons.
Stevenson, who was the Mustangs’ assistant coach during the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 campaigns, will return to Morningside after a one-year absence. He was the head coach of the Wayne State College Wrestling Club in Wayne, Neb., for the past year. Aside from his coaching duties at Wayne State, Stevenson was employed at Sand Creek Post and Beam in Wayne and was project manager for its Barn Kings division.
“I am thrilled that my first order of business is to hire Jake Stevenson as our head wrestling coach,” Jager said. “Stevenson made a major impact on our wrestling program both as an athlete and as a coach. He is fully committed to the program, is focused on developing student-athletes, and his presence will make it an easy transition for the team and the overall program.”
Stevenson will inherit a Morningside team that won back-to-back Great Plains Athletic Conference championships in 2011 and 2012. The Mustangs’ veteran roster includes three returning NAIA All-Americans in Brian Block, Kory Kistner, and Joe Sievert along with seven other national qualifiers.
“I’m excited to get started,” Stevenson said. “I spent seven years at Morningside and returning is like a dream come true. Coach Jager built a top notch program and we have a great opportunity to build on the already great tradition. I can’t wait to get on campus and help the young men on the team reach their goals on and off the mat.”
Stevenson is the most decorated wrestler in Morningside history as a four-time NAIA All-American and the college’s only NAIA National Champion. He posted a 130-25 record during his career for the most wins in school history. Stevenson captured the 2007 NAIA 184 lb. National Championship when he won a 3-1 decision against No. 1-ranked Joffre Lander of Embry-Riddle University in the title bout to cap a junior season where he had a record of 23-1. Stevenson won his final 11 matches of the season after he returned from a broken jaw he suffered against Austin Hayes of Buena Vista University on Nov. 29, 2006. Stevenson defaulted in that match for his only loss of the season.
He earned All-America honors with fourth place finishes in the 174 lb. division at the NAIA National Championships as both a freshman and sophomore and earned All-America honors for the fourth time with a third place finish at 184 lbs. as a senior. Stevenson had a 45-8 record as a sophomore in 2005-06 to set a Morningside single-season record for victories.
Stevenson was named the Mustangs’ Most Valuable Wrestler after each of his four seasons with the team. He was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s (NWCA) NAIA All-Academic Team three times and was a NAIA “Champions of Character” award recipient.
Stevenson graduated from Morningside in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Wayne State in 2010.