New Wrestling Coach Named

Johnson Selected to Lead Revival of Wrestling Program

Knights wrestling 1Warner Pacific College Director of Athletics Jamie Joss announced Frank Johnson, current Forest Grove High School wrestling coach, as the head coach of the newly launched Knights men’s and women’s wrestling programs.

Johnson is well-known in Northwest wrestling circles and has enjoyed success at the high school and college levels as a head coach, and as an ambassador for the sport in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. He will begin recruiting for the Knights immediately and will continue to coach the Forest Grove program through the end of the season.

“We had an excellent pool of candidates and the wrestling knowledge was outstanding, however with any coaching search at Warner Pacific College we look for more than a coach,” Joss said. “We look for coaches who are committed to not only living out our Christ-centered mission, but providing opportunities to student-athletes in our urban community where graduation is a top priority.

“Working with many first generation students from our community, our coaches have a great opportunity to impact lives for many generations by building strong young men and women who can be disciples in their community not only with their faith, but serve as mentors to their families, friends and other aspiring student-athletes in showing that earning a higher education degree is achievable,” Joss added. “Frank Johnson embodies all of these objectives experiencing these in his own journey of faith, wrestling and graduation from Pacific University (’91), as well as, his previous coaching experience in guiding high school wrestlers to College and recruiting them to his alma mater.”

Coach Johnson arrives from Forest Grove High School, where he has been head coach for the Viking wrestling program since 2002. He has guided the FGHS team to tremendous success, which includes two OSAA 6A individual state champions in 2007, and two more champions in 2010. Six of his wrestlers have participated in International Competition, and Forest Grove hosted a team from Russia in 2011.

His college experience consists of a five-year stint as head coach at his alma mater in Forest Grove, Oregon (1997-2002). Eight of his wrestlers achieved All-American status, and the Boxers won three regional team championships. The size of the men’s squad tripled, and Pacific launched a women’s program under his leadership. In 2002, seven women placed at the US Open Championships, and the Boxer team placed third overall.

Johnson is a long-time advocate for the sport of wrestling with 12 years of experience organizing wrestling clinics, camps, and goodwill competitions. These events have featured world class coaches and wrestlers from the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Further promoting the sport locally, he started and served as editor of Matside Oregon, a statewide newspaper for amateur wrestling.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to add a new sport to your athletic program, the most important factor of success is finding a head coach that can share the College’s and athletic program’s vision and recruit student-athletes who see that vision for their futures,” Joss said. “It was obvious during the interview process that Frank is committed to building champions in the classroom, in the community, in competition and in Christ.  Frank has a daunting task of recruiting men’s and women’s programs over the next six months, but we are confident with his connections in the Pacific Northwest and experience in building a women’s wrestling program will allow him to build the championship-caliber programs we aspire to.”

Johnson also held head coaching posts at Kennewick High School (WA), and Henry Perrine Baldwin High School (HI).

“The Administration’s approach to wrestling is right in step with the overall mission of Warner Pacific College,” said Johnson. “They’ve put the pieces in place to build winning programs for both men’s and women’s wrestling. Being selected to lead the overall program is an honor.”

Warner Pacific previously fielded a men’s wrestling program from 1968-75 led by local coaching legend and Warner Pacific Hall of Honor member, Dave Sanville. Under Sanville, the Knights amassed a 58-30-3 record in dual match competition and had 35 individuals qualify for the NAIA National Wrestling Championships including one NAIA All-American.


Men’s and Women’s Intercollegiate Wrestling Coming to WP in 2014

Warner Pacific College Director of Athletics Jamie Joss announced that the College will add men’s and women’s wrestling to its athletics program and begin intercollegiate competition in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2014-15. The search for a head coach and recruitment of student-athletes will begin immediately.

“We’re thrilled to offer a robust athletics program that serves the needs of a wide variety of students,” said Warner Pacific President, Andrea Cook. “I believe men’s and women’s wrestling will provide many students new avenues in which to pursue their higher education goals, while strengthening their character through the principles inherent in Knights Athletics.”

Warner Pacific previously fielded a men’s wrestling program from 1968-75 led by local coaching legend and Warner Pacific Hall of Honor member, Dave Sanville. Under Sanville, the Knights amassed a 58-30-3 record in dual match competition and had 35 individuals qualify for the NAIA National Wrestling Championships including one NAIA All-American. Sanville continued to coach in the high school ranks for many years, including eight years at Bend High School (1976-84), and 17 years at West Linn High School (1984-2001).

“Many top wrestlers in Oregon and Washington are forced to leave the state to pursue college wrestling, while others just stop wrestling after high school,” said Director of Athletics, Jamie Joss. “The return of wrestling at Warner Pacific College provides wrestlers in our region with the opportunity to continue their pursuit of athletic excellence, while providing an outstanding urban Christ-centered liberal arts education. We are very excited to find the right coach to lead both programs and begin recruiting student-athletes who are ready to excel as champions on the mat, in the classroom, and in life.”

The College’s decision to initiate a women’s program is a historic addition for NAIA wrestling. Warner Pacific will become the 15th women’s program in the NAIA, allowing women’s wrestling to become a NAIA Recognized sport. Warner Pacific women’s wrestling will be the third program in Oregon, joining non-NAIA programs at Pacific University and Southwest Oregon Community College.

“Adding the women’s program is a great opportunity for many of the top women’s wrestlers from Washington to stay close to home, while also expanding the recruiting efforts of the College in California and Hawaii,” Joss added.

Women’s wrestling is a recognized Olympic sport, and since 1994, the number of women participating in high school wrestling has grown from 804 to over 8,727. California, Guam, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington sponsor a girl’s state high school championship, while many girls compete for boys high school teams across the United States.

The Knights women will compete both regionally and nationally in the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA). The National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) added a Women’s Collegiate Division in 2008.

The WCWA is the current governing body for all collegiate women’s wrestling programs at NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA institutions.  The WCWA competes in freestyle Olympic wrestling and includes the following weight classes (in pounds): 101, 109, 116, 123, 130, 136, 143, 155, 170 and 191.

The Knights, along with Life University (Ga.), Lyon College (Ark.), and Ottawa University (Kan.), have committed to adding women’s wrestling beginning in 2014-2015. They will join current NAIA women’s wrestling programs including: Oklahoma City University, University of Jamestown (S.D.), Missouri Valley College, Wayland Baptist University (Texas), Missouri Baptist University, University of the Cumberlands (Ky.), Midland University (Neb.), Waldorf College (Iowa), Lindenwood University-Belleville (Mo.), Menlo College (Calif.), and Campbellsville University (Ky.).

Warner Pacific’s men’s program is the fifth intercollegiate team in the state joining Clackamas Community College, Oregon State University, Pacific University and Southern Oregon University.

The men’s sport, which was added by the NAIA in 1958, is currently sponsored by 43 institutions across the United States. The NAIA Wrestling National Championship has 10 men’s weight classes (in pounds): 125, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165, 174, 184, 197 and 285.

There are currently 280,000 high school students actively engaged in wrestling at the secondary education level.

For information on recruiting and hiring within the Warner Pacific College wrestling program, contact Jamie Joss at 503.517.1261 or Learn more about Knights Athletics.