Head Wrestling Coach
Heidelberg University ’09
Dakota Wesleyan University ’12
Craig “Boomer” Fechko took over as the 11th head coach in Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling history in mid-March. This is Fechko’s first head coaching job, but not his first stint with the Tiger wrestling program.
Fechko comes to Dakota Wesleyan with coaching experience at several levels of collegiate wrestling, but most importantly he comes in with previous experience with the Tigers. The Broadview Heights, Ohio, native served as a graduate assistant wrestling coach at DWU from 2010-2012 under previous head coach Matt Sedivy, and played a key role in both recruiting and day-to-day operations with the program.
Fechko takes over a program that finished 9-7 overall and recorded the most wins since the 1968-69 season. The Tigers also finished 5-2 and tied for second in the GPAC. Six wrestlers qualified for the NAIA National Championships, and senior Richard Rios (133) and junior Trever DeVestern (165) both finished fourth to earn All-American honors.
As a team, the Tigers set the school record for team points earned (488.5) and individual winning percentage (56.3) in 2013-14. Senior Tyler Sarringar graduated with the record for reversals in a career with 99.
DeVestern set the school record for winning percentage in a season with a 33-4 record, and he is second in the school’s all-time wins list with a 95-27 overall career record. DeVestern, who won his weight class at the North Group Qualifying Tournament, is just the second wrestler in Tiger history to earn multiple All-American honors in a career. He earned All-GPAC First Team honors, Rios and Sarringar were named to the second team and junior Kyle Gerlach earned honorable mention accolades.
Sarringar, Gerlach and Nick Hutcheson earned NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athlete honors. The Tigers were recognized by the NWCA for having the best team GPA in the NAIA with a 3.33 in 2013-14, and Sarringar and Gerlach were named to the NWCA-NAIA All-Academic Team.
While at Dakota Wesleyan as a graduate assistant, Fechko helped coach 15 wrestlers who qualified for the NAIA National Championships, including one NAIA All-American. In 2010-11, Fechko helped lead a squad that took fourth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and finished 18th at the national championships – the team’s best finish since 2003-04. In 2011-12, the Tigers went 7-10 – the most wins since the 1968-69 season – and finished tied for third in the conference.
In Fechko’s second year at DWU, five Tigers landed All-GPAC honors, including freshman Trever DeVestern on the All-GPAC First Team. He was the first freshman in DWU history to be named to the first team, and the first first-team performer since 2007. The five all-conference athletes were also the most in program history.
After graduating from Dakota Wesleyan in 2012 with a master’s degree in educational policy and administration, Fechko served as a volunteer assistant coach at NCAA Division I Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Penn., for the 2012-13 season. In the 2013-14 season, he served as an assistant wrestling coach for the Brunswick High School wrestling team and worked as a corrective learning center monitor at Willetts Middle School.
Fechko graduated in 2009 with a degree in business administration from Heidelberg University, an NCAA Division III school in Tiffin, Ohio. He wrestled at Heidelberg, but earned NCAA Division II All-American honors at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, prior to transferring to Heidelberg. While at Heidelberg he qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament. After graduating, he was the head wrestling coach at Quincy High School in Quincy, Calif., and the assistant coach for the Legends of Gold club team in Quincy.
Fechko lives in Mitchell.
Graduate Assistant Wrestling Coach
Dakota Wesleyan University ’14
After five seasons with the Dakota Wesleyan University wrestling program, Nick Hutcheson is back on the mat for the Tigers in 2014-15.
Hutcheson, who graduated from DWU in May with a degree in elementary education, returns to the program as a graduate assistant coach this season. This mark’s Hutcheson’s sixth year with the Tiger wrestling program.
Hutcheson, who wrestled at 157 and 165 pounds for DWU, had a successful career on and off the mat for the Tigers. The Elk Point, S.D., native qualified for the NAIA National Championships three times, and earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference Second Team honors at 165 pounds in 2012. He took second at the North Region Qualifying Tournament in 2013, and took fifth in 2011. Hutcheson finished his career 10th on the school’s all-time wins list with a 65-47 recod.
Hutcheson was also honored several times for his work in the classroom. He was a part of the DWU squad that had the highest team GPA in the NAIA with a 3.33, and he was named to the NWCA-NAIA All-Academic team in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also earned Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors as a senior in 2014.
Hutcheson is pursuing a master’s degree in educational policy and administration at Dakota Wesleyan.