May 23, 2014
Churella Interview (YouTube)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan wrestling head coach Joe McFarland announced Friday (May 23) the promotion of former Wolverine All-American Josh Churella to assistant coach. Prior to his appointment to the full-time staff, Churella spent two seasons as the Wolverines' volunteer coach.
"Josh is a perfect choice for this staff," said McFarland. "He did a tremendous job over the last two years as volunteer coach. He has a huge passion for the University of Michigan and our wrestling program. He is a high-character individual, has a great personality and a wonderful presence in our practice room. He has excelled at the highest level of wrestling -- both in college and internationally. He's just a great role model for our guys. He'll do an outstanding job, and we're excited about him taking on a bigger role."
"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity," said Churella. "After spending two years here as the volunteer assistant coach, I have learned a lot from Joe (McFarland), Sean (Bormet) and Donny (Pritzlaff), and I am grateful for that experience. I'm happy with my decision two years ago to stay here at Michigan; my heart has always been here. I have developed a lot as a coach -- both with our current Michigan wrestlers and with our club guys -- and I'm excited to grow more in this new role.
"Michigan wrestling is in a great spot right now. We've had a few good recruiting classes, and I'd like to think I was a part of that even in my limited, volunteer role. I'm eager to hit the ground running in my new position, get into homes and out to tournaments, identify and evaluate prospects and continue to bring the right kids into our program and develop them. I expect big things for Michigan in the next few years."
In his two seasons on the U-M coaching staff, Churella has assisted with the program's day-to-day operations, including practice planning, match preparation, event and clinic promotion and individual technique assistance. He is also active in the Wolverine practice room as an everyday workout partner, working primarily with the middleweights, including 2014 All-Americans Steve Dutton and Eric Grajales.
As a Wolverine wrestler (2005-08), Churella was a three-time NCAA All-American. He wrapped up his collegiate career with a 124-21 record -- ranking 16th among Michigan's all-time wins leaders. He boasted a career-best 31-5 record during his junior season; the same year he advanced to the 149-pound final at the NCAA Championships. Churella began his career at 141 pounds, where he won a Big Ten title and earned All-America honors as a freshman.
Over Churella's competitive career at Michigan, the Wolverines were a regular fixture among the national level with top-10 showings at the NCAA Championships in each of his four seasons, including a runner-up finish in 2005. Michigan also claimed two Big Ten dual-meet titles in his first two seasons.
After his graduation, Churella enjoyed a successful freestyle career. He was a three-year freestyle national team member at 66kg/145.5 pounds after twice placing third at the World Team Trials (2010, '11) and, most recently, at the 2012 Olympic Team Trials. He was the runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Open and captured a medal at several international tournaments, including the NYAC International Open (gold, 2009) and Cuba's Cerro Pelado Tournament (bronze, 2010).
Originally from Northville, Mich., Churella earned his bachelor's degree in sport management from Michigan in 2008. He currently lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Carlee, and son, Cruz.
Contact: Leah Howard
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