Ken Wunderley profiles Blackhawk graduate Kerry Regner, who is the new wrestling coach at Millersville. Read his story below.
After three very successful seasons as head wrestling coach at Williams Baptist College, Kerry Regner and his family had settled in to their new life in Walnut Ridge, Ark.
Then came a chance for them to move back to Pennsylvania, an opportunity that Regner could not pass up.
"I was contacted by an individual who informed me that Millersville University needed a new coach and asked if I was interested," said Regner, a 2003 graduate of Blackhawk High School.
"We enjoyed our time in Arkansas, but all of our vacations were to see family in Pennsylvania. The drive from Arkansas to Beaver County is 12 hours on a good day. My wife is from Lock Haven, so add another four hours to that trip. With two young children, it was not an easy trip."
The Regners travel time to visit family has been significantly cut, as Kerry was named Millersville's 10th wrestling coach on June 5.
"It's an honor to be Millersville's next coach," Regner said. "I would like to express my appreciation to Miles Gallagher and the search committee for giving me this opportunity. It is a privilege to lead a program with a history such as Millersville. I look forward to assisting each student-athlete to develop as leaders of quality character on and off the mat. My family and I are excited to call Millersville home."
Millersville does have a rich history in wrestling, but the program has struggled for the past eight years, combining for a 29-81-1 record during that stretch. The most recent Millersville team to record a winning record was the 2008-09 squad, which posted a 9-8 mark.
"Coach Regner was an accomplished wrestler, and now as a coach, he has shown the ability to get the best out of his student-athletes and build a successful team," Gallagher said. "He is going to bring leadership and a new direction to our wrestling program. We are excited for him to get started."
During his 3½-year stay in Arkansas, Regner built the NAIA-affiliated Williams Baptist program from the ground up and seemingly overnight turned it into a nationally-relevant team. Not only did his teams win back-to-back American Midwest Conference titles in 2015-16 and 2016-17, but in just three seasons, he developed 23 national qualifiers, six All-Americans and a 2016 national champion. He was also named American Midwest Conference Coach of the Year twice.
In 2016-17, his club reached a No. 3 national ranking — the highest of any team in the history of Williams Baptist Athletics. That team went on to finish fourth at the NAIA championships. In all three seasons his teams finished in the NAIA's top 25.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding Millersville's program and getting the program back on track," said Regner, who moved to Millersville at the beginning of July. "I already had one athlete visit the college and three more are coming this week."
Regner compiled a 103-27 record during his four years at Blackhawk. He continued his wrestling and academic career at Northern Michigan, where he earned a bachelor's degree in communications. He also competed at the Olympic level in Greco-Roman competition during his years at Northern Michigan, but fell short of an Olympic berth.
After graduating, Regner returned to Western Pennsylvania to take the head coaching job at Beaver. He inherited a roster of five wrestlers and quickly recruited students and broke the school record for dual meet wins and regional qualifiers. The following year, he served as a graduate assistant coach at Clarion University, where he earned a masters degree in mass media and journalism.