Bentley receives contract extension

Appalachian State wrestling coach JohnMark Bentley received a contract extension July 2.

BOONE — Appalachian State head wrestling coach JohnMark Bentley has signed a contract extension that runs through the 2022-23 season, Appalachian State Athletic Director Doug Gillin announced in a statement July 2.

Terms of the deal were not announced. The extension was approved by Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts and the Appalachian State Board of Trustees.

“I am extremely grateful for the support and confidence that Chancellor Everts, Doug Gillin and the Board of Trustees have shown me,” Bentley said in a statement. “Over the last few years, App State Wrestling has achieved some remarkable things, but I believe the best are yet to come. I am excited for the opportunity to continue leading this historic wrestling program.”

Named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year four times in his first 10 seasons as App State’s head coach, Bentley helped lead the Mountaineers to a fourth consecutive SoCon regular-season title during the 2018-19 season.

Bentley’s career record stands at 97-66-1 heading into the 2019-20 season, and a 5-1 league record last season is part of a 25-2 run against SoCon competition during the last four seasons. Since the Newland native became App State’s head coach, the Mountaineers have had 32 NCAA qualifiers and three All-Americans.

“We are excited to have JohnMark continue to lead our wrestling program,” Senior Associate Athletics Director Jonathan Reeder said in a statement. “The sustained success App State wrestling has had under his leadership has been exceptional. JohnMark is committed to the success of our student-athletes academically, competitively and in the community, and we are excited for the future of our wrestling program.”

Appalachian State achieved national top-25 rankings during the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons, climbing to as high as No. 16 during a 12-3 season in 2016-17. Bentley finished third in voting for national coach of the year in 2012 and was also a finalist in 2018, when a young App State team swept both the SoCon regular-season and tournament titles.

Off the mat, App State posted a team GPA of 3.03 in the spring of 2019, and its number of community service hours recorded by the Helper Helper platform in 2018-19 ranked No. 1 among all Division I wrestling programs.

In the last four years, Bentley’s program is 37-4 against non-Power Five Conference opponents with six victories against teams from Power Five leagues: Duke (2015-16), Indiana (2015-16), No. 15 Oregon State (2016-17), No. 25 North Carolina (2016-17), Duke (2016-17) and Duke (2018-19). While attracting some of the nation’s top teams to Boone, the Mountaineers have consistently wrestled in front of standing-room-only crowds at Varsity Gym.

Of the four App State wrestlers who qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2019, Randall Diabe was the only senior, leaving rising senior Cary Miller, rising senior Matt Zovistoski and rising junior Codi Russell among the potential leaders in 2019-20. Miller and Russell both won an NCAA match during their 2019 appearances in Pittsburgh.

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