Tom Borrelli has built a wrestling dynasty as the head coach at Central Michigan, establishing himself as one of the most highly respected names in the sport.
During Borrelli's 25-year tenure, the Chippewas have claimed 13 Mid-American Conference titles and 14 times have walked out of the MAC Championships with a first-place finish, including 11 straight from 2002-12.
CMU has boasted multiple All-Americans in nine of the past 12 seasons, and a total of 12 times under Borrelli's watch. His 40 total All-America honorees rank eighth among active NCAA Division I head coaches.
The Chippewas' dominance of the MAC under Borrelli has been nothing short of remarkable, as they have amassed a 105-21 record in conference duals during his tenure.
Borrelli became Central Michigan's all-time wins leader while leading the Chippewas to their 10th consecutive conference crown in 2008. A 19-16 victory over No. 11 Ohio State at the National Duals was Borrelli's 196th career dual victory, and it moved him past Chick Sherwood and into first place on the all-time list. Sherwood guided the Chippewas to 195 dual victories from 1965-89.
Borrelli's mark as the Chippewas' mentor stands at 296-129-7 overall, a .693 win percentage. Borrelli earned his 300th career dual victory (22 years at CMU, five at Lake Superior State University) in a 49-0 win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 17, 2011.
A well-respected coach on the national level, Borrelli was honored by his peers when he was presented with the National Wrestling Coaches Association Bob Bubb Coaching Excellence Award at the 2004 NCAA Championships. The award goes annually to one coach in each collegiate division in recognition of his contribution to the sport.
In 1998, Borrelli was named the National Coach of the Year by two organizations, the National Wrestling Coaches Association and Wrestling International Newsmagazine (W.I.N.). He shared the W.I.N. Dan Gable Coach of the Year Award with Minnesota coach J Robinson.
Borrelli has been named MAC Coach of the Year a conference-record 12 times (1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012), while no other MAC wrestling head coach has won the award more than five times.
CMU won MAC championships in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013, and MAC Championships titles in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
CMU has won at least 10 duals in 19 of Borrelli's 24 seasons.
Borrelli has coached one national champion, 39 All-Americans, eight MAC Wrestler of the Year honorees, 81 MAC champions, 135 national qualifiers, eight NWCA All-Academic first team selections, 44 Academic All-MAC first team selections and 10 MAC Freshman of the Year selections.
Just as important as the Chippewas' performance on the mat is their achievement in the classroom. CMU wrestling has finished in the top 16 nationally in team GPA in 15 of the past 17 seasons. The Chippewas peaked with a third-place ranking in 1994 and 2003.
Wynn Michalak (2008) and Mark DiSalvo (2006) were recipients of NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships and both earned CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors following their respective senior seasons.
A CAREER OF DISTINCTION
In 2013, Borrelli saw two of his seniors finish their careers in the maroon and gold with All-American performances.
Ben Bennett (184 pounds) became the first four-time All-American in program history with a fourth-place finished at the NCAA Championships, while Jarod Trice was named to the All-America team for the third time in his career after placing sixth in the heavyweight division.
Central Michigan won the 2013 MAC regular season title, posting a 5-0 record in conference duals. Borrelli coached two individual champions during the 2013 campaign en route to a second-place team finish at the MAC Championships.
Five Central Michigan wrestlers earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships following their performances at the MAC Championships, and three CMU wrestlers received at-large bids to the NCAA Championships.
Seven Chippewas earned automatic bids to the 2012 NCAA Championships after a dominant performance at the MAC Championships. CMU collected five individual titles and four third-place finishes to win the championship with 89 points.
Ben Bennett (184 pounds) claimed his third straight All-America honor, finishing sixth at 184 pounds, while sophomore Joe Roth (125 pounds) was named the MAC Championships' Most Outstanding Wrestler. The Chippewas' performance netted Borrelli his record 12th MAC Coach of the Year honor, while Bennett was named MAC Wrestler of the Year.
In 2011, Borrelli molded a young and inexperienced team into a championship contender. The Chippewas shared the MAC regular-season title with Kent State and Ohio, marking CMU's 12th conference title in 13 seasons.
CMU continued its dominance at the conference tournament, scoring 79 points to claim its 10th consecutive MAC Championships title. Scotti Sentes (133), Ben Bennett (174) and Jarod Trice (285) each won individual titles and earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Sentes, Bennett and Trice each earned All-America honors as CMU finished in a tie for 13th at the NCAA Championships, its fifth straight top-15 finish and seventh in the last eight seasons.
The 2010 season marked another milestone for the program, as CMU became the first program in MAC history to qualify all 10 individuals for the NCAA Championships. Steve Brown (157), Bennett (174) and Trice (285) all earned All-America honors as CMU tied for 12th in the team standings.
The Chippewas won the MAC regular-season and tournament titles and matched a school record for dual victories, finishing with a 17-2 mark including 5-0 in the MAC.
Borrelli, who in 2006 became the first Olympic sport head coach at CMU to sign a multi-year contract, agreed to a five-year pact prior to the 2010 MAC Championships.
Considered by many to be in a rebuilding mode for the 2008-09 campaign, CMU surprised by tying the school record for dual meet wins (17) and claimed its eighth consecutive conference tournament championship.
The Chippewas also won the Virginia Duals team title and advanced eight wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, two of whom earned All-America honors. CMU tallied 111.5 team points at the MAC Championships, the fourth-highest total in conference tournament history, and 35 points at the NCAA Championships, the sixth-most in school history.
Sophomore Mike Miller, seeded seventh at the NCAA Championships, finished as the national runner-up at 174 pounds. He was CMU's second national finalist in as many years. CMU climbed to No. 2 in the national polls during the final week of the 2007-08 season, its highest ranking in program history.
The Chippewas won 16 duals, tied for the second-most in a season in school history, and defended their team title at the Reno Tournament of Champions. CMU posted its fifth straight unbeaten MAC dual season, then won seven individual titles, the second most during Borrelli's tenure, in securing their seventh straight conference tournament crown. CMU capped its historic season by finishing in a tie for seventh at the 2008 NCAA Championships, scoring a school-record 69 team points. Four Chippewas earned All-America honors, including 197-pound national runner-up Wynn Michalak.
In 2007, CMU established a school record with 17 dual wins, which has since been matched three times. Six Chippewas won titles at the MAC Championships and eight earned bids to the NCAA Championships. Three of those eight earned All-America honors.
That performance came on the heels of a 2006 season in which, despite a lineup featuring five new starters, CMU defended its MAC regular-season and tournament titles, posted program-best finishes of second at the Midlands and fourth at the National Duals, rose to fourth in the NWCA/InterMat top 25 poll, and boasted two All-Americans.
Before coming to CMU, Borrelli was the head coach at Lake Superior State for five seasons. He compiled a 46-25-1 record and led the Lakers to five top-20 finishes from 1986-91.
The Lakers won NCAA Division II Mideast Regional titles in 1987 and in 1991. LSSU won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) championship in 1991, and Borrelli was named GLIAC Coach of the Year.
His first head coaching tenure produced 17 All-Americans, 26 Division II national tournament qualifiers, and two Division II national finalists.
Borrelli was an assistant at Clemson University for two years from 1984-86. He earned a master's degree in education administration and supervision from Clemson in 1987.
Borrelli was a standout wrestler at The Citadel, where he was a four-year letterwinner from 1975-79, finishing witha 58-27-2 career record. He twice earned the Bulldogs' Most Outstanding Wrestler award. He graduated in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education. He and his wife, Lorri, reside in Mount Pleasant. They have two sons, Bob and Jason, both of whom wrestled at CMU. Jason is in his eighth season as the head wrestling coach at Stanford University.