Tom Borrelli has built a dynasty as the head coach at Central Michigan, distinguishing himself as one of the most highly respected names in collegiate wrestling. In May, 2018, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Michigan Chapter, joining an elite group of the sport’s legends.
During Borrelli's 27-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.
Under Borrelli, 40 times has a Chippewa wrestler ended the season as an All-American. The Chippewas have garnered multiple All-America honors 12 times in Borrelli’s 27 seasons in charge of the program.
The Chippewas' dominance of the MAC under Borrelli has been remarkable, as they have amassed a 116-25 record in conference duals during his tenure.
In 2017-18, Borrelli led CMU to an 8-6 dual finish including 5-2 in the MAC, a runner-up finish in the eight-team MAC Championships, and a 38th-place finish in the NCAA Championships. The Chippewas qualified seven wrestlers for the NCAA Championships.
CMU battled injuries to key members of the lineup throughout the season, yet finished seventh of 45 teams in the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, then placed third of 59 teams in another rugged December test, the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships at Northwestern.
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 313-138-7 overall, a .694 win percentage. He 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 name 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 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 record 12 times, and the Chippewas have won at least 10 duals in 20 of his 27 seasons.
Borrelli has coached one national champion, 40 All-Americans, eight MAC Wrestler of the Year honorees, 82 MAC champions, 151 national qualifiers, 16 NWCA All-Academic individuals, 59 Academic All-MAC selections, 10 wrestlers who have earned the MAC Freshman of the Year Award, and two Academic All-Americans.
Just as important as the Chippewas' performance on the mat is their achievement in the classroom. CMU wrestling has finished in the top 15 nationally in team GPA in 17 of the past 19 seasons, including third-place rankings in 1994 and in 2003.
Borrelli protégés 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.
Before coming to CMU, Borrelli was the head coach at Lake Superior State from 1986-91. He compiled a 46-25-1 dual record and led the Lakers to five top-20 finishes in the NCAA Division II Championships, two Regional titles, and a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship. He earned the GLIAC Coach of the Year Award in 1991.
In his five seasons at Lake Superior State, Borrelli produced 17 All-Americans, 26 Division II national qualifiers, and two national finalists.
Borrelli served as 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 letter winner from 1975-79, finishing with a 58-27-2 career record. He twice earned the program’s 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 11th season as the head wrestling coach at Stanford University.