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 26-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 26 seasons in charge of the program.
The Chippewas' dominance of the MAC under Borrelli has been remarkable, as they have amassed a 111-23 record in conference duals during his tenure.
In 2016-17, Borrelli led CMU to a 9-3 record in duals including 6-2 in the MAC, a third-place finish in the nine-team MAC Championships, and a 23rd place finish in the NCAA Championships. The Chippewas qualified nine wrestlers for the NCAA finals, tying the record for the second most in program history.
En route to the season-ending MAC and NCAA championships, CMU finished sixth of 34 teams in the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational, then placed 11th of 42 in another rugged December test, the Midlands Championships at Northwestern.
Among CMU’s dual victories was a 19-18 thriller over Michigan at CMU’s McGuirk Arena. The Chippewas entered the meet ranked 17th, while Michigan was ranked 10th. Of the Chippewas’ three dual losses, one came by one point, 17-16, to Northern Iowa on a criteria tie-breaker, and another came by two points, 19-17, at Wisconsin.
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 305-132-7 overall, a .687 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 highly 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 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.), sharing the latter with Minnesota's 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 Borrelli’s 26 seasons.
Borrelli has coached one national champion, 40 All-Americans, eight MAC Wrestler of the Year honorees, 81 MAC champions, 144 national qualifiers, 13 NWCA All-Academic individuals, 53 Academic All-MAC first team selections, 10 MAC Freshman of the Year selections, 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 16 of the past 18 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 for five seasons. He compiled a 46-25-1 record and led the Lakers to five top-20 finishes in the NCAA Division II Championships 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. In five seasons at Lake Superior State, Borrelli produced 17 All-Americans, 26 Division II national qualifiers, and two 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 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 10th season as the head wrestling coach at Stanford University.