MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —West Virginia University athletics director Oliver Luck has opted not to renew wrestling coach Craig Turnbull’s contract next season.

Turnbull, the seventh-winningest active coach in the NCAA with 287 dual meet victories, was a four-time Eastern Wrestling League coach of the year who oversaw five individual national champions, 26 of the program’s 29 All-Americans, 42 EWL champions and more than 160 NCAA championships qualifiers.

Luck said a national search for a new wrestling coach at WVU will begin immediately.

“Craig has spent the last 36 years as the head of the Mountaineer wrestling program, and we appreciate his many years of service to West Virginia University,” Luck said. “He took over at the helm of the WVU wrestling program in 1979 after serving as an assistant coach here under Frank Liechti, coaching hundreds of Mountaineer wrestlers along the way. We wish him the best.”

Turnbull guided the Mountaineers to a 287-214-9 career record. This season, the Mountaineers finished 11-7 overall record and 0-3 in the Big 12.

His teams enjoyed a pinnacle in the 1990 and 1991 seasons, combining for a 25-6 record and winning back-to-back EWL dual meet crowns. The Mountaineers finished sixth at the 1991 NCAA championships and in eighth place at the 1991 national dual meet championships. That stretch was highlighted by Scott Collins winning the 142-pound national championship and Mark Banks earning back-to-back All-American honors.

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Comments

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  • Steve Perroots

    I was wrestling at WVU when Craig first came on board as the assistant coach, and I immediately knew WVU had just aquired a major talent (plus he was a smaller guy, which was a big plus for our lighter weight guys). Since then I have been proud to say I wrestled under him, as his successful tenure at WVU produced many winning seasons. Rather than dwell on how he left (which I disagree with), I want to sincerely thank him for all he did for our school and our sport while there; to me he will always be a Mountaineer!

  • Bob1009

    Glad he is gone! Now let's recruit some instate boys.

  • wrestling fan

    I am speaking with knowledge and experience of the wrestling program, the best move was to change the coaching of the wrestling team. Mr. Turnbull should have retired years ago. He had no care, concern, or true coaching for the wrestlers for many years. Maybe he did early in his career but he definitely has not been able to provide any benefits to the wrestlers for years. He had success when he had Zeke Jones there but that was too long ago. Mr. Turnbull has not provided guidance for years. Maybe WVU can move from being known in the wrestling community as "the graveyard of good wrestlers" to actually being able to produce better wrestlers.

  • Clarion Friend

    Shameful age discrimination. FYI Craig served under Fred Liechti not Frank.

  • Dale

    I believe the next wrestling Coach should be Ken Chertow !

  • WV1641

    Mr. Turnbull needs to contact all the other over 50 coaches fired by Luck, get the best legal team he can and sue The bigoted, arrogant school yard bully Oliver Luck into the stone ages. Ollie openly admitted on TV back in 2010 he was looking for younger coaches. Sorry bud you CAN'T do that. That's inviting a class action age discrimination lawsuit. And I hope it hits you like a wrecking ball and knocks you clear out of the state. Who needs you. Football and Basketball have declined a lot under your watch and I won't give another penny to WV athletics until you disappear.

  • wrestling fan

    Best thing that could ever happen to WVU at this time. Just go look at some of his interviews last couple of years as his teams stunk.

  • jay zoom

    BOBBY AND DANA -- look in the mirror --YOUR NEXT besides that I think Craig will be picking up some pocket change based on stories I have read. to bad OLLIE didn't get that TEXAS job we'd be better off.

  • Wrestling Fan

    He was great at instructing young men how to strategically roll around and grope other young men, in varied, precarious positions, he will be missed.

  • oh really

    seriously!!!! 1yr to retirement and you let him go? has nothing to do with contract...dedication has been his key..seems to be a trend now at wvu..don't get older or you will loose your job.bringing in younger coaches hasn' really given you the prestige you have wanted. some very good coaches have been let go and , lets see now..football didn't get any better..hmmm makes you wonder, doesn't it...

  • Joe Schmoe

    Before we jump to conclusions. We do not know what happened behind the scenes. It is possible OL gave him the chance to retire and he refused. There had to be some type of communication between Turnbull and OL.

  • Swat

    WVU has along history of being loyal to its coaches and athletes and this is one of those cases. 36 years is a life long commitment full of family and personal sacrifices of which Coach Turnbull has made. Most people just see things from their own eyes and never bother to consider the other side of the situation. I too was there at the beginning of Turnbull's career from '80 to '85. Our first season was in Stansbury Hall where we would have wrestle off's on an ice cold mat and we had to sit around the edge of the mat so other wrestlers wouldn't slam into concrete wall or heater vents. We were also the first team to move to the new facility and enjoy the rewards of what Turnbull and others built. I was a 4 year starter and like all the other wrestlers that came and went through that era, it was extremely tough to balance classes and wrestling year after year....but then only the strongest survive, right? College is a full time commitment for the athletes and coaches...think of all the holidays that were cut short because of the commitment to WVU wrestling...Turnbull also made those commitments for 36 years. Our teams did not always like the decisions Turnbull made but those decisions were not ours to make, nor was it any other wrestlers decision to make at any other time. Like it or not, college is what YOU make of it. If things didn't go your way when you were a part of WVU wrestling maybe you should blame yourself and not the man who made the tough decisions to put WVU in the position it is today in the world of college wrestling. The only thing Turnbull is to be blamed for, or given credit for, is building this program to what it is today. Don't give credit to Ollie (Luck), (by the way, we were at WVU when Ollie played FB for us and he was always such a great representation of Mountaineer commitment.), don't give credit to the assistant coaches and don't give credit to the wrestlers, the credit goes to the man in charge, the man who made all the decisions. Nicely done Craig Turnbull, you made some mistakes along the way, but in the long run, very few have accomplished what you have accomplished at the D1 level (the highest level there is) of college wrestling.

  • B

    There is a good reason that Texas didn't even look at Luck as their AD.

  • B

    Maybe Huggins and his countless assistants can chip in and help out this coach with expenses. I am still waiting for the budget for Huggins and all his assistants.