Mike Morin, two-time NCAA Division III All-American at the University of Southern Maine and assistant wrestling coach at the school for the past five years, has been promoted to head up the Huskies mat program, the amateur wrestling website d3wrestle.com reported Thursday. Morin replaces Joe Pistone who stepped down this spring to become head wrestling coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, a NCWA (National College Wrestling Association) program.
As d3wrestle.com pointed out in its report, Morin is the all-time wins leader at Southern Maine, and the only wrestler from Maine to have become an NCAA All-American at a college in Maine. Described as “the most decorated wrestler in Huskies’ history”, Morin was a three-time NCAA D3 championships qualifier, earning All-American honors in 2009 and 2010, becoming USM’s first wrestling All-American. The two-time team captain (2009, 2010) remains the program’s all-time leader in wins, with a 133-21 overall record for a .863 winning percentage. In addition to his on-the-mat prowess, Morin was a two-time NWCA Division III Wrestling Scholar All-American (2009, 2010) and a three-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete. He graduated from Southern Maine in 2010 with a degree in Business Administration.
Since graduation, Morin has served as assistant wrestling coach for the Huskies. Recently named the 2015 New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Assistant Coach of the Year, Morin has helped develop and recruit several of the USM’s top performers over the last five seasons, including two-time All-Northeast Region champion Jonathan Deupree (Ozona, Fla./Countryside) and Elite 89 winner Daniel Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine).
“Mike Morin is the perfect choice to be our next head coach and to take on the leadership of the USM wrestling program,” said Al Bean, the school’s director of athletics. “First, he is an exceptional young man and has gained valuable experience as an assistant coach the past couple of years. Mike was an All-American, perhaps the best wrestler to ever wear a USM singlet, qualified as a Scholar All-American and is a great role model for our team members. He will be an excellent motivator and leader and has the benefit of having long-time assistant coach Julio Santiago returning as associate head coach. Mike and Julio will continue to work together to train and field one of New England’s most competitive wrestling teams and will challenge our student-athletes to be the very best they can be on the mat, in the classroom and in the community. My thanks to Joe Pistone for his fine work as head coach and best wishes to him as he moves on to build the program at Florida Gulf Coast.”
Pistone, former Huskies head coach, cast his vote of confidence that his protégé will be taking the helm, saying, “I am extremely excited that Coach Morin has been named the next Head Wresting coach of the USM program. After being involved as a student-athlete and assistant coach for nearly a decade, he is the most fit to carry on the academic and athletic excellence that the USM Wrestling program has been known for since its inception in 1997. With quality returners, a strong incoming recruiting class, a competitive schedule and a revamp in the coaching staff, it is a very exciting time for the University of Southern Maine Wrestling program. I am confident that Coach Morin’s staff and leadership will bring the program to new and exciting heights.”
“I’m very excited for this opportunity and the chance to continue working with our student athletes,” said Morin. “As a former University of Southern Maine student-athlete, and assistant coach for the last five years, I am very familiar with both the university and its wrestling program and the hard work and dedication needed to achieve on the mat and in the classroom. Coach Pistone has done a great job building this program, and I look forward to taking over for him.”
Describing itself at its website as “Maine’s metropolitan university,” University of Southern Maine has approximately 9,000 students on three campuses. Some wrestling fans may remember the InterMat story of Rick Chipman, the USM wrestler who returned to the mat for the Huskies at age 44 a couple years ago.