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Wrestling Coaching Staff
JohnMark Bentley
Head Coach

JohnMark Bentley enters his ninth season as head coach of the Mountaineers after joining the program as assistant coach in 2006.

Bentley is coming off a historic year for the Mountaineers as the program received its highest national ranking in history, coming in at No. 23 in the USA Today/NWCA poll at the end of the season after having knocked off nationally-ranked Duke at home. The notable season ended with a Southern Conference regular season championship and SoCon Tournament championship, ending a four-year drought. After a 12-4 finish, Bentley was named the SoCon Coach of the Year for guiding the club to the memorable finish and for guiding heavyweight Denzel Dejournette to a SoCon Wrestler of the Year honor.

In the 2014-15 season, Bentley coached the Mountaineers to a second-place finish in both the regular season and the Southern Conference Tournament. For the third consecutive year, Bentley had multiple wreslters advance to the NCAA Championships. Dominic Parisi made his third NCAA appearance while Dejournette made their first.

Bentley was named 2015 Co-SoCon Coach of the Year after guiding the Apps to a 9-8 finish with a 6-1 SoCon mark. The Apps had two all-SoCon wrestlers in Nick Kee and Denzel Dejournette. Kee was named Freshman of the Year and joined Forrest Przybysz on the all-freshmen team.

Bentley saw two wrestlers go to the NCAA championships in 2014 as SoCon champions. Parisi won the 125-pound weight class and Dylan Cottrell, 2014 SoCon Freshman of the Year, won at 149 pounds.

Coming off of a SoCon title in 2012, Bentley led the Mountaineers to an 8-6 overall mark and a 5-2 record within the conference – good for a second-place regular season finish. Both Dominic Parisi and Zack Strickland advanced to the 2013 NCAA Wrestling championships as at-large selections for their seasons at 125 and 165 pounds, respectively.

Bentley led the Mountaineers to the 2012 Southern Conference Championship with a 6-0 record. The squad also finished 21st place at the NCAA tournament. Because of his efforts, Bentley with was named the 2012 SoCon Coach of the Year and finished third in the voting for NCAA National Coach of the Year in 2012.

In each of his first two seasons as head coach, Bentley had multiple wrestlers win Southern Conference titles and advance to the national championships. Tony Gravely, Dylan Temple and Austin Trotman were SoCon champions in 2010, while Trotman and Kyle Blevins won their classes in 2011.

Bentley was an assistant coach for two seasons at App State before being named associate head coach in 2008. Before ascending to the helm of the program, Bentley assisted 2009 title-winner Frank Celorrio and two-time SoCon champion Scott Ervin, who graduated as App State’s career leader in wins with 114.

Since 2006, two Mountaineers have received the league’s Wrestler of the Year honors: Ervin in 2008 and Trotman in 2010. Trotman also received Freshman of the Year accolades in 2008, and both Ervin and Blevins were recognized as the SoCon Tournament Outstanding Wrestler during Bentley’s coaching tenure.

Coach Bentley has seen the Black and Gold capture 17 SoCon Wrestler of the Week awards and his wrestlers have captured 12 spots on all-SoCon teams and another eight slots on the all-Freshman team.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Bentley came to Appalachian with vast experience as a coach and wrestler. At North Carolina, Bentley was a three-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion and was twice named team MVP. He was the 2001 ACC Wrestler of the Year and a 2000 University Nationals Freestyle All-American. He ranks ninth in UNC single-season win percentage with a mark of .919 after he went 31-2 in 2000-01.

He is sixth all-time with an .851 career winning percentage at Carolina and finished with 92 career wins. He was a three-year member of the UNC Student-Athletic Council and earned a degree in communications in 2001. In 2008, he earned a masters degree in school administration from App State.

He began his career as the top assistant at Davidson College in 2002-03. From 2003-2006, he was head coach at Watauga High School in Boone, leading the Pioneers to a third-place finish at the North Carolina State Championships with three individual state titlists in 2006.

A three-sport athlete at Avery High School in nearby Newland, N.C., Bentley was the second wrestler in North Carolina high school history to win four state championships. He finished his high school career with a perfect 144-0 record, capped by a National Championship in 1997.

Bentley’s brother, Matthew, wrestled at Appalachian from 1992-96.

He and his wife, Aaron, reside in Seven Devils, N.C. with their daughter, Katie Elizabeth and son, Luke Franklin.

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Position: Head Coach
Year: Freshman
Alma Mater: North Carolina
Graduating Year: 2001
Eligibility: Freshman
Email: bentleyjmo@appstate.edu
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