JohnMark Bentley enters his fifth season as head coach of the Mountaineers after joining the program as assistant coach in 2006.
Bentley coaches the 2013-14 Mountaineers to a fourth-place regular season and tournament finish in the Southern Conference. For the second consecutive year, Bentley had two wrestlers advance to the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Both Dylan Cottrell and Dominic Parisi were individual SoCon Champions at 149 and 125 pounds, respectively, while also earned all-Conference.
Cottrell earned SoCon Freshman of the Year and was a two-time Wrestler of the Week for his efforts. Cottrell and Vito Pasone were named to the all-Freshman team.
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 ASU 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 ASU’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 13 SoCon Wrestler of the Week awards and his wrestlers have captured five spots on all-SoCon teams and another five slots on the all-Freshman honor roll.
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, when 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 ASU.
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.