Newberry women’s wrestling hires new head coach

NEWBERRY, S.C. — No stranger to the women’s wrestling world, the Newberry College athletics department has announced the hiring of Donnie Stephens to lead the program as it opens it’s inaugural season in 2024.

“I’m super excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Newberry family,” said Stephens. “Building a program from the ground up is an exciting challenge and I am confident that we can create something special here in South Carolina. Newberry has a strong athletic and educational tradition and I look forward to joining the Pack.”

Stephens comes to Newberry after spending the past 10 years at the University of the Cumberlands where he served as the head coach for the women’s wrestling program. During his time with the Patriots he coached three NAIA national champions, multiple NAIA and WCWA All-Americans as well as the sixth place team at the NAIA National Championship. His teams have had a consistent presence in the top-10 of the national polls. Academically, his teams have been three time NWCA NAIA Academic Team Champions while posting the second most Academic All-Americans among NAIA schools in 2023.

“We are thrilled to have Coach Stephens serving as the inaugural head coach of our women’s wrestling program,” said athletic director Sean Johnson. “His experience and success gives instant credibility to what we are starting here at Newberry College.”

Concurrently with his time at Cumberlands, Stephens served as a coach with the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club where he provided coaching and training assistance to elite club members, maintaining a partnership with the Olympic Training Center, the Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) and elite level women’s wrestlers. Before making the move to Kentucky, Stephens was the coach and co-owner of Adrenaline Fitness and Combat Sports in Colorado where he supervised the gym’s operation while teaching wrestling and mixed martial arts classes.

“Coach Stephens brings in a pedigree of success that was exactly what we were looking for in our first women’s wrestling coach,” said senior associate athletic director Wayne Alexander. “His connections throughout the women’s wrestling world will be a true asset to building a program here at Newberry College and will put the Wolves on the path to success early in his tenure.”

Stephens got his start in the coaching world at West Covina High School where he served as the head wrestling coach for 18 years. During that time he captured 11 league titles, five CIF men’s titles and three California state women’s titles. He was also a coach for the Wolverines Wrestling Club during that time where he saw multiple wrestlers be named to the California national team.

Stephens has also coached in over 15 international events. He holds a bachelor’s of science in coaching from the University of the Cumberlands.

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