Jake Stevenson was named the Mustangs' head coach on July 27, 2012, returning to the campus where he acheived greateness as a competitor.
Stevenson, who was the Mustangs’ assistant coach during the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 campaigns, returned to Morningside after a one-year absence. He was the head coach of the Wayne State College Wrestling Club in Wayne, Neb., for the 2011-12 academic year. Aside from his coaching duties at Wayne State, Stevenson was employed at Sand Creek Post and Beam in Wayne and was project manager for its Barn Kings division.
Stevenson is the most decorated wrestler in Morningside history as a four-time NAIA All-American and the college’s only NAIA National Champion. He posted a 130-25 record during his career for the most wins in school history. Stevenson captured the 2007 NAIA 184 lb. National Championship when he won a 3-1 decision against No. 1-ranked Joffre Lander of Embry-Riddle University in the title bout to cap a junior season where he had a record of 23-1. Stevenson won his final 11 matches of the season after he returned from a broken jaw he suffered against Austin Hayes of Buena Vista University on Nov. 29, 2006. Stevenson defaulted in that match for his only loss of the season.
He earned All-America honors with fourth place finishes in the 174 lb. division at the NAIA National Championships as both a freshman and sophomore and earned All-America honors for the fourth time with a third place finish at 184 lbs. as a senior. Stevenson had a 45-8 record as a sophomore in 2005-06 to set a Morningside single-season record for victories.
Stevenson was named the Mustangs’ Most Valuable Wrestler after each of his four seasons with the team. He was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s (NWCA) NAIA All-Academic Team three times and was a NAIA “Champions of Character” award recipient.
Stevenson, a native of Albion, Neb., is a 2004 graduate of Boone Central High School, where he posted a 96-43 career record and was a three-time state tournament qualifier. He had a 32-4 record as a senior en route to a third place finish in the Class B 171 lb. division at the state tournament. Stevenson’s victories that season included two triumphs against Nebraska Class C state champion Caleb Mitchell of Norfolk Catholic and a win against Class D state champion Steven Dent of Mullen. Stevenson had a 31-8 record and placed fourth in the Class B 152 lb. division of the state tourney as a junior.
Stevenson graduated from Morningside in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Wayne State in 2010.
Chris Utesch is in his first season as the Mustangs' assistant coach.
Utesch is no stranger to Morningside wrestling. He was one of the most successful competitors in the program's history from 2005-09 when he compiled a 101-40 career record for the fourth highest victory total in school history. Utesch was a four-time NAIA national qualifier.
As a senior, Utesch was the 2009 GPAC 133 lb. champion. Utesch earned first-team All-GPAC honors as a senior and was a second-team All-GPAC selection as a junior and sophomore.
Utesch came to Morningside following a brilliant prep career at Akron-Westfield High School, where he graduated as the Westerners' all-time victory leader with a career record of 161-10. As a junior, Utesch was Iowa's Class A 125 lb. state champion with an undefeated 41-0 record. He placed sixth at the state tournament as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore, and third as a senior to become the first four-time state tournament placewinner in Akron-Westfield history.