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Head Coach

Dave Malecek begins his 11th season as UW-La Crosse's head wrestling coach in 2016-17.  He also serves as an instructor in the exercise and sport science department.

Malecek has led the Eagles to top-four finishes at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Championships in seven of his 10 seasons.  UWL placed second in 2008 and 2010, third in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and fourth in 2012 and 2013.

The Eagles finished sixth in 2016 as three wrestlers earned NCAA III All-America honors with Dustin Weinmann placing third (133-pounds), Tyler Schneider fourth (174) and Austin Cook (184) sixth.  Ryan Weinmann (125) and Clay Broze (285) also qualified for the 2016 NCAA III Championships.

Malecek was selected the 2015 NCAA III Midwest Region Head Coach of the Year after UWL placed third at the regional championships.  He was also named the 2007 NCAA Rookie Coach of the Year and 2010 Coach of the Year. 

He has coached 10 NCAA Division III champions and had 45 wrestlers earn All-America honors in 10 seasons at UWL.

Three wrestlers earned 2015 NCAA III All-America honors, including Schneider (165) who placed second with Eric Twohey (197) finishing third and Richard Carlson (184) sixth. Twohey was named to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-American® First Team after being a second team choice in 2013-14.

UWL had two wrestlers earn All-America honors in 2014 with Jake Minske placing sixth (285) and Twohey eighth (184).  Four wrestlers earned All-America honors in 2013, including Adam Sheley who captured the 141-pound title.  Billy Mayer (third at 285-pounds); Izzy Balsiger (fourth at 125) and Kevin O'Brien (fifth at 174) also earned All-America awards.  Sheley (first team) and O'Brien (third team) were also named to the 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-American® Team.

Five wrestlers earned NCAA Division III All-America honors at the national meet hosted by UW-La Crosse in 2011 and 2012.  In 2011, Bebeto Yewah (141-pounds) captured his second straight national crown while Albie McKinney (second at 125); Mike Schmitz (third at 174); Sheley (fifth at 133) and Mayer (sixth at 285) also earned All-America awards.  In the 2012 national championships, Yewah (141) placed second while Schmitz (174) was third, O'Brien (165) fourth; Mayer (285) fifth and Sheley (133) sixth.

The Eagles crowned three individual champions at the 2010 national meet, including Yewah (133-pounds), Schmitz (174) and Dan Laurent (285).  UWL was the only team to win multiple individual titles in 2010.  Along with the three national champions, Matt Mauseth (third at 149); Andy Moore (fourth at 197) and Cory Ferguson (eighth at 165) earned All-America honors.

Malecek has guided UWL to five Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) titles and has been selected the Mertz Mortorelli WIAC Coach of the Year six times in his career (2007-2011, 2015).  The Eagles have secured seven WIAC Wrestler of the Year Awards under Malecek and six WIAC John Peterson Wrestler of the Meet Awards at the league championships.  A total of 44 individual conference champions have been earned under Malecek.

UWL is 155-36-1 (.810) in duals under Malecek.

Seven wrestlers have garnered the WIAC Max Sparger Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in Malecek's first 10 seasons while 51 have been named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Academic Team.

Malecek served as the head assistant coach at Wartburg College (Iowa) from 2000 to 2006, helping lead the Knights to three NCAA Division III Championships (2003, 2004, 2006).  He was selected the NCAA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year in 2006.  Wartburg also won Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) titles every season while Malecek was an assistant coach.  The Knights had 11 national champions and 47 All-America selections since Malecek begin coaching in 2000.

Malecek was also Wartburg’s Wrestling Recruiting Coordinator, Summer Wrestling Camp Director and handled the upper weight classes for the Knights.

A four-time NCAA Division I qualifier at Northern Iowa University (1991-94), Malecek earned All-America accolades in 1994 with a fourth-place finish at 177-pounds.  He served as the Panthers’ team captain in 1993 and 1994 and ranks seventh in career victories at Northern Iowa.  Malecek earned his bachelor’s (1994) and master’s (2005) degrees from Northern Iowa.

He was a participant in the United States’ Olympic Wrestling Trials in 1992 and 1996.  Malecek was also a two-time state champion at Osage (Iowa) High School.

Malecek spent two years as head coach at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he recorded 31 dual victories.  Xavier also had 10 state qualifiers and one state champion under Malecek’s guidance.

Along with his coaching responsibilities at Wartburg (Iowa), Malecek served as an instructor in the physical education department.  He has also taught at Wright Elementary School in Cedar Rapids (1997-2000) and in the Aurelia, Iowa Schools (1994-96).


Head Assistant Coach

Ross Needham begins his seventh season as an assistant wrestling coach at UW-La Crosse in 2016-17, including his fifth as the head assistant coach.  He also serves as the equipment manager for intercollegiate athletics.

Needham was named the 2014-15 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year after helping lead UWL to a third-place finish in the regional championship.  The Eagles advanced five wrestlers to the NCAA Division III Championships with two earning regional titles. 

UWL has finished in the top-eight in four of the last six years at the national championships, placing third in 2010-11 and fourth in 2011-12 and 2012-13.  The Eagles were sixth in 2015-16 and eighth in 2014-15.  A total of 22 wrestlers have earned NCAA III All-America honors in the last six seasons.

Needham came to UWL after serving as the head wrestling coach at Holmen (Wis.) High School from 2007-10.  The Vikings went 30-11 in duals under Needham and advanced to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) State Tournament in 2010.  Holmen had eight state qualifiers during Needham’s tenure.

He also taught math and coached football at Holmen Middle School.

A 2007 graduate of UWL with a bachelor’s degree in elementary and middle level education and minor in mathematics, Needham earned two NCAA III All-America wrestling honors for the Eagles.  He placed third in 2006 and fourth in 2007 at 157-pounds.  Needham was also a national qualifier in 2005.

He won three 157-pound titles at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championships (2005, 2006, 2007) and finished his career with a record of 109-41.  Needham is tied for 12th in school history in victories.

Named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Academic All-America Team four times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Needham was a state champion at Marshfield (Wis.) High School.


Assistant Coach

Josh Passe begins his eighth year as an assistant coach at UW-La Crosse in 2016-17.

A four-year letter winner for the Eagles, Passe compiled a career record of 28-35 while wrestling at 184 and 197-pounds.

He went 8-10 at 197-pounds as a senior in 2006-07.


Graduate Assistant Coach

Zach Cook begins his fourth season as an assistant wrestling coach at UW-La Crosse in 2016-17.  He is also in his second year serving as an intern in the UWL Intercollegiate Athletics Department.

Originally from Lindsborg, Kansas, Cook graduated from Smoky Valley High School in 2010.

He earned his bachelor's degree in business finance from UWL in 2014 and master's in sport administration in 2015.


Graduate Assistant Coach



Graduate Assistant Coach