Dave Malecek begins his 13th season as UW-La Crosse's head wrestling coach in 2018-19. He also serves as an instructor in the exercise 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 12 seasons. UWL placed second in 2008 and 2010, third in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and fourth in 2012 and 2013.
The Eagles tied for 11th at the 2017 NCAA III Championships held at the La Crosse Center as Dustin Weinmann captured the national title at 141-pounds and Richard Carlson finished fifth at 174-pounds. UWL placed seventh at the 2018 NCAA III Championships with three wrestlers earning All-America honors. Wesley Schultz placed third at 197-pounds while Konrad Ernst was sixth at 285-pounds and Sawyer Massie sixth at 174-pounds.
UWL went 10-4 overall and 4-1 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in 2017-18. The Eagles captured the 2018 WIAC Championship, their second straight title. It was UWL's 17th league title in school history, tied for the most in WIAC history. Thirteen of 16 wrestlers placed in the 2018 conference championships, including four champions in Hayden Schlough (141), Mitch Hertel (165), Massie (174) and Ernst (285). Massie was named the John Peterson Wrestler of the Meet.
The Eagles finished 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the WIAC in 2016-17 under Malecek, recording their first undefeated dual season in school history and first undefeated conference season since 2011-12. UWL has placed second at the NCAA III Midwest Regional the last three years. Malecek was named the 2018 NCAA Division III Co-Upper Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
Malecek has been named the WIAC Mertz Mortoreilli Coach of the Year seven times in his career (2007-11, 2015, 2017). UWL also earned the WIAC Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2018.
The Eagles finished sixth at the 2016 NCAA III Championships as three wrestlers earned All-America honors with 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 D3wrestle.com Coach of the Year.
He has coached 11 NCAA Division III champions and had 50 wrestlers earn All-America honors in 12 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 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 UWL 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 seven Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) titles. The Eagles have secured eight WIAC Wrestler of the Year Awards under Malecek and eight WIAC John Peterson Wrestler of the Meet Awards at the league championships. A total of 52 individual conference champions have been earned under Malecek.
UWL is 174-40-1 (.812) in duals under Malecek.
Nine wrestlers have garnered the WIAC Max Sparger Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in Malecek's first 12 seasons while 62 have been named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Academic Team. Sean O'Neil was named to the 2017-18 Google Cloud NCAA Division III Academic All-America® At-Large First 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 ninth season as an assistant wrestling coach at UW-La Crosse in 2018-19, including his seventh as the head assistant coach. He also serves as an instructor in the exercise sport science department.
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 eight 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, seventh in 2017-18 and eighth in 2014-15. A total of 27 wrestlers have earned NCAA III All-America honors in the last eight 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.
Josh Passe begins his 10th year as an assistant coach at UW-La Crosse in 2018-19.
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 sixth season as an assistant wrestling coach at UW-La Crosse in 2018-19 and his second as the Eagles' recruiting coordinator.
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.