After unparalleled success at the high school level, former Great Bridge High School head coach Steve Martin took his talent for molding wrestlers into elite athletes to Old Dominion University. Martin won 12 Virginia Group AAA State Championships at Great Bridge and his team was nationally ranked every single year during those state championship runs. Martin’s 2008-09 ODU squad cracked the Top Twenty at the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The 08-09 squad produced 3 Academic All-Americans and a National Finalist in Ryan Williams at 141 lbs. The dual meet year was a success as the Monarchs earned their highest ranking ever at #15. The 09-10 squad was again ranked in the Top Twenty in the Nation. Chris Brown achieved All-American status and became Steve Martin’s 3rd All-American in 3 years. The 2010-11 campaign saw Martin and the Monarchs produce their fourth-straight All-American, as James Nicholson earned All-American honors for the second time in his career, becoming the first Monarch since Buddy Lee to be a two-time All-American. In 2011-12, Martin led ODU back into the Top 25 en route to capturing school record seven qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. In 2012-13, the Monarchs were in the Top 25 as a team. 4 Monarchs qualified for the NCAA Championship, while Freshman Chris Mecate & Billy Curling captured the CAA Championships. The Monarchs won the regular season CAA Title. The 2013-14 season gave the Monarchs six NCAA Qualifiers. ODU's freshmen Brandon Jeske and Jack Dechow reached the NCAA's for the first time in their career, Dechow won the MAC Championship and became an All-American after finishing in 4th place at the NCAA's. Chris Mecate, Alexander Richardson and Billy Curling all qualified at the NCAA's for their second straight season. ODU's Tristan Warner qualified for the second time in three years at the NCAA's and won the Elite 89 Award, given to a participant who has the highest GPA in the NCAA Championship. Kevin Beazley also qualified for the second-straight year for the Junior World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia after winning the Greco-Roman International
In 2014-15, he led ODU to a second-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championship and tied the program record with seven NCAA qualifiers. Chris Mecate and Alexander Richardson each earned All-American honors, marking the first time since 1991 that two ODU wrestlers have achieved that feat in the same season. Tristan Warner was the recipient of the NCAA’s Elite 89 award for the second consecutive season, becoming just the second division I wrestler to earn the award in back-to-back seasons. Throughout the season, the Monarchs defeated five top-25 teams and were consistently ranked in all seven team polls. ODU finished in 22nd place at the national tournament and closed out the season ranked No. 22 in the NWCA Coaches Poll.
In 2015-16 Martin led Chris Mecate to a fifth-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Championships to become ODU's first-ever back-to-back DI All-American and the first back-to-back All-American since Mike McCarthy in 1975-76. Martin's Monarchs reeled in their third-straight top-25 team finish at NCAAs in 2016 and captured their 500th program dual meet win with a thrilling 19-18 criteria victory over Northern Illinois on Feb. 19. With that victory, Martin became the second all-time winningest coach in Old Dominion history. In the classroom, Martin led four wrestlers to the MAC All-Academic Team and saw Jack Dechow earn MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete credentials. Austin Coburn also received a MAC Presidential Award.
In 2016-17 Martin led the Monarchs to a fourth-place finish at MAC Championships. Jack Dechow was crowned MAC Champion for the third time under Martin. At the 2017 NCAA Championship, Martin's Monarchs fell right outside of a top-25 finish, finishing 26th. Kevin Beazley finished eighth at the NCAA Championships, making that at least one All-American in the last four seasons. Entering his 14th year heading the Monarchs, Martin has compiled a 144-102-3 career record
With a high school record of 305-15-1, Martin was a national finalist for the National High School Coach of the Year twice. Martin has produced 40 State Champions, 37 All-Americans and seven National Champions at the high school level and has also produced a 2000 NCAA Champion Carl Perry, who won his title at the University of Illinois. A Virginia native and three-time high school State Champion at Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, Martin was a 1989 NCAA All-American at the University of Iowa under legendary wrestling coach Dan Gable. He was also a Midlands Champion and a 1988 Olympic Trials qualifier. Martin has instituted his Granby Style at Old Dominion and over the last 2 years his recruited classes have been ranked in the top ten. His father, Billy Martin, was named America’s #1 High School Wrestling Coach according to the book, “Americas Greatest Coaches.”
James Nicholson, a product of the Granby School of Wrestling, was Old Dominion’s first two-time All-American since 1982 and a four-time national qualifier. He is one of three wrestlers to win four CAA Conference titles. He was the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2008 and CAA Wrestler of the Year in 2011. He was a two-time participant in the NWCA All-Star Classic. He is decorated with many awards, one of which he is most proud of is the Thomas L. Scott Memorial Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding athlete at Old Dominion University presented by the Norfolk Sports Club. Not only was he an exceptional wrestler, but also excelled in his academics and strived to be a mentor to younger athletes. He was a four-time NWCA All-Academic Team member. He double majored in finance and marketing and graduated in 2011 with a cumulative GPA of 3.38. He has been technician for the Granby School of Wrestling since 2007. He is from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, where he won a state championship and was a two-time Asics/Vaughan Junior All-American. James is a master teacher and has been a coach since 2007.
All of our Coaches are master teachers. The majority of our coaches coach at the high school level in championship programs. The remaining portion of our coaches are competing in college at Old Dominion University or wrestle for several Division I Universities throughout the nation. All are excellent teachers and bring a wealth of knowledge for you to learn.