Dr. Vince Monseau Honored at Dedication

Current West Liberty Coach Mitch Smith (left) with Coach Vince Monseau

September 15, 2015
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. With numerous university officials and former athletes in attendance, legendary West Liberty University wrestling coach Dr. Vince Monseau and his family were guests of honor Saturday at dedication ceremonies for the newly-renovated Coach Vince Monseau Wrestling Room on the WLU campus.

"This is a well-deserved honor for Coach Monseau, who touched so many lives on and off the mat while he was building this program into a recognized national power," current Hilltopper head coach Mitch Smith said. "We officially started this project on May 1 and the fact that we were able to raise the funds and complete the renovations in such a short amount of time shows just how much support there is for this program."

Monseau, a 1962 Hilltopper alum who played football, ran track and wrestled during his undergraduate days, compiled an impressive 359-221-7 dual meet record while leading the WLU wrestling program from 1973 to 2004. He coached 72 NAIA and NCAA All-Americans, 34 Academic All-Americans and 6 individual national champions. His Hilltoppers posted 11 Top 10 finishes at the NAIA and NCAA Division II nationals and were national runners-up at the 1995 NAIA Championships.

The Hilltopper legend is one of the sport's most respected and honored individuals at both the regional and national levels. Over the years, Dr. Monseau has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and the West Liberty University Hall of Fame. A two-time NCAA Division II Southwest Regional Coach of the Year, he was recognized as a Bronze Level member coach by USA Wrestling in 1987 and was made a Lifetime Member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) in 2004. Closer to home, he was honored with the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference's "Mr. Mat Award" at the 1983 OVAC Wrestling Tournament.

Renovations for the newly-named Coach Monseau Wrestling Room included new mats and upgraded equipment throughout the facility. The program's storied tradition is in evidence everywhere you turn. A beautiful new plaque honoring the program's 88 Academic All-Americans is prominently displayed along with new wall boards listing every one of West Liberty's 90 NAIA and NCAA All-Americans. There is also a wall board honoring the program's Top 10 team finishes at the NAIA and NCAA Nationals next to a wall board listing the Hilltoppers' seven Top 10 finishes in the NCAA Division II All-Academic team rankings. Hanging from the ceiling is the crowning touch full-color photo banners depicting every one of West Liberty's eight national champions.

"Today is a historic day for our wrestling program and for Coach Monseau," Smith said. "I want to thank Dr. Monseau and his family along with our alumni, friends and their families. This project would not have been possible without their help. I'm proud to say that West Liberty wrestling is on the right track and has the right resources to return to its rightful place as one of the top programs in the nation."

Academics were a major focus for Dr. Monseau throughout his time at West Liberty and even now as he maintains contact with the sport he loves as wrestling coach at Magnolia (W.Va. High School. After graduating from WLU, Coach Monseau went on to earn his master's and doctoral degrees from West Virginia University.

In recognition of Dr. Monseau's commitment to academics, the university also announced the creation of an endowed scholarship in his name.

"We plan to continue the campaign to honor Coach Monseau in a special and lasting way for his many years of outstanding service by raising more funds to support an endowed scholarship fund for Hilltopper wrestling," said West Liberty Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jason Koegler. "We are grateful to Coach Monseau and his family for his years of hard work and dedication in this grueling sport. The tradition of excellence on the mat deserves this recognition."

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