App State head coach Bentley's contract extended through 2028-29 season

BOONE, N.C. -- App State Wrestling head coach JohnMark Bentley has received a contract extension through the 2028-29 season, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Tuesday after it was approved by Interim Chancellor Heather Norris and the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees.

“App State Wrestling has been a championship program for many years under JohnMark's leadership, and we look forward to that continuing and elevating for years to come,” Gillin said.

Named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year seven times in his first 15 seasons as head coach, Bentley was named a national coach of the year finalist for the fourth time earlier this year, when he helped lead the Mountaineers to a second straight SoCon Championship tournament title and a final ranking of No. 24 in the national dual-team poll.

With a career record of 144-79-1 in 15 seasons, including an 86-16 record in SoCon duals, Bentley has led App State to a combined 11 SoCon championships. The Mountaineers have won six regular-season titles and four tournament titles in the last nine years alone.

“I am extremely grateful for all the support and confidence that the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Norris and Doug Gillin have shown in me,” Bentley said. “It is an honor to be able to lead this program and continue building something special in Boone. I am excited for the challenges and opportunities ahead and am thankful to continue leading App State Wrestling.”

While attracting some of the nation's top teams to Boone, the Mountaineers have consistently wrestled in front of standing-room-only crowds at Varsity Gym. In the last nine seasons, Bentley's program has posted 12 victories against teams from Power Five leagues.

App State's 66-6 conference record over the last decade ranks No. 3 among the best league records in Division I wrestling, and the program has a national-best 17 dual shutouts since the calendar flipped to 2020. The Mountaineers are one of just four mid-major programs to finish each of the last two dual seasons ranked in the top 25 of the NWCA Coaches Poll.

There's also been plenty of individual success, as App State produced five NCAA Championship qualifiers in 2024, bringing the total to 29 over the last five seasons and 61 in Bentley's 15 seasons as head coach. He has overseen five All-America finishes, and three App State wrestlers were among the last 16 wrestlers competing in their respective brackets at the 2024 NCAA Championships.

There have been 38 scholar All-Americans with NWCA All-Academic recognition, including six recipients following the 2023-24 season.

A native of nearby Newland, N.C., Bentley also was named a national coach of the year finalist in 2022, 2018 and 2012.