Colin Johnston

Colin Johnston

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Colin Johnston, who won a PIAA championship at Canon-McMillan High School, is the new head wrestling coach at Fairmont State University, the school announced Wednesday.

Johnston, a native of Eighty Four, spent the past two years as head coach at Pitt-Bradford. He replaces Chris Freije, who resigned earlier this fall to pursue other opportunities in collegiate wrestling.

Fairmont State will be entering its second season of wrestling at the NCAA Division II level.

Johnston earned numerous honors as a high school wrestler at Canon-McMillan. He was a member of four WPIAL championship teams and had three top-3 finishes at the PIAA Championships from 2006 to 2008. He won the state Class AAA title at 112 pounds as a sophomore, finished runner-up at 125 pounds as a junior and placed third at 135 pounds in his senior season. In 2008, he was selected to wrestle in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic.

Johnston was a standout wrestler at West Virginia University and has coaching experience at multiple levels of college wrestling. Johnston was inducted into the Southwest Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Colin and his family to Fairmont and look forward to his leadership for our wrestling program,” Fairmont State athletic director Greg Bamberger said. “Colin is a young, energetic coach that has a great vision for our young program.

“Colin brings experience from multiple levels of collegiate wrestling and will be able to relate to and lead our student-athletes based on the experiences he has had as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach.”

At West Virginia, Johnston was a team captain in 2013 and 2014. He was a 2014 NCAA qualifier in the 141-pound weight class with an overall record of 28-10, including a 16-2 dual record and a 4-4 mark against ranked opponents.

“I am grateful and very honored to take over the head wrestling coach position at Fairmont State University,” Johnston said. “I truly feel that Fairmont State is a unique place where we can be successful right away.

“West Virginia has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the sport of wrestling and I want to keep the local talented wrestlers in the region. I want to thank Greg Bamberger and the selection committee for giving me this outstanding opportunity. I am eager to bring an immediate impact to the wrestling program at Fairmont State University.”

Johnston became head coach at Pitt-Bradford after serving as assistant coach at Davidson from 2015-2017. From November 2015 to February 2016, Johnston was Davidson’s interim head coach.

Johnston has a Bachelor’s Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies in 2014 from West Virginia and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sport Management/Intercollegiate Athletics Administration studies at California University.

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