Wrestling head coach entered into NWCA Hall of Fame
When Tom Borrelli took over as Central Michigan’s wrestling coach in 1992, the first hand-held cellphone was released to the public that year.
Twenty-six years later, Borrelli has cemented CMU wrestling as a dominant Division I program.
The CMU wrestling team currently ranks as No. 17 in the country and owns a 6-4 dual meet record this season.
Borrelli recieved a text message from former CMU wrestler and current Detroit Catholic Central head coach Mitch Hancock, who was informing his college coach of some major news.
Borrelli was selected for the National Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“I didn’t know what he was talking about,” Borrelli said. “He texted me saying ‘congratulations,' and I said ‘what?'"
Borrelli will be inducted into the 2018 Class on May 20 as part of a ceremony in Ann Arbor at Weber’s Inn.
The soon-to-be Hall of Famer led the Chippewas to 13 Mid-American Conference regular season titles and 14 tournament titles, including 11 straight from 2002-2012.
In Borrelli's 26 seasons as head coach, CMU has 40 All-Americans, 85 individual MAC Champions, eight MAC Wrestlers of the Year, three national runner-ups and one national champion.
He was presented with the National Wrestling Coaches Association Bob Bubb Coaching Excellence Award at the 2004 NCAA Championships, an award given annually to one coach in recognition of his contribution to the sport.
Borrelli sports a 316-137-7 overall dual meet record. His 0.686 winning percentage is third-highest in school history.
Borrelli credited his induction to the people he’s worked with throughout his career.
“For me, personally, it means I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really special people,” Borrelli said. “Athletes, administrators, coaches and assistant coaches have given me the opportunity to be successful. I really appreciate that.”
Ben Bennett, a former four-time All-American and current assistant coach at CMU, feels the honor is well deserved.
“It’s more than just about wrestling for him,” Bennett said. “You know he cares about you and he’s trying to help you in wrestling and trying to help you in life. I think people realize that and they see that in him.”
Many of Borrelli’s former wrestlers have moved on to coach their own teams or keep wrestling.
Former three time All-American Jarod Trice trains as Mixed Martial Arts fighter, currently signed with Bellator. Trice hold a 2-0 record as a heavyweight, last fighting in January 2017.
Hancock and former All-American Bubba Gritter coach at the high school level in Michigan.
Borrelli’s lone national champion, Casey Cunningham, is the assistant head coach at Penn State, which has won seven of the last eight national titles.
Former national runner-up Wynn Michalek is in his second season as an assistant at Michigan State.
None of the above share a bond compared to former MAC Champion and current Stanford head coach Jason Borrelli, Tom’s son.
Jason is excited for his dad’s recognition for his impact on and off the mat.
“He’s a humble guy," Jason said. "He doesn’t coach for (the accolades), he coaches to have an impact on the sport of wrestling, an impact on an athletic program and on the student athletes. He’s honored, but he’s so humble that it’s hard to get (a reaction) out of him.”