Dax Charles enters his 10th season as CSU-Pueblo's head wrestling coach and is coming off 2017 RMAC Coach of the Year honors. The ThunderWolves captured their seventh RMAC Championship in program history last season.
Taking the reins of a CSU-Pueblo program that had lied dormant after an eight-year hiatus, Charles was named head coach for the 2008-09 season and was tasked to lead the program back to lofty heights.
Nine years into his tenure, Charles has coached one national champion (125-pounder Jesse Hillhouse in 2013), 11 All-Americans (Patrick Carey in 2011, Hillhouse and Ray Hall in 2013, Hall and Trevor Grant in 2014, JaCobi Jones in 2015, Jones, Tarrence Williams and Jacob Mitchell in 2016, Jones and JaVaughn Perkins in 2017), three regional champions (149-pounder Louie DeSantis in 2010, heavyweight Mitchell in 2016 and 141-pounder PT Garcia in 2017), two RMAC Tournament champions (Jones, twice, at 157 in 2016 and at 165 in 2017) and 20 national qualifiers.
The ThunderWolves sent four wrestlers to the 2017 NCAA National Championships and returned with two All-Americans and finished 22nd. In his first season with the Pack, Perkins finished fourth, while Jones was crowned All-American for the third time in his career after an eighth-place finish. PT Garcia was the Super Region Four Champion at 141 and Jones was the RMAC Champion for the second straight season. The Pack won the RMAC Championship and had nine wrestlers finish fifth or better. The ThunderWolves posted an 11-5 dual record, which included five victories over nationally ranked opponents. CSU-Pueblo earned its highest national ranking during the regular season at No. 13 on Jan. 20.
In 2015-16, the Pack finished 12th at the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championships and raised the hand of three All-Americans. The team ranking was the best since the program re-start in 2008 (previous best was fifth in 2001). The three All-Americans was also a program-best since 2008 (six in 2001).
In 2013, the Pack crowned their first national champion since 1999 when Jesse Hillhouse won at 125. CSU-Pueblo sent four wrestlers to the championships that season and the team finished 13th.
The ThunderWolves sent three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in 2010, just two seasons into the restart.
Additionally, he was the driving force behind CSU-Pueblo's hosting of the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championships at Massari Arena and is on the NCAA Division II Wrestling Committee.
Charles wrestled at USC from 1991-94. He became the school's first NCAA Division II national champion when he won the crown at 150 pounds in 1992. Charles also was a three-time All-American at USC in 1991, '92 and '94 and an academic All-American in 1994.
Charles also served as an assistant wrestling coach at USC under Doug Moses from 1994-2001. Moses started USC's program in the 1982-83 season and was the team's head coach until May of 2001 when the program was cut. During Charles' time as assistant coach, the USC wrestling program produced two national champions and 17 all-Americans.
Following his wrestling career, Charles was inducted into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012. He is also a 2015 inductee in the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame.
Charles received a bachelor's degree in recreation from CSU-Pueblo in 1994. He also received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix in 2005.
Charles and his wife, Kim, have two children: daughters Skylar and Molly Jo. Charles' wife, the former Kim Lutgen, played basketball at CSU-Pueblo before graduating from the school in 1997.