The History of ThunderWolf Wrestling
NAIA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
NCAA DIVISION II NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
The wrestling program at University of Southern Colorado (USC changed its name to Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2003), had been one of the best in the conference, producing numerous national champions and all-Americans in its nearly twenty years of existence, spanning from 1983 to 2001, when the program was halted due to budget cutbacks.
Under Southern Colorado's only wrestling head coach in its history, Doug Moses, the program won six Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles, and consistently finished in the top 20 nationally. From 1983 to 1991, the program was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), finishing in the top ten nationally every year from 1985 to 1991, finishing as the national runner-up on two occasions.
In 1992, USC wrestling moved up to its current designation as a NCAA Division II program, and didn't miss a beat. That first season, USC finished fifth in the nation, featuring a national champion in 150-pounder, Dax Charles.
For every season until the program's conclusion in 2001, the ThunderWolves finished the season ranked in the top 30, including four top ten finishes, nationally in NCAA Division II.
The program has a rich history of individual champions, including eight NAIA national champions (Bryan Hawkins, Mike Guenther, Chuck Pipher three times, Andy Pipher, Mannie Garcia and Mark Villalobos), and four Division II national champions (Charles, Chris Currier, Trent Monlux and Jesse Hillhouse). Throughout the program's existence, 67 all-Americans had worn the Southern Colorado or CSU-Pueblo uniform, as did 12 academic all-Americans.
Moses helped to create a coaching family tree in his time at Southern Colorado, one that lives on today in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference wrestling programs. Charles, a protege of Moses' who was an assistant coach for USC from 1995 to 2001, is at the helm of the CSU-Pueblo wrestling program, while Chuck Pipher, a three-time national champion, coaches at Mesa State.
In 2007, after nearly seven years without a wrestling program, the program was reinstated thanks to a donation that allowed the return of football and women's track and field, as well. The natural choice to head the program was Charles, once of the program's proudest sons who understands the high level of excellence that must be upheld by those who wear the colors of CSU-Pueblo.
Under the direction of Charles, the ThunderWolves wrestling program expects to return to its past success and resume its spot as a national power in the coming years.