Head Wrestling Coach Cody Garcia to be inducted into Jim Koch Division II Hall of Fame


Josephine Moore

Head wrestling coach Cody Garcia is being inducted to the Jim Koch Division II Hall of Fame for his time as a student-athlete

On Feb. 1, the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) announced the Jim Koch Division II Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Baker University Head Wrestling Coach Cody Garcia is amongst ten inductees from all around the country.

Garcia attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) from 2006 to 2011 where he competed on the wrestling team. During his time as a student-athlete, Garcia was a four-time All-American and a four-time Academic All-American.

He won two National Titles at 125 pounds in 2006 and 2008 and was also named the NCAA Division II Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2008. He finished third at 133 pounds in 2009 and second at 133 pounds in 2010.

Garcia ended his college career with a 147-18 record, which solidified the fourth-highest number of all-time career wins at UNO since 1966. With 84 career pins and 31 single-season pins, Garcia broke two UNO wrestling records.

Garcia said learning he was to be inducted into the Jim Koch Division II Hall of Fame was both surreal and humbling. He was happy to reconnect with old teammates, friends and coaches after being notified of the honor.

“It’s a good thing to be able to look back and count your blessings. Ultimately, I’m just grateful. I am honored, but I am more filled with gratitude to all the people that have been a part of my journey.”

Garcia had wrestled since he was five years old. He wrestled for his father at Hutchinson High School in Hutchinson, Kan., which Garcia said was a special experience and pushed him to relentlessly chase his goals.

“Wrestling is a very demanding sport. You have to be all-in and welcome the challenges,” Garcia said. “Then you have confidence and feel empowered regardless of the circumstances.”

Garcia was inducted into UNO’s athletic hall of fame in 2017, which he said was a bittersweet honor because the university cut the wrestling program in 2011 when it announced it would be transitioning from Division II to Division I.

Nonetheless, Garcia feels his time at UNO was as fulfilling as it could have been and led him to where he is today.

Garcia is currently in his seventh year as head coach of the men’s team and his fifth year as the head coach of the women’s team at Baker. So far, Garcia has produced 41 National Qualifiers, 18 All-Americans and five National Champions for the men’s program.

Sophomore Isaiah Luellen, who is a member of the men’s wrestling team, said he appreciates that Garcia leads by example.

“I wouldn’t want to wrestle for anyone else because he makes the sport enjoyable and his passion for the sport is contagious,” Luellen said. “It’s easy to work hard for someone like Coach Garcia because he is the prime example of how hard work and perseverance pays off.”

Sophomore Kaylynn Albrecht, a member of the women’s wrestling team, shared similar sentiments.

“He’s got a natural and sculpted-by-hard-work gift for wrestling,” Albrecht said. “The fact alone that each and every day he wakes up and chooses to give back to this sport says so much about his character because it is a very demanding, sometimes draining sport to commit to.”

As a coach, Garcia said he encourages his athletes to value “character over motivation,” which is the same mindset that led him to great success during his time as a collegiate student-athlete.

Garcia, along with all Jim Koch Division II Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductees, will be officially inducted at the NWCA National Convention on July 30 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.