Missouri Valley College president Dr. Bonnie Humphrey has promoted longtime men’s wrestling head coach Mike Machholz to the college’s athletic director. Machholz will step down as the men’s wrestling head coach with the promotion.

According to a press release, Machholz coached the men’s wrestling program for more than 30 years and helped resurrect the men’s wrestling program in 1991. He took over as head coach in 1994 and led the program to a huge success during his tenure. Machholz became assistant athletic director in 2003, was promoted to associate athletic director in 2013, then senior associate athletic director in 2018. He will assume the role of college athletic director effective July 1, 2022, replacing Tom Fifer, who has announced his retirement after 31 years of service in the Missouri Valley.

“I am thrilled to have Mike take on this new role at Missouri Valley,” Dr. Humphrey said. “His dedication and loyalty to Missouri Valley College will set him up for great success as he takes over as head of the athletic department in the months ahead.”
Machholz will lead an athletics department at Missouri Valley that offers 19 sports, with 30 varsity teams and nearly 1,000 student-athletes on campus.
“As a youngster growing up here in Marshall, Missouri, I got to watch over 50 years of athletics at Missouri Valley College,” Machholz said. “I have witnessed many great moments in our history as an institution. This is all a bit surreal to me. I am truly honored and excited about this opportunity to lead the athletic department. I would like to thank President Humphrey for her institutional leadership and her confidence in me. I look forward to the challenge of continuing to elevate Missouri Valley College as one of the top leaders in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. I realize I have big shoes to fill after Tom after his long tenure here as Sporting Director! I certainly owe him a lot for his guidance and mentorship over the years! I look forward to continuing the excellence he has established throughout our athletic department. We have a rich track and field tradition here at Valley and I will do my best to make sure it stays that way… Valley Will Roll!

With the move to athletic director, Machholz will retire as head coach of the men’s wrestling program after a successful tenure that spanned more than three decades, creating one of the most successful athletic programs in the NAIA and the school’s history. Missouri Valley Men’s Wrestling has produced three NAIA National Championships (1996, 1997, 2003), four NAIA National Finalists (1998, 2000, 2001, 2005), and 11 Regional Tag Team Championships under Machholz’s leadership. The program has also produced a total of 168 All-Americans, 17 individual national champions and 40 national finalists. Machholz has a dueling career record of 224-115-2, which includes wins against teams in multiple college divisions. He was inducted into the Missouri Valley College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

Machholz has been repeatedly recognized for his excellence in coaching. He was named NAIA Coach of the Year three times (1996, 1997, 2003) and was nominated for Regional Coach of the Year ten times. He was also named Rookie Coach of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News in 1995. Machholz served as president of the NAIA National Wrestling Coaches’ Association from 1997 to 1999 and from 2007 to 2009, and served on several coaching committees over the last 30 years.

In addition to her success with the men’s wrestling program at Missouri Valley, Machholz was at the forefront of building the sport of collegiate women’s wrestling, not just in college, but across the country. In 1999, he launched the first-ever women’s collegiate wrestling program to offer scholarships, and coached a U.S. National Women’s Freestyle Wrestling Championship in 2001, as well as two national finalists (2000, 2002). In 2002, he was also the head coach and director of one of the first women’s free trade tours in China, ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

“I want to congratulate Coach Machholz on an unprecedented 30-plus year coaching career here in Missouri Valley,” Fifer said. “I look forward to his continued work as the new Athletic Director, leading the department into the future. When I think of Coach Machholz’s coaching career, I remember my favorite quote about coaches: “The value of a coach is not in the wins and losses, or in his curriculum vitae, but in the impact he has on his sport and on the lives of his players”. Mike Machholz has certainly had a huge impact at Missouri Valley College Congratulations on a great coaching career and on your well-deserved promotion to Athletic Director.

Machholz graduated from Missouri Valley College in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and received a master’s degree in business administration from Lindenwood, Mo. in 1994. He and his wife, Janine, have been married for 33 years.


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