Wayne Baughman enters his 25th season as head coach of the U.S. Air Force Academy wrestling team with a resume that rivals that of any coach in collegiate wrestling.
Baughman is the winningest wrestling coach in Air Force history, with a 173-109-5 record. He has accomplished winning records in 17 of the 24 seasons at the helm.
Under the guidance of Baughman, the 2002-03 team had one of its most successful seasons in recent history. Air Force went 6-2 in dual meets and had two qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. One of those qualifiers, Kevin Hoy, placed second overall in the NCAA Championships to earn All-American status for the second consecutive season. The team also placed second at the West Regionals, its best finish ever at the regional tournament. The Falcons also finished 27th overall at the NCAA Championships.
Coaching Hoy to second place in the national championship was one of many career highlights for Baughman. In 2001-02, the team went 11-3 in dual meets and had four qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. Three of those qualifiers earned All-American status, marking the first time in Academy history that three wrestlers became All-Americans in the same season.
Another highlight of his coaching career at Air Force was the 1991 season. That year, he led Air Force to its first-ever WAC championship in any sport. Four Falcons won individual titles as Air Force went 10-1 in dual meets, tying the best winning percentage in school history. For these achievements, Baughman was named WAC Coach of the Year.
He has led four Air Force teams to 10-plus win seasons and had four teams place third in the WAC. Baughman has coached 13 of the Academy's 16 WAC champions and has seen many of his wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Baughman first served as head wrestling coach at the Academy from 1975-84 while on active duty in the Air Force. As a civilian, Baughman took over the program in 1988. Since then, Baughman has led the Falcons to a 77-38-3 dual record.
The coach for two U.S. Olympic Teams (1976 and 1980), Baughman has also led five World Championship teams and a Pan American team. A member of the U.S.A. Wrestling and Helms-United Savings Halls of Fame, Baughman was selected as the National Freestyle Coach of the Year in 1976.
Baughman's success as a coach comes after a remarkable collegiate and amateur wrestling career. While at the University of Oklahoma, he won an NCAA title, was a three-time All-American and a two-time Big 8 Champion. As an amateur wrestler, Baughman's record is among the best ever. In 25 national championships, he never finished lower than third. He claimed 16 firsts, seven seconds and two third-place finishes. He was a competitor on three U.S. Olympic Teams (1964, 1968 and 1972), eight World Championship teams and a Pan American squad. He is the only wrestler to win national championships in four different wrestling styles (freestyle, Greco-Roman, collegiate and sombo).
Baughman was active in the military while at Oklahoma, being an AFROTC distinguished military graduate and receiving the OU AFROTC award for leadership, scholarship and athletics his junior and senior years.
In addition to holding a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma, Baughman holds master's degrees from the University of Denver and the University of Colorado. He also holds coaching certificates from USA Wrestling and the American Coaches Effectiveness program.
Whether in the military or as a civilian, Baughman has been a leader in many different endeavors. He served as Chief of Air Force Sports Programs for five years and was the director of operations and assistant general manager for the 1986 World Cycling Championships.
He is a past member of the Athlete's Advisory Council and Board of Directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and was also a former member of the USA Wrestling board of directors and the NCAA wrestling committee.
Still an avid ultra-runner, triathlete and mountain climber, Baughman has finished the Ironman Triathlon, the Pikes Peak Marathon, the Leadville Trail 100-mile Run and the Hardscramble Pass 100-mile Bike Ride. He also competed in the Bad Water 146 which is a race from the lowest spot in the country, Death Valley, Calif. (282 feet below sea level), to the 8,300-foot mark of Mt. Whitney. Baughman finished the race in 55 hours.
As a mountain climber, Baughman has climbed all 54 mountains over 14,000 feet. In 1990, Baughman was a support trekker for the Mt. Everest Earth Day 20 International Peace Climb. The climb included teams from the Soviet Union, the United States and China. He has also made a summit attempt at Mt. McKinley in Alaska but turned back because of frostbite at the 17,300-foot mark.
Baughman and his wife, Betty, have two children, Scott and Lori, and three grandsons, Ben, Ryan and Steven.