RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Jason Schweer has been tabbed as the head coach of the University of Rio Grande’s new men’s wrestling program.
Athletic director Jeff Lanham made the announcement Friday afternoon.
The 31-year-old native of Waverly, Iowa comes to the RedStorm after spending the past season as the associate head coach at the University of the Ozarks, an NCAA Division III school in Clarksville, Arkansas.
“I’m fired up. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to build something from the ground up,” Schweer said. “Coming from Arkansas where, in many ways, wrestling is still pretty new to southeastern Ohio — where you’re right in the heart of wrestling country — is a tremendous opportunity to grow our sport. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
A graduate of North Iowa Area Community College and Grand View (Iowa) University, Schweer was a two-time NJCAA Academic All-American, as well as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete and Grand View’s 2012 Champion of Character honoree.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at Grand View in the fall of 2013 before moving on to the University of Ozarks in the fall of 2015, where he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Schweer also spent one season as the head coach at Kansas Wesleyan University before the school scrapped the program. He returned to the University of the Ozarks in June 2019 and spent the past season there.
“There’s a lot of good and bad and in between when you’re the man, but I’m ready to get back in the saddle and be a head coach again,” said Schweer. “Rio’s location is right, the timing is right and the institution itself is a great avenue to educate kids and grow our sport. It’s something I definitely want to be a part of.”
Schweer has been involved with three national tournament qualifiers during his coaching career, as well as a number of All-American performers — both on the mat and in the classroom.
“Jason has multiple years of experience with collegiate wrestling and this is a great opportunity for him to put his stamp on the initial wrestling team here at Rio Grande,” Lanham said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds and we’re excited to add him to our Rio athletic family.”
Rio Grande’s wrestling program, which will get off the ground beginning with the 2020-21 school year, will compete as an affiliate member of the Mid-South Conference.
Given the limited amount of time he’ll have to get things up and rolling, Schweer knows the task with which he’s been afforded is a daunting one.
“I think the biggest challenge is going to be getting out in front of people, telling them about Rio and letting everybody know that we have wrestling. Getting us on the map within the wrestling community will be the big hurdle,” he said. “I’d probably feel a lot different if it were January instead of almost April. There’s no question we’re going to have to hustle, that’s for sure. (University of Rio Grande) President (Ryan) Smith said I needed to start yesterday.”
Schweer, whose resume also includes fundraising and game day administration duties, said his eventual goal is to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-45 athletes on the roster each season.
“Can I go out and get 40 kids right away? Probably not. Realistically, I’d like to have 15-20 to start with. From there, we’ll work to bring in 10-15 every year,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to figure out when I can get up there. Then it’s a matter of shaking trees, hootin’ and hollerin’ and trying to round up some kids.”
Once Schweer does make it to campus, Lanham said he’s confident that the RedStorm faithful — and wrestling enthusiasts from throughout the Tri-State area — will welcome him with open arms.
“Jason’s very aware of the solid wrestling tradition in our local landscape and he’s excited to get started with the recruiting process,” said Lanham. “He’s worked side-by-side with some of the most successful coaches in collegiate wrestling and he’s got a vision for how to provide a great academic and athletic experience for our wrestlers. I think the community will enjoy his knowledge, ability and enthusiasm.”
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.