Wrestling Recruiting Questionnaire
Head Coach Heath Eslinger
Southern Conference Wrestling
Heath Eslinger (pronounced ESS-leen-guhr) was named the 11th head coach of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling program on July 11, 2009. A former Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year and UTC alum, Eslinger is in his fourth year at the helm of the Mocs' program.
He has had quite an impressive start to his collegiate career, winning the Southern Conference Regular Season crown in 2010 and 2011 and the Tournament title in 2011 and 2012. He was also the 2011 SoCon Coach of the Year.
He has also shown that he is a proven motivator off the mat as well. The program has seen increase in fundraising, community involvement and academic performance since Eslinger's hiring.
Prior to UTC, Eslinger spent three seasons building the Cleveland High School wrestling program in Cleveland, Tenn., into one of the premier programs in the state. The Blue Raiders finished in the top-3 in the state duals and traditional standings in each of the last two seasons. Last year, he had Cleveland ranked as high as No. 9 in the southeast region while guiding a school-record six wrestlers to state placings, including three finalists.
During his time at Cleveland High School, Eslinger was able to successfully raise money for the program. He also helped build a $250,000 weight training facility for the school. He raised the profile of the wrestling program in the community by more than doubling the size of the roster since his arrival. He was also a well-respected physical education teacher at the high school.
Eslinger spent the previous two years as a student pastor at First Baptist Church in Cleveland. His responsibilities dealt with all aspects of a mega-church student ministry. He orchestrated events and camps for over 250 students and organized leaders and curricula for each.
Eslinger gained valuable collegiate coaching experience as an assistant at UTC under Terry Brands from 2002-04. There he learned the ins and outs of recruiting, fundraising, budgets and the overall administration of a collegiate athletic program.
Fresh out of college, Eslinger returned to his high school alma mater, Bradley Central in Cleveland, for his first coaching experience. As an assistant for the Bears, he helped guide Bradley Central to state titles in 2001 and 2002. He also served as an elementary physical education teacher in Bradley County school system.
Eslinger won four letters with the Mocs from 1995-2000. He posted a 120-18 all-time record, winning three Southern Conference titles and qualifying for the NCAA Championships three times. His 120 wins broke the school's all-time record and is still the second highest win total in UTC history.
Respected by his teammates, Eslinger was tabbed as team captain all four years of his collegiate career. He was the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year in 2000 and the SoCon Tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler that same season. His senior year he climbed as high as No. 6 in the nation.
Eslinger's prep career was just as impressive and included two state titles at Bradley Central High School. He was captain of the first team to win a state title for the Bears and the 1995 TSSAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Eslinger and his wife, Brandi, have three daughters, Brookelyn (7) and twins, Madelyn and Keelyn (5) and a son,Carson (1). He is very involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and won the organization's Jim Slater Leadership Award in 2008. In 2007, he earned the FCA's Gerry Stephens Influence Award.
A noted speaker, Eslinger has also been featured at camps and events all across the southeast for the past six years, including groups of up to 2,000 at a time.
ESLINGER'S CAREER NUMBERS
Southern Conference Wrestling