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Keller named associate head wrestling coach for Wartburg

WAVERLY (IOWA)- Wartburg College Director of Athletics Rick Willis has announced the hiring of Eric Keller as associate head wrestling coach. He replaces Dave Malecek, who has taken the head coaching position at UW-La Crosse.

"My wife, Val (Drees '02) and I are very excited to be returning to Waverly," Keller said. "We built so many great friendships when we were there during Val's college days. It'll be great to be back.

"It's a chance to work with my mentor (coach Miller) and a great staff," he added. "Being away from Wartburg this last year has given Val and I a notion of how much we truly miss the campus and the community."

Keller was an assistant for head coach Jim Miller's teams from 2000-05. He was part of five consecutive Iowa Conference championships and NCAA Division III national championships in 2003 and 2004. Leading North Central College of Naperville, Ill.'s program the last season, he helped guide a turnaround for the Cardinals as they had their best collegiate wrestling season to date, gaining three All-Americans and going through a dual season with a perfect record. Keller was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association's Rookie Coach of the Year at last year's national championships.

"We feel very fortunate to get him back at Wartburg," Miller said. "He's an outstanding coach and has good rapport with our athletes. He understands the level of excellence we are striving for and has a real love and commitment for the college."

Keller earned his degree in health and physical education from the University of Northern Iowa in 1999. He was an NCAA All-American and Academic All-American for the Panthers and also added world team wrestling trials qualifier, Northern Plains Regional Olympic champion and UNI team captain (1998-99) honors to his competitive resume. He was also a two-time Iowa state champion, compiling a 161-10-1 record in the high school ranks.
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