Coach Josh Watts heads into his sixth year at the helm of Iowa Western’s wrestling program. Prior to Iowa Western, Watts spent four years as head coach at Darton College, Georgia.
In the first five seasons at Iowa Western Coach Watts has produced 42 National Qualifiers with 15 All-Americans. He has also lead the team to 7th and 8th place finishes at National Duals along with top 25, top 20, top 15, top 10, and top 5 finishes at the NJCAA National Tournament (22, 19, 13, 8, and 4th).
In 2001, Watts graduated as one of Iowa’s most prolific high school wrestlers. His career mark of 190-4 represented the single most wins for any individual in the history of the state, and his 114 career pins were also enough for the state’s sixth best all-time. Ranked fourth nationally, Watts exited high school a much sought after wrestler by many colleges and universities. In 2001, he took a scholarship opportunity from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Unfortunately, serious knee problems and injuries prevented him from competing at the level to which he was accustomed. After two years at Northern Iowa, Watts transferred to Loras College where he was a two-year varsity letter-winner.
Since completing his career on the mat in 2005, Watts has made the move from wrestler to coach. From 2005-2007, he served as assistant wrestling coach at Loras College under long-time Loras head coach Randy Steward. Learning behind such a successful coach allowed Watts to gain many insights into the various nuances of the world of coaching wrestlers.
In 9 years as head coach Watts has produced 72 National Qualifiers and 21 All-Americans.
Former Reiver Kevin Olson joins the wrestling coaching staff here at Iowa Western. Originally from Dallas, Georgia Coach Olson began his college wrestling experience at Darton College for the 2010-2011 season. Soon afterwards he would journey up towards the Mid-West and represent the Iowa Western Reivers for their inaugural season in 2011-2012. Coach Olson finished his college wrestling experience at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA where he has earned a degree in Counseling Psychology and was a four time national qualifier.
Coach Houghton enters his third season as assistant coach for the Reivers.
A native of Bossier City, Louisiana, Mitch was a 2-time state placer for Bossier High School. He started his collegiate wrestling career at Minot State University in North Dakota in 2010. He then transferred to Bacone College in Muskogee, OK where he wrestled from 2011-2014. Houghton finished his wrestling career as a 3-year varsity team member.
In his final semester at Bacone College, Mitch got his first taste of coaching, serving as a student assistant under Head Coach Brett Oleson.
Coach Houghton graduated on the Presidents list with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Bacone College in 2014.
This is Laramie Shaffer’s Fourth season with the Reiver wrestling program. Shaffer works mainly with wrestlers in the lighter weight classes.
From Winterset, Iowa, Shaffer was a three-time state finalist and a two-time state champion for Winterset High School. He then went on to wrestle for Iowa State University where he was a three-year letter winner. With one year of eligibility left, Shaffer decided to transfer to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. At Augustana, he earned All-American honors at the NCAA D-II National Tournament.
Shaffer graduated and received his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Iowa State University in 2010.