MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University wrestling coach Sammie Henson has announced the hiring of Nicholas Marable and the retention of Danny Felix as assistant coaches.
“Nick has gained valuable experience while at the University of Missouri as a wrestler and a coach. Over the past few years, his work on and off the mat has helped him develop into one of best young assistant coaches in the country,” says Henson. “With his knowledge, passion and experience, Nick will bring a lot of energy into the room and has a different perspective and relationship with the athletes because he is still competing on the international stage.
“It is my pleasure to have coach Felix as a part of my staff. With his knowledge of WVU wrestling and the surrounding areas, it will only solidify our recruitment of the best student-athletes in the nation. Our relationship as wrestlers and now as coaches will bring about a true family atmosphere in our room and within the Mountaineer wrestling family.”
Marable comes to Morgantown after spending the 2013-14 season as the volunteer assistant coach at Missouri, lending a hand in the Tigers’ 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City and helping two Missouri Tigers earn All-America honors, including true freshman J’den Cox claiming the National Championship at 197 pounds. Prior to his time as volunteer assistant, Marable spent three years as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tigers’ grapplers.
“I am excited to join West Virginia and Coach Henson’s staff,” says Marable. “I have been working with Sammie for the past couple of years and have had the privilege to not only coach with him, but to be coached by him. I am ready to build a legacy at WVU and win some titles.”
Marable is currently the top-ranked men’s freestyle wrestler at 70 kilograms (154 pounds) in the United States. He was named TheMat.com’s Wrestler of the Week in February after claiming Gold at the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul, Turkey. Marable defeated the 2012 Olympic champion and two-time world champion Jordan Burroughs on his way to the title. The victory snapped Burrough’s 69-match win streak and was his first loss in his career at the senior level. Marable also won Gold at the Grand Prix in Paris, France, and Gold at the New York Athletic Club International this year. He finished third at the 2013 U.S. Open.
“Nick is on the cutting edge of wrestling, as he is ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally in freestyle at 70 kilograms,” Henson says. “He is one of the best in the country and the world. Along with great technique, Nick has great character and loyalty. Those are what we are looking for in a staff and it will spill over into the team.”
Marable currently wrestles with the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club and will continue to do so while in Morgantown.
A two-time All-American at 165 pounds for Missouri, Marable was a three-time NCAA qualifier and wrestled to a third-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. As a senior, he posted a 35-5 record, which included a 13-1 dual mark, and became the 17th Missouri wrestler in program history to join the elite 100-win club.
Winner of three consecutive Big 12 titles, Marable finished his career with 116 wins, the eighth-most in Missouri history, and was awarded Missouri's Hap Whitney Coaches Award honor in 2007, as well as Most Improved Wrestler accolades in 2008.
“Coach Marable has been under my system for two years, and not only has he gained personal success during this time, but he also can convey the system to student-athletes to get the most out of them on and off the mat,” Henson says.
The Collierville, Tenn., native graduated from Missouri in the spring of 2010 with a degree in psychology.
Felix will remain on the coaching staff under coach Henson. Felix has been with WVU since 2005 and has been a full-time assistant for the past five seasons. Responsible for the lower weight divisions, wrestlers under Felix’s guidance have made 20 trips to the NCAA Championships, including three in 2014.
“I'm very grateful and blessed to continue my coaching career at West Virginia University. My family and I could not be more excited to stay connected with the Morgantown community and stay a part of Mountaineer Nation,” says Felix. “I'm truly excited to have coach Sammie Henson lead this program. We have a history and a friendship that started as long-time training partners. It is great how life comes full circle and that we are together again. As I look ahead, I see a bright future for this program. Sammie’s ability to win and motivate will take this team to a new level. With a relentless drive to succeed, we will put a team on the mat that our fans will be excited to watch.”
In 2009, Felix was a member of the U.S. World Team. He was one of seven freestyle wrestlers to earn a spot on the team, and Felix competed in Herning, Denmark, at the 2009 World Wrestling Championships.
In early 2008 in the professional ranks, Felix garnered the Bronze medal at the 2008 U.S. Open. A year prior, he wrestled in the 121-pound class at the New York Athletic Club Holiday International Wrestling Championships and finished with a Silver medal. That same year, he was crowned the 2007 Sunkist International Champion.
Before coming to Morgantown, Felix was the club wrestling coach at the University of Virginia from 2003-05. He jumped into the coaching ranks in 1998 at the University of Oklahoma, where he served as a club coach for two years.
In 1995, Felix earned All-America status at Arizona State in the 118-pound weight class. To add to his stellar college career, he also was a three-time Pac-10 champion.
He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from Arizona State in 1998.