Following the departure of longtime wrestling head coach Chris Ayres, it was announced Tuesday evening that associate head coach Joe Dubuque would be taking over the vacant role. Dubuque, a two-time national champion wrestler from Indiana University and former New Jersey state champion, will be the 11th head coach in program history.
“This is definitely a dream job for me,” Dubuque told The Daily Princetonian. “Being that it’s in New Jersey where I grew up and being the number one school in the country, it’s a place where we feel like we can recruit the best talent in the country and make this team a top 10 team.”
Dubuque was born and raised in New Jersey, where he attended Glen Ridge High School. At Glen Ridge, Dubuque was a two-time state champion wrestler. After graduating high school in 2002, he took his talents to Indiana University and cemented himself as a Hoosier legend. He was an All-American his sophomore, junior, and senior year.
While at Indiana, he also won the NCAA national championship his junior and senior year at 125 pounds. He was the second Hoosier to win two national wrestling championships and the first to win them back-to-back. During his four years at Indiana, he posted a 114–18 record.
Upon graduation, he came back east, as he was hired as an assistant coach at Hofstra University in 2006. From 2006 to 2009, he coached six All-Americans and helped lead the Pride to a seventh-place finish in the NCAA Championship in 2007. In the second half of 2009, he returned to Indiana as assistant coach for a three-year stint that saw him coach three All-Americans.
Dubuque returned to New Jersey in 2012, when former head coach Chris Ayres added him to the Princeton wrestling staff. Dubuque has been a big part of the program’s success since he joined prior to the 2012–13 season.
“The thing I’d really like to focus on is just the way we compete, and I feel like if we can really bring energy and excitement in the way we compete and build our brand and style of wrestling, I think that will continue to take us to where we want to go,” Dubuque told the ‘Prince.’
In 2016, the Tigers had an All-American for the first time in 13 years when Brett Harner ’16 got the nod. Since then, the program has had another four wrestlers earn All-American distinctions. Dubuque said that watching Harner become an All-American marked a special moment in his coaching career.
“That was the first accomplishment that we achieved as a coaching staff where we really knew that we were doing the right things and things are going in the right direction,” Dubuque added.
Yet another impressive and memorable moment for Dubuque and Ayres was winning the Ivy League in 2020, ending a 92 dual-match winning-streak by Cornell’s program within the conference. At the time, Cornell had the longest winning streak in any Division 1 sport in any conference.
Perhaps most impressive, though, is Dubuque’s work with Patrick Glory ’23 and Quincy Monday ’22. In 2022, Dubuque helped coach both athletes to the NCAA title match in their respective weight classes. The cherry on top was when Glory won the NCAA Championship in 2023, defeating Purdue’s Matt Ramos to win the 125 pound weight class. This was the first NCAA championship won by Princeton Wrestling in 72 years. Glory was the first national champion that Dubuque coached, but he certainly hopes that Glory won’t be the last.
With Dubuque’s promotion to head coach, associate head coach Sean Gray will act as his right hand while Monday recently joined the coaching staff. Monday, who graduated this May, will look to use his experience as a student-athlete to serve as a mentor to the current roster of wrestlers.
“Quincy will be able to fill so many roles for us,” said Dubuque when asked about Monday’s new role. “He is the example of success from a Princeton wrestler standpoint. Our guys will get to look at him every single day and see what he was able to achieve both in the classroom and on the wrestling mat. He can relate to the guys more closely in regards to being a student athlete.” Dubuque also highlighted that he looks forward to working with Monday to see what the recent graduate feels should be adapted to better the program.
One of Dubuque’s first tasks will be to find a final member to complete his coaching staff. It will be interesting to see who will join this program that is clearly on the rise.
“I’m excited to see what other people are interested in joining this program,” said Dubuque when speaking about a new potential coach. “Any time you can get a new voice, new ideas into your program, I think that’s definitely a sign that things are gonna grow. We pride ourselves on being unique and that’s what I’m looking for.” Nonetheless, moving forward, the spotlight is now on Dubuque, who will aim to take Princeton wrestling to even greater heights.
Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
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