Cal Poly Wrestling Coaching Staff
Brendan Buckley, head wrestling coach at Ivy League member Columbia University in New York for the last 11 seasons, was named Cal Poly’s head wrestling coach on June 21, 2011.
“Brendan has an excellent record in developing student-athletes,” said Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman. “Brendan has demonstrated that he knows how to fulfill his first responsibility as a coach, which is to make sure we honor our commitment to our student-athletes’ academic achievement. We’ve hired the right coach to ensure we continue to honor those ideals.
“Brendan also believes, as I do, that all of our student-athletes should strive to leave Cal Poly with a diploma and a championship,” Oberhelman added. “I’m very excited about what he will accomplish at Cal Poly.”
Buckley, who earned a 14-3 win at 142 pounds in Fresno State’s 24-16 dual meet victory against Cal Poly in 1997 at Mott Gym, praised Cal Poly’s reputation for athletic and academic excellence.
“Cal Poly athletics has a rich tradition that I am well aware of. My goal is to add to those traditions,” Buckley said. “I am really excited to be here and I can’t wait to begin working with the team. We will strive for excellence on the mat and in the classroom.”
Buckley received the Bob Bubb Coaching Excellence Award for NCAA Division I on May 31, 2011. Presented by the National Wrestling Coaches Association the award recognizes an outstanding coach who epitomizes the qualities and characteristics of a role model and mentor for developing young student-athletes.
In his first season at Cal Poly, Buckley guided the Mustangs to a 6-7 overall dual meet record, including a 3-2 mark in Pac-12 duals. Four Mustangs qualified for the NCAA Championships, with Boris Novachkov placing third at 141 pounds and Ryan DesRoches earning an eighth-place finish at 174 pounds.
The Mustangs struggled in dual meets in the 2012-13 season, posting a 2-11 mark, but freshman Devon Lotito captured a Pac-12 title at 133 pounds and qualified for the NCAA Championship. The 2013-14 squad went 3-9 in duals and Lotito placed second at the Pac-12 finals and again qualified for the NCAA Championship. The 2014-15 Mustangs posted a 3-15 dual meet mark, Dominic Kastl placed second at the Pac-12 finals and Kastl and Nick Fiegener represented Cal Poly at the NCAA Finals.
In his last year at Columbia, Buckley led the Lions to a 9-6 overall record and a third-place finish in the Ivy League. The team placed seventh overall at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships in March and two wrestlers advanced to the round of 16 at the NCAA Division I National Championship.
Off the mat, Columbia shined in the classroom as well, ranking third nationally with a 3.2917 team cumulative grade-point average. The Lions were named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association Academic Team each year under Buckley's guidance and ranked in the top 10 in five of those 11 years.
Buckley’s accomplishments at Columbia include five years of nationally ranked recruiting classes, 20 NCAA qualifiers and a school-record eight EIWA placewinners in the 2006-07 season. He was named EIWA Coach of the Year in 2005.
In the last six years under Buckley's guidance, Columbia earned 26 All-Ivy League selections, 16 NCAA qualifiers and the program's first All-American in 23 years. Matt Palmer finished eighth in the 2005 and 2007 NCAA Championships at 165 and 174 pounds, respectively. In the 2008-09 season, Buckley coached Columbia's first EIWA champion in 13 years.
Buckley was named EIWA Coach of the Year as he led the Lions to a fourth-place finish at the 2005 EIWA Championships, the team’s best finish at the meet since 1931. The Lions also won the EIWA Wrestling Officials Sportsmanship Award.
Columbia made further improvements in 2007, as the team earned its first-ever top 25 ranking, eight wrestlers placed at the EIWA Championships, four team members qualified for nationals and Palmer earned his second All-America honor.
Buckley, 71-84-1 in 11 dual meet seasons with the Lions, came to Columbia from the University of Virginia, where he was the top assistant coach from 1998 to 2000. He helped lead the Cavaliers to two straight top-25 finishes in the NCAA Championships, while helping develop three All-Americans and seven NCAA qualifiers, including national finalist Steve Garland at 125 pounds.
Prior to Virginia, Buckley was the chief assistant coach at UC Davis as well as at Sacramento City College. During his tenure at Sacramento CC, five wrestlers earned All-America status.
Originally from Long Island, Buckley lived in Buffalo, N.Y., before moving to Orlando, Fla. He was a high school All-American and Florida state champion at 135 pounds for Lake Howell High and then starred at Clemson where he made the freshman All-American team his first year and reached the NCAA Round of 16 as a 142-pound sophomore.
When Clemson dropped wrestling after the 1994-95 season, Buckley transferred to Fresno State, where he wrestled under Dennis DeLiddo. Buckley was a Western Athletic Conference champion for the Bulldogs and earned All-America status with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championship at 142 pounds in 1997.
Buckley graduated from Fresno State in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and completed his master's degree in sports management at Columbia. Buckley and his wife Julia celebrated their third wedding anniversary Aug. 28.
Scotti Sentes, a two-time NCAA Division I All-American and four-time national qualifier while wrestling at Central Michigan, was named assistant wrestling coach at Cal Poly in August 2013.
"In looking for an assistant coach, we wanted to hire someone that not only was good on the mat but also someone that could relate well to our student-athletes and help us promote the Mustang Mission," third-year Mustang head coach Brendan Buckley said in announcing the hire.
"We feel strongly that we accomplished this in hiring Scotti Sentes," Buckley added. "He is a great technician and will be a terrific asset for all of our wrestlers."
Sentes twice won Mid-American Conference titles (2009 and 2011) and placed third in 2010 and 2013. He finished his Chippewas career with a 108-33 overall record, including 55-12 in duals (17-1 in MAC dual meets) and 53-21 in tournaments. Among his 108 career wins were 23 falls.
Sentes placed fourth in the NCAA finals at 133 pounds as a junior in 2011 and seventh at 125 as a freshman in 2009.
While wrestling at Central Michigan, Sentes also was involved in numerous camps and club teams. He was a clinician for wrestling clinics and camps at Central Michigan and throughout the country under Chippewas head coach Tom Borelli.
Sentes also was founder and head coach/clinician for Team Anaconda Blood and was a coach for National Team Florida, preparing wrestlers for national competition during the high school offseason. He also was an instructor for the Riverdale Wrestling Club during his high school career.
Sentes was a four-time Florida state high school champion while attending Riverdale High School, compiling a 213-3 career prep record and winning his last 140 matches. He also finished runner-up in the state finals at 103 pounds while competing with the varsity as an eight-grader in 2004. He was 51-0 with 36 falls as a senior. Sentes also won a senior nationals title in 2008.
Sentes earned his bachelor of science degree in English at Central Michigan in May 2013.
Mike Evans, a three-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at the University of Iowa, was hired as an assistant coach with the Cal Poly wrestling program in July 2015.
Evans, who placed second three times and third once in the Big 10 Conference Championship from 2012-15, compiled a 107-27 career mark with the Hawkeyes in addition to a 22-2 mark during his redshirt season (2010-11) while wrestling unattached.
"I am very excited to welcome Mike Evans to the Cal Poly wrestling program," said Mustang head coach Brendan Buckley. "Mike hails from the legendary University of Iowa Hawkeye program and understands the type of commitment required to compete for an NCAA title.
"Mike was always an exciting wrestler to watch at the NCAAs and, as a three-time NCAA All-American, our team will have an accomplished wrestler to work closely with and learn from," Buckley added. "Mike impressed me on his interview and has the type of mindset that will benefit our entire program. We can't wait to begin working with him."
Evans was sixth at the NCAAs as a sophomore, junior and senior and claimed a pair of titles at the Midlands Championships. He posted 16 pins, 15 technical falls and 24 major decisions in his four varsity seasons at Iowa and Evans was 58-11 in dual meets.
At Blair Academy in New Jersey, Evans was 165-8, including a 52-0 mark as a senior, and claimed prep state and national titles at 189 pounds in his senior year. He is a three-time Pennsylvania freestyle and Greco-Roman state champion and also played football in high school.
Evans, who earned his bachelor's degree in recreation and sport business last May at Iowa, has worked as a wrestling camp clinician, coordinator and counselor for youth and prep wrestlers throughout the country while wrestling at Iowa.