Head Coach Spotlight
Kevin Bratland is in his second season as head coach at the Coast Guard Academy.
He had an outstanding first season leading the Bears to a dual meet record of 13-6, their first winning season in 14 years. Coast Guard also beat rival Merchant Marine for the first time since 2007.
Bratland was named the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Coach of the Year as he sent a pair of wrestlers to the NCAA Division III Championships and Nate Giorgio earned All-America honors for third time in his career with a fifth place finish at 133 pounds. Giorgio won the Northeast Region Championship and finished 41-2 on the season.
Bratland was the head coach at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois eight seasons before arriving at the Coast Guard Academy. He led the Cardinals to a 73-47-1 dual-meet record and three College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Championships while also being named conference Coach of the Year three times. His teams finished in top 10 at the NCAA Division III Championships three times.
In his first season in 2006-'07, Bratland led the Cardinals to a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships, the highest finish in school history. Four wrestlers qualified for nationals and two were All-Americans.
North Central sent three wrestlers to the 2008 Division III Championships, each of whom earned All-American honors in helping the Cardinals to a ninth-place finish.
In 2009, North Central had two individuals qualify for national-championship competition with both earning All-America honors. The Cardinals also set a school record with 15 dual-meet victories in the 2008-2009 campaign and achieved a national ranking as high as fourth by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Four of his wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships and two earned All-America honors in the 2009-2010 season as the team posted a 12-5-1 dual-meet record.
During the 2010-2011 season, three individuals qualified for the national championships with one earning All-America honors.
In 2012, two athletes earned All-America honors while 2013 saw one wrestler earn All-America status. Last year Bratland had two wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Bratland served as the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio Northern University for two seasons before coming to North Central. He was the assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach at Division III wrestling powerhouse Wartburg College (Iowa) from 2003-05. Bratland helped coach Wartburg to its second straight national title in 2004. He has also served as an assistant coach at Humboldt High School in Humboldt, Iowa, in 1999-2000.
Bratland graduated from Wartburg in 2003 with a degree in fitness management. He received his master's degree in exercise science in 2004 from University of Northern Iowa. Bratland is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist and attained his coaching certification from Iowa Central Community College.
As a collegian, Bratland was a two-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III All-Academic Individual and two-time NCAA III All-American. In 2002, he finished third in the nation at 157 pounds and improved his placement to second as a senior in 2003. Bratland served as Wartburg's co-captain as a junior and senior and was the team's most valuable wrestler those same two years. He was a member of Wartburg's 2003 national championship team.
Bratland began his wrestling career at Iowa State University in 1997 and was part of the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation along with four-time undefeated national champion and Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson and four-time All-American and national champion Joe Heskett. The Cyclones finished fourth at the NCAA Division I Championships that season, with four wrestlers earning All-America honors.