KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Avila University Department of Athletics announced Graham Karwath as the first head coach of the department’s newly-unveiled men’s and women’s wrestling teams, which will begin competition in the 2021-22 school year.
“I am really excited to welcome Graham to the Avila Athletics family,” said Avila University Director of Athletics Shawn Summe. “Graham had reached out to me prior to us even announcing that we were starting wrestling with the thought that Avila would be a great place to start a wrestling program, and he exudes eagerness and a passion for the sport of wrestling.”
Avila unveiled its plans to add both men’s and women’s wrestling, along with both men’s and women’s bowling, to its roster of varsity sports last month, which will raise the school’s total up to 16 varsity sports.
“I am thrilled to be headed to Avila University to build Kansas City’s only collegiate wrestling program,” Karwath said. “I’m very honored and grateful to Shawn Summe and the hiring committee for giving me this opportunity to lead the first men’s and women’s wrestling programs at Avila.”
A passionate, experienced wrestling coach who rapidly rose up the ranks from high school assistant coach to collegiate head coach in less than a decade, the St. Louis-based Karwath will come to Kansas City after most recently serving as the head men’s and women’s wrestling coach at MacMurray College in Illinois, where he helped to produce the first three NCWCC All-Americans in the program’s history.
Karwath spent much of the last year as a recruiting specialist with Blue Chip Wrestling Camps, helping to develop a database of high school wrestlers looking to be scouted by college coaches. That helped him learn about the Kansas City high school and club wrestling scenes, and, he says, helped him see the other side of the puzzle after he had learned to approach recruiting from the perspective of a college coach.
Karwath got his start in the wrestling coaching ranks at East Ascension High School in Louisiana, where he served as an assistant coach from 2012-2014. From there, he moved on to become a student assistant coach at Williams Baptist University in Arkansas, where he was part of a coaching staff that mentored ten NAIA All-Americans and two NAIA National Champions.
After four years at Williams Baptist, Karwath moved on to become the assistant men’s and women’s wrestling coach at Lindenwood University-Belleville in Illinois in July 2018, where he coached the Lynx’s first-ever NAIA All-American. Less than a year later, he was promoted to head coach of the program, his first collegiate head coaching position.
“Starting a program is a unique challenge, but an incredible privilege,” Karwath said. “I am excited to get to work to build a program that the Kansas City area and the wrestling community can be proud of. Go Eagles!”