Billy Ashnault hired as new CBA wrestling coach
Christian Brothers Academy has named Billy Ashnault as its new head wrestling coach, the school announced early Friday afternoon.
Ashnault, who wrestled at South Plainfield High School and then collegiately for the Scarlet Knights and also Lock Haven University, spent the last six seasons years as Rutgers' Director of Wrestling Operations under head coach Scott Goodale. In that position, Ashnault was responsible for coordinating logistics between the wrestling team and the athletic department and also assisted the coaching staff. Over the last six seasons, the Scarlet Knights have produced eight NCAA All-Americans and finished in the top 25 of the team ranking in each season.
"This is a great moment for CBA Wrestling as Coach Ashnault is one of the most highly respected and exciting young coaches in the scholastic wrestling world right now," said CBA athletic director Vito Chiaravalloti. "We could not be happier to welcome him to Christian Brothers Academy. He not only comes to us with incredible experience and knowledge at both the high school and collegiate levels, but he also has a coaching philosophy consistent with our Lasallian mission. I'm confident that Coach Ashnault will quickly build a program that will compete for state titles, but more importantly will make the CBA wrestling community extremely proud."
"It's an absolute game-changer," Goodale said. "He really loves the sport and he comes from an unbelievable family. When you get one Ashnault you get them all and it's a great wrestling name in the state of New Jersey. He has a great work ethic and has been my right-hand man from an organizational standpoint for the last six years. He's had as much to do with building the program as anyone. He's great with kids, great with alum and exactly what CBA needs."
During his career at South Plainfield, Ashnault went 128-25 and was a four-time state qualifier, including reaching the 112-pound NJSIAA final in 2005. He also helped the Tigers win three NJSIAA team state championships. He began his college career at Lock Haven before transferring to Rutgers where he was a senior captain. Overall, Ashnault was a three-time NCAA qualifier with an 81-66 record and finished top 12 in the nation as a senior. He graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and Sports Management.
"It's humbling to be the next head coach at a unique institution like Christian Brothers Academy, where they are committed to excellence in both the classroom and athletics," Ashnault said. "My goal is to bring excitement to the CBA wrestling community while building a program that our alumni, parents and fans can be pleased with. I look forward to the challenge of continuing the great wrestling tradition at CBA."
Ashnault takes over for Russ Witt, who resigned in April after seven seasons leading the Colts. The Colts experienced the program's most successful years under Witt, winning the 2016 Shore Conference Tournament championship and claiming the NJSIAA District 22 team title three straight times from 2014-2016. Sebastian Rivera won the 2016 NJSIAA 113-pound state championship to give the Colts their first individual state champion since 1969.
Ashnault will be tasked with rebuilding a program that has lost a ton of talent to graduation over the last few years. State medalists Richie Koehler and Cameron DiGiorgio graduated this past scholastic year, as did state qualifier Sam Houston. The Colts will return four region qualifiers - Sam LaCorte, Derek Smith, Max Bean and Chris Gallegos. LaCorte is the team's returning wins leader after going 25-11 as a junior.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.