Mike Mena is in his ninth season as an assistant coach for the Indiana wrestling program. Mena came to Indiana after spending three years training with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, coached by the legendary Dan Gable. He trained in international freestyle wrestling and operated his own youth wrestling school full-time, where he coached several state and national champions.
Mena works extensively with the Hoosier lightweights. His tutelage has led to a 125-lbs. national championship for Indiana in three of the past four years. Last season, Mena guided Angel Escobedo to an incredible 34-1 season that ended with the national title after watching Joe Dubuque snag back-to-back 125-lbs. national championships in 2005 and 2006 while donning the Cream and Crimson.
Dubuque became the first wrestler in IU's 97-year history to win back-to-back national championships. Mena was also crucial in the development of Brandon Becker, a three-time All-American.
In 2004-05, Mena helped coach Becker, Dubuque and current assistant coach Pat DeGain to All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. He has helped coach 10 IU wrestlers to All-American status, more than 28 NCAA qualifiers and helped bring IU its first NCAA champion in 15 years in Dubuque. In 2005, Mena helped lead the Hoosiers to a top-10 and top-five finish at the NCAA and Big Ten Championships, respectively. Mena has also seen 20 student-athletes receive Academic All-Big Ten recognition, as well as four NWCA Scholar Athletes.
Mena is a three-time U.S. freestyle national team member, earning that status by finishing in the top three at the U.S. World Team Trials in 1999, 2001 and 2003. Mena also competed at the 2000 Olympic trials in Dallas, finishing fifth, while at the 2004 USA Olympic Trials in Indianapolis and placed seventh. At the Acropolis Tournament in Athens, Greece, Mena placed second at 55kg/121 pounds.
Mena first made the U.S. National team in 1999, claiming the bronze medal at the U.S. World Team Trials in Seattle. He also won gold medals at the New York Athletic Club International, Sunkist International and the 2000 Olympic Qualification International in Mexico. By winning the gold in Mexico, Mena ensured the U.S. would qualify the 119-pound weight class to the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Additionally, he has placed six times at the U.S. senior level Freestyle National Championship.
Mena graduated from the University of Iowa in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in art. At Iowa, he garnered All-American nods four times with a career record of 118-24. In 1997, Mena grappled his way to a national final appearance and captured a Big Ten title in 1995. Mena also appeared in three Big Ten finals and won Midland titles in 1994 and 1995.
The Iowa graduate played an important part on three national championship teams and served as a co-captain at Iowa in 1997. That season, Mena helped lead the Hawkeyes to a Division I NCAA Champion record for most team points scored (172).
The Rock Falls, Ill., native is a graduate of Newman Central Catholic H.S. Mena is the only four-time undefeated state champion in the history of Illinois wrestling. He finished his career with a 157-0-1 record. While in high school, Mena earned first-team All-America status as an underclassman. He also served as a member of the Cadet and Junior World Teams. In addition, Mena played football on the 1991 State Championship team.
Mena, and his wife Kayle, reside in Bloomington with their three daughters, Elisia, Makaley and Gracie.