Jack Effner — Effner’s legacy in wrestling may have begun as a student-athlete at Indiana State (1984-1986) but it continued well into his professional life as one of the top collegiate wrestling coaches of all time. A graduate of Terre Haute South High School where he won the state title at 132 pounds with a 35-0 record, Effner competed for Indiana State from 1983 to 1986 and was named a Freshman All-American by the Amateur Wrestling News.
He competed in the NCAA championships three times, earning All-American status twice (1985 and 1986) with a sixth place finish at the 1985 NCAA Championships and a fifth place finish at the 1986 NCAA Championships, both in the 142 pound weight class. His 128 victories stand third on the Indiana State All-Time list. He won amateur titles in the Sunkist Open and New York Athletic Club tournaments in the 149-pound class and spent less than one season for the Philadelphia Stallions of the now-defunct pro-wrestling league.
His dominance as a wrestler was equaled by his success as a collegiate wrestling coach. Effner began his coaching career as an assistant at Clemson (1987-1988). He also was an assistant at the U.S. Military Academy for one season 1988-1989) before taking over as the head coach. Effner never had a losing season in nine campaigns at Army as he compiled an 87-45-5 record. He coached 17 cadets to the NCAA Championships. The 87 dual meet wins are the third highest in the U.S. Military Academy’s history. His best season at Army was 1989-90 as the Cadets were 15-3-1 and finished third in the Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship. He was equally successful at his next stop. Effner took over as head coach at Cleveland State in May 1998 and led the Vikings to a 71-91-3 record in 10 seasons. He coached 37 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. His best season at Cleveland State was the 1999-2000 campaign where he led the Vikings to a 9-8-1 record, the program’s first winning season in the previous eight years.
Effner moved on to Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach, Va., in 2008 to serve as middle school counselor and wrestling coach. He led Cape Henry to the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools championship, a sixth place finish at the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association championship, and coached the school’s first National Prep Champion, Will Mason. He is fourth member of the Indiana State wrestling team to be inducted into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame. Past inductees include Bruce Baumgartner (1998), Bob Ferraro (2004) and Doug Reifsteck (2006).