On May 8, 2009, Shawn Charles, a four-time All-American and two-time national runner-up at Arizona State University, was named the head coach of the Sun Devil wrestling program. An Arizona native and one of the more successful Sun Devils in the program's history, Charles becomes only the sixth head coach in the program's 47-year history.
"We are very excited to announce Shawn Charles as our head wrestling coach and feel that his drive to succeed and his determination to bring Arizona State wrestling back to the top of the standings is exactly what we are looking for," Senior Associate Athletic Director Don Bocchi said. "His passion for this great sport is very evident and we believe he is going to put everything he has into helping our program return to the success he and his teammates enjoyed when they competed. We also found his commitment to the total student-athlete concept on pace with our desires to help these young men succeed in the classroom and in the community both now and in the future. We are encouraged by the experiences he has had elsewhere and we are looking forward to seeing what Coach Charles and his Sun Devils achieve in the years to come."
"I am excited to be back at my Alma mater and to be the guy to put it all together and make Arizona State successful once again," Charles said. "It is a great opportunity to come back to Tempe and strengthen this program as a coach and I am looking forward to goals I have set for this team in the coming years. One of my goals is to get the community involved with our program. I really believe that wrestling is a viable form of entertainment and I would really like to see the communities around Arizona get involved in supporting this form of entertainment.
"I also think it is important for our student-athletes to be recognized not only for their achievements on the mats, but in the classrooms as well," Charles said. "I want to win championships, but I also want to make sure our young men are succeeding academically and setting their sites on the future by graduating from college. For me, I know the environment, I know the community, I know the boosters, I know the alumni and I know the task that is front of me and I know that makes me the best person to help drive this program forward and do the things I need to do to ensure that Arizona State wrestling stays a Division I program and wins championships."
Charles will have a wealth of knowledge at his disposal as he works to bring the program back to the top of the national and conference standings after being there himself as a Sun Devil. In his years in Tempe (1990-93), Charles helped the Sun Devils to three Pac-10 Championships (1990, 1991 and 1993) while also helping the team place among the Top 6 nationally in each of the those three seasons, including a national runner-up finish in 1990 and a fourth-place showing in 1993. He earned All-America honors in all four of his years on the mat at 126 pounds, placing fifth as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore before taking national runner-up honors in his final two campaigns.
A two-time Pac-10 individual champion (1992 and 1993), Charles collected 103 victories in his collegiate career, ranking him tied for 19th on the program's all-time wins list. He also ranks 19th in career dual-match victories after he posted a 44-15-5 record in those matches. Charles also was a two-time competitor in the East-West All-Star Dual and captured the Las Vegas Invitational twice while also finishing second at the prestigious Midlands Championships once during his Sun Devil career.
Upon earning his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from ASU in 1993, the native of Tucson, Ariz., began his coaching career that has taken him all over the nation in the collegiate ranks and around the world as a representative of USA Wrestling. Charles, who has worked with programs in the Big XII Conference, the Mid-America Conference (MAC), the Ivy League and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), began his coaching career at Iowa State (1993-95) where he served as an assistant coach before he returned to the Valley of the Sun to serve as the head assistant coach at Phoenix College (1995-96).
From there, he returned to the Big XII where he worked as the assistant freestyle wrestling coach at Oklahoma (1996-97) before Central Michigan brought him as its head assistant coach (1997-01). While at CMU, eleven wrestlers earned All-America status and one was crowned national champion in 1999. Overall, the team recorded a pair of Top 10 national finishes as well.
Charles was then named the head assistant coach at Nebraska (2001-05) and helped the Corn huskers to two Top 10 finishes with 11 All-Americans and one national champion. With 22 All-Americans, two national champions and four Top 10 team finishes on his resume, Fresno State brought Charles back to the West by naming him the head coach. Despite qualifying four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, including future Sun Devil Greg Gifford, the program was discontinued after his only year, sending Charles across the nation to Brown (2006-07) for a one-year stint as it's assistant coach.
Over the past two seasons, Charles worked with a Big XII program, this time helping Missouri's program to a seventh-place finish in 2009 and five individual All-America honors. All told in his brief stint in Columbia, Mo., the Tigers earned eight All-America honors and had one individual champion. All told in his 18 years of coaching, Charles has worked with 39 NCAA All-Americans and three individual NCAA champions while also helping teams to Top 10 finishes as the NCAA Championships on seven occasions.
But his dedication to excellence was not only felt on the mats, it was recognized in the classroom as well. Three of his wrestlers were selected for scholar-athlete of the year honors while each of his coaching stops has seen him work with at least one national all-academic honoree. He also has participated in countless community activities at each of his coaching stops while also working to create and/or improve club wrestling programs in those areas.
Away from the collegiate coaching scene, Charles also has coached internationally, which includes him being named to the 2009 University World Team coaching staff after serving on the U.S. Olympic staff in both 2004 and 2008. A coach with Sunkist Kids, Charles also has served as a coach for two World Cups (2003, 2007) and has helped lead the U.S. at two international tournaments in the Ukraine. Most recently, Charles worked with MU wrestler Ben Askren, who represented the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics.
As an international competitor, Charles claimed 14 titles, including victories at tournaments in Iran, Manitoba (Canada), Slovakia, Bulgaria and Turkey while also winning the U.S. Open, the NYAC International and the Pan-American Championships. Along with several U.S. national titles, Charles twice placed second at the World Team Trials and was an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic freestyle team.
Charles began his wrestling career in Tucson and competed for Santa Rita High School. While at SRHS, he captured three state titles over the course of his final three years and also won the division championship all three years.
Charles and his wife, the former Jill Hansen, are the parents of two boys, Shawn Charles, Jr. (seven) and Titus "Tyty" Charles (five).
The Charles File
ASU's first four-time wrestling All-American (5th in 1990, 4th in 1991, 2nd in 1992, 2nd in 1992)
Two-time Pac-10 Conference champion at 126 pounds
Graduated from Arizona State in 1993 with B.S. in Computer Information Systems
Ranks 19th (tie) on the ASU all-time victories list (103)
Native of Tucson, Ariz., where he won three state titles at Santa Rita High School
Has coached in four Division I conferences, including the Big XII, Ivy, Western Athletic and Mid-American
Has worked with 39 NCAA Division I All-Americans and three individual NCAA Champions
Helped teams place among the Top 10 nationally in the NCAA Division I Championships seven times
Charles' Coaching Resume
2007-09 - Missouri (assistant coach)
2006-07 - Brown (assistant coach)
2005-06 - Fresno State (head coach)
2001-05 - Nebraska (head assistant coach)
1997-01 - Central Michigan (head assistant coach)
1996-97 - Oklahoma (assistant freestyle coach)
1995-96 - Phoenix College (head coach)
1993-95 - Iowa State (assistant coach)