LEXINGTON, Va. – Heading into his 28th year at the Virginia Military Institute, head wrestling coach John Trudgeon has announced the hire of former Purdue University standout Ben Sprunger as an assistant coach for the program.
Sprunger, a 2006 graduate of Purdue, comes to Lexington after serving as the head coach of the Boiler Elite Wrestling Club in West Lafayette, Ind from 2010-12. The club served as the wrestling club for Purdue, as well as for youth from kindergarten through high school. While working with the club, Sprunger received an Olympic training waiver, allowing him to train and practice with the Boilermakers’ varsity program.
From 2006-07, Sprunger worked with Athletes in Action in Nalchik, Russia, an organization that works on an international level by building spiritual movements through sports. During his time in Russia, Sprunger worked with and competed against some of Russia’s finest wrestlers.
During his final season at Purdue, he served as the University’s AIA president. Volunteer work through the Christian Ministry Fellowship took Sprunger to Campinas, Brazil where he helped build churches and start a college ministry during the summer of 2005.
Sprunger has coaching experience at several levels, including a year (2007-08) as the head assistant coach at Manchester College, an NCAA Division III school in North Manchester, Ind. He also served as a volunteer assistant coach at Lake Wood High School in 2009-10 and was a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater following his final season of athletic eligibility.
After transferring from Carson-Newman College, Sprunger enjoyed two seasons on the squad at Purdue. A two-year letter winner from 2003-05, Sprunger was given the Red Mackey Award in 2004-05. Given annually since 1971, the honor is bestowed on a Purdue student-athlete who shows responsibility, loyalty, integrity and concern for others.
Prior to arriving in Lafayette, Ind., Sprunger was a two-year letter winner at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. During the 2000-01 season, Sprunger was named All-American.
Sprunger will not be the only former Carson-Newman Eagle on Post as he joins head football coach Sparky Woods, a 1976 Carson-Newman alumnus.
A prolific high school wrestler, Sprunger claimed the Indiana state title in the 1999-2000 season for Bluffton High School in Bluffton, Ind. The season prior to his state title, he claimed second and took seventh in 1997-98.
Native to Bluffton, Ind., Sprunger now resides in nearby Buena Vista, Va. with his wife, Heide, and son, Bear.