GREAT FALLS — Matt Atwood is the new head women's wrestling coach at the University of Providence.
The hiring was announced on Wednesday. Atwood succeeds Carlene Sluberski, who was hired the head coach of the Eastern Oregon women's wrestling team. EOU announced the hiring of Sluberski on Monday.
Atwood was previously the head coach of the women's wrestling team at Midland University in Nebraska. Before he was the head women's wrestling coach at Midland, he was the assistant coach for the men's and women's teams. Atwood was a student assistant at Concordia University (Nebraska) for a semester after graduating from the school in 2016 and then was a volunteer assistant at the school for one year.
As a wrestler, Atwood was first-team all-conference in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and won the league title during his senior season at Concordia. In high school, he won an individual state title and was a member of three Kansas state championship winning teams.
"I couldn't be more excited to be at University of Providence and in the great state of Montana," Atwood said in a UP release. "The support system at UP since I have arrived has been nothing short of amazing and I'm thankful for everyone making me feel at home."
This season, UP is ranked ninth in the NAIA preseason poll.
"I'm happy to see the program was ranked 9th this season," Atwood said in the release. "Being in the Top 10 is a good starting point, but I think I speak for the girls by saying we have higher goals than just being in the Top 10. I truly believe we can have one of the top teams in the country this season, and I am excited to watch them compete."
Atwood hasn't met the team in person but has been getting to know them over Zoom calls. He knows the upcoming season will be highly unusual during the coronavirus pandemic, but is excited to see his team make the most of the opportunity given to them.
"COVID-19 has taken a toll on these athletes, no doubt about it," Atwood said in the release. "It took a National Tournament from them last season. I hope we can safely navigate through it and come out on the other side stronger and more motivated, because of it. I expect to have a lot of fun watching this team and program grow. I'm very excited for the future of this program and to watch these young ladies develop not only athletically but academically and spiritually."