UW Health Sports Medicine 

Barry Davis
Barry  Davis

Head Coach

Barry Davis begins his 22nd season officially at the helm of the Wisconsin wrestling program, but enters his 23rd season as part of the Wisconsin wrestling program after serving as interim head coach during the 1993-94 season. Davis has an overall dual record of 216-154-11.

The 2015 season saw Davis help sophomore Isaac Jordan earn his first Big Ten championship and second All-America honor. Davis also helped sophomore Ryan Taylor and junior Connor Medbery to claim their first All-America honors. Under Davis, three of the seven NCAA qualifiers clinched All-American status, tying for the fifth-most All-America honors in a single season and the most for the program since 2011.

In his 20th season at the pinnacle of the program, Davis' squad received multiple All-America honors for the first time since 2011. Senior Tyler Graff (133) became the program's fourth four-time All-American after a second-place finish at the NCAA championships. Freshman Isaac Jordan (157) earned an All-America honor after seventh-place finish, becoming the fourth member of his family to acquire the accolade while wrestling at Wisconsin.

The 2013 season saw Davis help Tyler Graff earn the third, and highest, All-America honor of his career, placing third at 133 lbs. Under Davis, Graff became the ninth three-time All-American in Wisconsin history. Davis also helped Jackson Hein and Connor Medbery qualify for their first NCAA championships appearances.

In 2012, Davis helped Ben Jordan become an All-American at 165 lbs., joining his father, Jim Jordan, and uncle, Jeff Jordan, on the prestigious list.

Davis led the Badgers to their third-straight top 10 finish at the NCAA Division I Championships in 2011, and coached four of the seven wrestlers who qaulified to All-America honors.

In 2010, Davis won the biggest accolade of his coaching career when he was named the National Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Davis helped Wisconsin to a fourth place finish at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, tying for best finish in school history and best under his reign. In addition, he helped aid then-sophomore Andrew Howe to his first NCAA Division I title at 165 lbs. and a perfect 37-0 overall record.

His Badgers finished the 2008-09 dual season with a 9-8-0 overall mark and 3-5 mark in the Big Ten. The 2008-09 season marked the 11th time (and 10th-consecutive year) Davis's teams have won at least nine duals. More impressive, Davis's 2008-09 squad finished ninth at the NCAA championships, tying for the best finish in his 15-year tenure. Five wrestlers qualified for the 2009 NCAA Championships and Wisconsin brought home three All-Americans including runner-up at 165 lbs., Andrew Howe, Kyle Ruschell (3rd at 149 lbs.) and Zach Tanelli (4th at 141 lbs.).

Davis reached a milestone during the 2007-08 season by recording his 150th career win with an 18-15 victory over Oklahoma on Feb. 21, 2008. This made him just the second UW coach to do so, joining George Martin who coached for 32 years and finished 182-163-12.

Davis was installed as the 15th head coach in Wisconsin history on March 4, 1994, after serving as the program's interim head coach for the 1993-94 season. In his 18 seasons leading the Badgers, Davis has firmly instilled his values of commitment, intensity, loyalty and energy on the UW program.

During his tenure, Davis has coached seven individuals to 11 Big Ten titles, including the latest, Andrew Howe, who captured the 165 lbs. title as a true freshman in 2009. Howe is the only true freshman during Davis's tenure to win a Big Ten title. Davis also coached Donny Pritzlaff (165 pounds, 1999, 2000, '01), Keith Davison (190 pounds, 1994), Matt Hanutke (118 pounds, 1994), Eric Jetton (126 pounds, 1997, '98) and Kevin Wilmot (167 pounds, 1997) Tom Clum (125 pounds in 2004 and 133 pounds in 2006) to conference championships.

Additionally, 21 of Davis' wrestlers have earned All-America honors while two have claimed NCAA titles. Pritzlaff won back-to-back national championships in 2000 and 2001 and Jeff Walter won the 1996 heavyweight title. Sixty-twi wrestlers have qualified for the NCAA championships under Davis' direction, including current Badgers Tyler Graff, Jackson Hein, Connor Medbery and Cole Tobin.

As a collegian at the University of Iowa, Davis was the winningest wrestler at the winningest program at the university level. Davis graduated in 1985 with a career record of 162-9-1 (.945). He still holds school records for wins in a season (46 in 1982) and career wins (162) and is fourth in career-winning percentage. For his accomplishments, Davis was inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in September of 1998.

Davis competed at 118 pounds in 1981-82, at 126 pounds in both the 1982-83 and 1984-85 seasons, and was a redshirt during the 1983-84 season to compete in the Olympics. He dominated the Big Ten, becoming one of only nine wrestlers in history to win four league titles.

The Iowa teams on which he competed were equally dominant, winning Big Ten championships in each of Davis' four years. The 1983 Iowa team had an unprecedented nine Big Ten titlists. After his senior season, Davis was honored as the Big Ten's Athlete of the Year, one of only two wrestlers to win the prestigious award.

On the national level, Davis was a four-time All-American and a three-time NCAA champion. After placing seventh as a freshman, Davis won national titles in 1982, 1983 and 1985. Iowa won NCAA team titles all four years that Davis competed. Following the 1985 NCAA Championships, Davis was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament.

Taking a year off from collegiate competition paid off for the senior-to-be when he earned a silver medal (125.5 pounds) at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Davis was also a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic team that competed in Seoul, South Korea. He attempted to make his third Olympic team in 1992, but was eliminated at the U.S. Trials. Davis was also runner-up at the 1987 World Championships after winning the Olympic Sports Festival.

A 1985 graduate of the University of Iowa, Davis began his coaching career as a graduate assistant to legendary head coach Dan Gable from 1986-87. Davis was an assistant coach at Iowa from 1988-92, helping guide the Hawkeyes to four top-six finishes, including NCAA championships in 1991 and 1992. He coached former UW assistant coach Bart Chelesvig from 1987-92.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he captured three state titles and posted a 102-6-1 career record at Prairie High School, Davis was born on Sept. 17, 1961. He married the former Nan Doak in 1986. Nan is a former NCAA champion long distance runner at Iowa and was an alternate on the 1988 United States Olympic team (10,000 meters). Barry and Nan are the parents of two daughters, Amanda and Amy and the Davis family currently resides in Madison.


  • Born Sept. 17, 1961
  • Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Graduated from Iowa in 1985 with general studies degree
  • Married to Nan and father of two daughters, Amanda and Amy

Davis' Career Highlights

  • 1983 Pan-Am Gold Medalist
  • 1983 World Team Member
  • Two-time Olympian (Los Angeles, 1984 & Seoul, South Korea, 1988)
  • 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist at 125.5 lbs.
  • Three-time NCAA champion (1982, `83, `85)
  • Four-time All-American
  • One of nine wrestlers to win four Big Ten titles
  • 1985 Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Year
  • Member of the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame
  • 1986 World Bronze Medalist
  • 1987 World Silver Medalist
  • Coached eight Big Ten champions (Trevor Brandvold, Keith Davison, Matt Hanutke, Eric Jetton, Donny Pritzlaff, Kevin Wilmot, Tom Clum and Andrew Howe)
  • Coached 22 All-Americans (Kevin Black, Tony Black, Trevor Brandvold, Kole Clauson, Tom Clum, Keith Davison, Ryan Flaherty, Tyler Graff, Matt Hanutke, Craig Henning, Dallas Herbst, Grant Hoerr, Andrew Howe, Eric Jetton, Kyle Massey, Donny Pritzlaff, Kyle Ruschell, Zach Tanelli, Tyler Turner, Cory Wallman, Kevin Wilmot and Jeff Walter)
  • Coached three NCAA champions (Andrew Howe, Donny Pritzlaff, Jeff Walter)
  • Coached 63 wrestlers to a total of 91 NCAA appearances in 16 seasons at Wisconsin
  • Recognized by National Wrestling Hall of Fame as 2007 Distinguished Member
  • Has the second-most wins of any Badger coach and reached the 150-win milestone during the 2007-08 season.
  • NWCA National Coach of the Year in 2010
  • Helped Badgers tie for best finish in school history in 2010 when Wisconsin placed fourth at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships

"From the very beginning, no one has ever questioned Barry's loyalty and intensity with wrestling and life in general. Because of these inherent and developed qualities, he continues to move forward in his personal and professional life." --Dan Gable, Iowa Head Coach, 1976-97

"I would like to commend Barry Davis for his relentless pursuit of serving, promoting, and protecting the sport of amateur wrestling. He has been extremely supportive of many National Wrestling Coaches Association initiatives that have positioned amateur wrestling to thrive in this new Millennium." --Mike Moyer, National Wrestling Coaches Association

"What I like about Barry is he has a quiet intensity. I've never met anyone that appears to have as much energy as him. I think he has shown his commitment to this program. I believe Barry Davis and Wisconsin can win a national championship together. The program is moving in that direction and a lot of it has to do with Barry." -- Pat Christenson, former UW NCAA champion

"Barry Davis was a winner as a wrestler and he is a winner as a coach. He is a great husband, father, person and teacher. I can think of no better person for a parent to turn their son over to for four years than Barry Davis." -- Duane Kleven, former UW wrestling coach

Year School W-L-T Big Ten NCAA
1994* Wisconsin 7-6-1 -- --
1995 Wisconsin 8-4-1 7th T18th
1996 Wisconsin 10-5-0 8th T15th
1997 Wisconsin 7-11-1 7th T16th
1998 Wisconsin 8-9-0 5th 19th
1999 Wisconsin 4-12-1 6th 25th
2000 Wisconsin 11-5-1 T9th T9th
2001 Wisconsin 10-10-1 6th T10th
2002 Wisconsin 11-10-0 9th 25th
2003 Wisconsin 9-7-0 9th 23rd
2004 Wisconsin 17-6-0 7th 29th
2005 Wisconsin 11-3-2 5th 15th
2006 Wisconsin 9-5-1 7th 21st
2007 Wisconsin 19-3-0 2nd 13th
2008 Wisconsin 14-4-1 6th 17th
2009 Wisconsin 9-8-0 4th 9th
2010 Wisconsin 8-10-0 3rd 4th
2011 Wisconsin 11-6-1 4th 10th
2012 Wisconsin 5-12-0 12th 41st
2013 Wisconsin 7-8-0 10th T-27th
2014 Wisconsin 12-6-0 7th 16th
Career: 20 Seasons 207-150-11

* Davis's year as interim head coach

Wrestling Post Season
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