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NEO Press Releases

Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), are proud to announce Joe Renfro, NEO’s head wrestling coach, as the 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association Wrestling Coach of the Year. Based on the vote of all the NJCAA wrestling coaches, he received the 2014 award based on an undefeated dual season (12-0) and a national team championship. 

Renfro joined as NEO’s head wrestling coach in the spring of 2013. NEO had a prominent NJCAA program that was established in 1975 under the direction of Coach Ray Judkins and ended in 1993. Twenty years passed without a team, but NEO reinstated its program for the 2013-2014 by first hiring Coach Renfro. NEO is the only two-year school in Oklahoma to offer intercollegiate wrestling and captured its first national wrestling championship this spring in Spokane, Wash. 

Renfro was a four-time Kansas high school state placer, winning a state title in the process. He then moved on to wrestle for former Labette coach Jody Thompson from 1995-97. At Labette Community College, he earned two All-American titles and an academic All-American honor. 

He then received another All-American honor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, which is where he finished his collegiate wrestling career, as well. 

“Joe Renfro is a winner. He sets high expectations for himself, his coaches and his student athletes. His commitment to excellence extends to the classroom and the community as well. Coach Renfro is a great fit for NEO,” said Dr. Jeff Hale, NEO president.

Renfro returned to his former institutions and became assistant coach at Nebraska-Kearney from 1999-2000 then joined Thompson at LCC in 2000. He took over as the Cardinals' head coach in 2003.

Coach Renfro has previously won the NJCAA National Coach of the Year honors in 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2013.  His teams have won five national titles, including the 2014 title won by NEO. Under Renfro, NEO qualified all 10 wrestlers for the 2014 National Championships and recorded a record nine All-Americans. He is the first NJCAA coach to lead two colleges to national titles in back-to-back seasons.

Renfro and his wife, Elisabeth, who is a kindergarten teacher at Washington Elementary School in Miami, have three children, Lincoln, 9, Isabella, 8, and Jace, 6. 


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