One of the finest wrestlers to ever come from New Jersey has returned to his home state. Two-time NCAA champion Joe Dubuque joined the Princeton staff as assistant coach for the 2012-13 season, and he has already made a major mark in both mat coaching and recruiting efforts.
His most recent season was one of Princeton's most successful in decades. Princeton went 11-4, meaning it had both double-digit wins and fewer than five losses for the first time since the 1980-81 season; it also shared second place in the Ivy League. Five Tigers placed at the EIWA Championships, including four underclassmen, and each will return next season.
Princeton also earned its first ever team win over Binghamton, its first over Hofstra since 1989 and a dramatic comeback win over Boston University, when the Tigers scored 20 points in the final four matches to clinch a 23-20 win. They also earned road wins over both Harvard and Brown, as well as another comeback home win over Columbia.
Dubuque, the 2005 and 2006 NCAA champion (125) had five years of experience as an assistant coach, including two with his alma mater, Indiana. Prior to that, he spent three years as an assistant with Hofstra.
During his first season, he worked with a young set of lower weights, while Princeton's projected starters at 125, 133 and 141 all missed the seasons with injuries. He also helped attract several nationally ranked recruits who could be early dividends during the 2013-14 season.
Dubuque, a native of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was a scholastic national champion as a senior and a two-time state champion at Glenn Ridge High School. He posted a 23-5 overall record and was ranked 12th as a freshman, but he missed the Big 10 Championships due to an injury.
A year later Dubuque qualified for his first NCAA appearance with a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and then went on to earn All-America honors with an eighth-place showing at the NCAA Championships. He finished the year with a 34-9 overall record, a 21-2 dual mark and captured the 125-pound title at the Northern Iowa Open.
In 2004-05 Dubuque placed third in the Big Ten Championships and then defeated three ranked opponents on his march to claim the 125-pound title at the national championships. He became the first Hoosier grappler to claim a national championship since Brian Dolph captured the 150-pound title in 1990. He finished the year with a 29-3 overall record, an 18-1 slate in duals, a 6-1 mark in the Big Ten and a 12-2 mark against ranked opponents.
As a senior during the 2005-06 season he recorded an overall mark of 28-1, including a 7-1 record against ranked opponents; he defeated three ranked foes at the NCAAs en route to the 125-pound crown. Dubuque became just the second Hoosier in Indiana history to capture two national titles and the first Hoosier to register back-to-back NCAA crowns. He helped lead Indiana to an 18th-place finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships.
While wrestling at Indiana, Dubuque posted an overall record of 114-18, including a 69-6 dual mark and a 19-6 Big Ten record in four years.
Dubuque earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation sports management from Indiana. He has a wife, Jaime, a son Chase and a daughter Sienna.