Chionuma, who has served the past year as a wrestling team graduate assistant at Ouachita, succeeds Kevin Ward who was named wrestling head coach Aug. 1 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“We’re excited to have Chris Chionuma during this interim time to continue the wresting tradition here at Ouachita,” Sharp said. “The fact that Chris has assisted with our program for the past year will help us maintain and build on Ouachita’s outstanding wrestling program.”
“I am honored to continue the tradition that Coach Ward has built here at Ouachita,” Chionuma said. Noting that the Ouachita Tiger wrestling team has “an outstanding senior class,” he added, “Our goal is to bring back another trophy accompanied by OBU’s first national champion in this upcoming season.”
Chionuma holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Oklahoma State University. While wrestling at Oklahoma State his senior year, he was the Big XII wrestling champion in his weight class. He previously wrestled at Lindenwood University where he was an NAIA national champion and a three-time All-American.
While in college, Chionuma’s other honors included being named an Academic All-American and serving as wrestling team captain at both OSU and Lindenwood. He also has served as an Athletes in Action assistant coach in Mongolia. He is pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration.
Ouachita’s wrestling program, established in 2010, has had 10 All-Americans and two national runner-ups in just four seasons of competition. The Tigers finished fourth nationally in 2014 and gained a program-record five All-Americans. Ouachita wrestling has finished in the top 15 in the nation each of the past three seasons.