The wrestling coaches offices are located on the fourth floor of the Malkin Athletic Center at 39 Holyoke St., Cambridge, Mass., (Driving Directions).
The David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling
Jay Weiss, The David G. Bunning ’88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling, and his coaching staff have put the Harvard Wrestling program on the map.
The two-time EIWA Coach of the Year has mentored two national champions, 17 EIWA champions and 19 All-Americans during his 25 seasons at the helm of the Crimson, creating a culture of excellence never seen before. Prior to Weiss' arrival in Cambridge, Harvard boasted just seven All-Americans in almost 80 years.
During his time at Harvard, Weiss has guided wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in 23 of the last 24 seasons, with multiple student-athletes reaching the national meet in 20 of those years. In addition to the six wrestlers who qualified for NCAAs in 2001, Harvard has placed four at the meet seven times under Weiss. The Crimson finished 20th as a team at NCAAs in 1999, 22nd in 2002, 2004 and 2007, 23rd in 2010, 28th in 2000 and 29th in 1998.
Weiss helped Jesse Jantzen ’04 and J.P. O’Connor ’10 to heights seen only once before in Harvard history prior to Weiss landing in Cambridge. The duo captured NCAA titles in the 149- and 157-pound weight classes in 2004 and 2010, respectively. John Harkness ’38 was the first to accomplish the feat at 175 pounds in 1938.
Success on the national stage begins at the conference level and the aforementioned 17 EIWA champions trump the four Harvard boasted prior to Weiss’ arrival. From 1998 to 2007, at least one Harvard wrestler won his weight class with two individual champions each in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2006.
The culture of excellence on the mat has translated to the classroom under Weiss as Harvard won the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Top Grade Point Average award in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016, 2017 and 2018. In 2017, the Crimson broke the record for highest team GPA with a 3.586 effort, a mark established in 1991. The Crimson finished 2011-12 ranked second in the team rankings and has placed in the top 10 of the team standings 14 times under Weiss.
One of the longest-tenured coaches at Harvard, Weiss is well-regarded in the wrestling community. He was the recipient of the 2009 Bob Bubb Coaching Excellence Award, presented annually to one coach across each division of collegiate wrestling, and is intended to recognize an outstanding coach who epitomizes the qualities and characteristics of a role model and mentor for developing young student-athletes. Weiss was also named the Wrestling USA 2008 Massachusetts Person of the Year for his support and development of the sport at the youth level, and earned the 2007 United States Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Award, which is presented yearly to a collegiate and high school coach that represents the core values of the U.S.M.C. in their passion for wrestling and leadership.
Always giving back to the sport, Weiss has also worked with the Massachusetts Junior National Team and at clinics, raising the level of training, technique and competition throughout the state, while participating in the first Student-Athlete Development Coaches Forum held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in the summer of 2011.
"Coaching at Harvard is a humbling experience," Weiss said. "We attract individuals who have a passion to succeed both in and out of the athletic arena. Harvard not only allows student-athletes to do this, but facilitates this action in every way. Our success on the wrestling mat in the past number of years is a true testament of highly motivated individuals who have a dream to succeed. If they throw themselves into this school, all their talents blossom. The end result of a Harvard wrestler after four years of this program is what the real prize is. That is so rewarding to see."
Weiss, a 1990 Franklin & Marshall graduate and four-year starter on the wrestling team, was an EIWA runner-up and an NCAA qualifier as a senior. He graduated with the school record for most wins in a season with 29, and ranked second in all-time career wins.
His wife, Jennifer, is the head coach of the Harvard women's volleyball team. They have two sons, Colby, 18, and Keegan, 15.