Head Coach - James Tietema
James Tietema is in his first year as head coach, after two seasons as an assistant and co-coach, for the Muskegon Community College Jayhawk wrestling team. He helped coach the Jayhawks to a 9th place finish at the 2014 NJCAA Tournament with 3 All-Americans – totaling 6 for the past two years. Prior to coming to Muskegon Community College, Coach Tietema spent 9 years teaching and coaching at the high school level in Florida. The last two seasons of his prep-school coaching career, his teams claimed back-to-back state titles.
Coach Tietema is a graduate of the University of Findlay with a BS in Education – Intervention Specialist. While wrestling for Findlay, he finished as an All-American at the NCAA Division II National Tournament. He wrestled for Coach Gaffner at Muskegon Community College in 1999 and finished 2nd at the NJCAA National Tournament. He had a season record of 20-1, was the Team Captain and voted the Co-MVP of the ‘99 team.
Coach Tietema spent his prep career at Holland-West Ottawa High School, wrestling for Karl Nadolsky. He was a 4x state qualifier and a 2x place winner. He captured the Division 1, 160 lbs. State Title his senior year with a record of 47-2. Coach Tietema was also a 4-year Team Captain, a 2x Team MVP, and recorded 100 falls.
He lives in Spring Lake, MI with his wife Catherine, daughter Gabriella and son Braeden.
Assistant Coach - Ron Gaffner
Coach Ron Gaffner returns as an assistant coach for the Jayhawks after 25 years as head coach. His primary duties include recruiting, academic advisor, and fundraising for the Dan Burt Memorial Wrestling Scholarship. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a BS degree in Education and an MA in Athletic Administration.
During his tenure as head coach of the Muskegon Community College wrestling program the Jayhawks acquired 332 dual meet victories, with Coach Gaffner placing third among NJCAA coaches in total wins. His teams placed in the top ten of the national tournament eleven times. They won 6 MCCAA championships, 13 NJCAA Region XII championships, and had 7 individual national champions and 59 All-Americans. Over 100 of his wrestlers earned Academic All-American status.
Coach Gaffner was selected MCCAA Coach of the Year six times, Region XII Coach of the Year thirteen times, and NJCAA Coach of the Year once. He has been an active participant in the National Junior College Coaches Association where he held the office of secretary/treasurer, vice president, and president for four years. He was NJCAA Man of the Year in 1981, is a member of the NCAA National Wrestling Hall of Fame, NJCAA Hall of Fame, Michigan Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and Greater Muskegon Area Hall of Fame.
Coach Gaffner lives in Whitehall with his wife Nadine.
Assistant Coach - Thomas Jenkins
Thomas Jenkins is in his second year as a coach with the Muskegon Jayhawks. He wrestled for the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks in 1998-1999 under Coach Gaffner. He was a Freestyle/Greco-Roman National Team Qualifier and holds the career escape and reversal record at Wayland Union High School, where he was a two-time MVP and All-State wrestler.
Coach Jenkins has over 14 years of coaching and motivational experience at all age levels and received a BS in Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University. He also served for six years in the United States Marine Corps.
Coach Jenkins lives in West Olive with his wife Jess and two sons, Ira, 11, and Wyatt, 8.