Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2020-21 AAU Wrestling National Coach of the Year for the Southeastern District: Josh Bosken. Currently the head coach of the famous Higher Calling Youth Wrestling Club in Cleveland, Tennessee, Coach Josh Bosken was named winner of the prestigious honor at the AAU’s annual meeting this week in Orlando, Florida.
Higher Calling Youth Wrestling gives young wrestlers of all skill levels, grades K through 8, a chance to learn the essentials of practice and competition. The goal of the program is to train and maintain the highest-quality athletes to help continue the finest wrestling program in Tennessee.
“Since he became involved in the Cleveland/Higher Calling Wrestling Program, Coach Bosken has helped coach 95 Tennessee High School state medalists and 28 Tennessee high school state champions, plus contributing to 16 high school, middle school, and elementary team state title-winning teams,” said Dave Bennets, AAU Executive Committee Member. “Josh has played a crucial role in all three phases of the program – middle school, high school, and Higher Calling. He understands how important each phase is and the AAU is thankful for what he means to Higher Calling.”
Bosken is a former Tennessee High School State Champion and former wrestler at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He served as a past head coach of the Cleveland High School Blue Raiders wrestling team and has been involved with the high school and middle school wrestling programs at Cleveland since 2007.
In 2017, Coach Bosken took the reins of the Higher Calling Youth Wrestling Club based in Cleveland, Tennessee, after running the club successfully earlier in his career.
Bosken-trained athletes, male and female, have also had great success on the National Wrestling scene. Wrestlers who’ve gone through his Higher Calling Program have won National Championships and many have earned All Americans Honors on the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.
“Coach Bosken’s Bosken Trained Wrestling Camps have earned the reputation of being one of the best camp opportunities offered in the United States today,” said Bennets. “The AAU is thrilled to award Josh with one of our highest honors. He exemplifies great coaching at every level.”
The Amateur Athletic Union is an amateur sports organization based in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It has more than 700,000 members nationwide, including more than 100,000 volunteers.
Businessman Allan Jones, the largest donor to Higher Calling and Cleveland wrestling — as well as to crosstown rival Bradley Central — said Bosken deserves the AAU recognition.
“Bosken is the single biggest reason that Cleveland is the most dominant wrestling force in Tennessee history. He should also get Cleveland’s ‘Realtor of the Year’ award because we have families who are relocating to Cleveland and purchasing houses just so their kids can wrestle for him through Higher Calling,” said Jones. “After we won the state wrestling tournament this year, I watched the wrestlers swarm Bosken immediately so they could hug and thank him.”
Jones credited Bosken for 2021 — the “Greatest Year in Cleveland Wrestling History” — when Cleveland broke a TSSAA record by having nine wrestlers in the state championship finals and set another TSSAA recording by having six Individual State Champions. The team also had three All Americans: Trae McDaniel, Ashton Davis, and Cody Chittum, with Chittum being ranked number one in the nation.
“Bosken’s passion and work ethic, along with his ability to connect and motivate young wrestlers, is why he has won this important award from the AAU,” said Jones, who also noted that Bosken has coached four wrestlers who became state champions as freshmen — the most of any Tennessee coach.
“Bosken is a huge part of the reason that Cleveland has now won state championships in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, and again this year,” Jones said. “Thanks to Josh Bosken’s coaching, this is the #1 wrestling town in the state of Tennessee. Any team wanting to win a state championship must come through Cleveland first.”
Jones recalled that Bosken became involved in Cleveland wrestling back in 2006, when the businessman was asked to help jumpstart the overall city wrestling program.
Jones developed a “six-year plan” to bring the Blue Raiders to the forefront of state wrestling elite. He hired a national athletic recruiting firm to find a head coach for the Blue Raiders and eventually hired Heath Eslinger. Bosken helped Eslinger and later took over the kids club to ensure Cleveland’s pipeline would stay full.
“Since 2008, Cleveland has finished first or second every year,” Jones said. “We won it all eight times and were runner-up five times.”
Jones, who donated both the Jones Wrestling Center at Cleveland and the Bradley Central High School Wrestling Center, ended his remarks on Bosken by saying:
“Josh Bosken proves that it is the coaches, not the buildings, that win championships.”