“Donnie will bring a heightened level of energy to our program,” said Popolizio. “As his former coach at Binghamton, I have been able to watch him grow as an athlete. I’ve been extremely impressed with his professional development, and he has proven he can help produce national champions at the Division 1 level.
“Donnie brings creativity and youth with him to Raleigh, which will have a major impact on all our student-athletes. Because of his history with myself and his former teammate, Nick Gwiazdowski, the transition will be smooth as he knows and understands the #PackMentality expectations and our culture.”
Vinson joined the Cornell coaching staff as the program’s volunteer assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, and was on staff there for three seasons, which were among the program’s best ever. Vinson helped tutor three NCAA champions and two runners-up and 11 total All-Americans. Cornell qualified a school-record nine wrestlers for NCAA’s in his first two years and won New York State, Ivy League and EIWA titles each year Vinson was on the sidelines.
He spent the 2013-14 season as a graduate assistant at Binghamton. He helped develop a pair of NCAA qualifiers, including EIWA runner-up Cody Reed at 197 pounds, who later become just the second Bearcat wrestler in program history to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. Binghamton had five place winners and tied for seventh in the school’s debut at the EIWA Championship.
Vinson is the career wins leader at Binghamton with a 132-27 record and was a two-time Colonial Athletic Association Wrestler of the Year. The 2012 All-American at 149 pounds was named the CAA Championship’s Most Outstanding Wrestler as a senior and claimed the athletic department’s Athlete of the Year award. He was also chosen to receive the John Bilos Alumni Award, given to the top senior male for outstanding career performances as a Bearcat. Vinson is one of just four wrestlers to defeat Kyle Dake, Cornell’s four-time NCAA champion, during his collegiate career.
He earned his undergraduate degree in marketing from Binghamton in 2012, and then went on to earn his master’s in student affairs administration in 2014, also from Binghamton.