Coaching Staff

The Wrestling Academy was established as a way to give wrestlers a place to expand their wrestling skills from the youth level through high school.

In 2004, Dustin Kawa opened TWA with his childhood friend Francois McDaniel. The duo modeled TWA after Arturo Holmes' training facility in Atlanta, where they honed their wrestling skills as kids.
The Wrestling Academy's initial mission was simple — to make sure the wrestlers were successful right away. And they were, winning the youth state championship with 16 wrestlers in their first season. Since then, TWA has grown to be the most successful wrestling training facility in Georgia.

The original TWA location was in Snellville in a 3,500 square foot wrestling room in a 20,000 square foot multi sports complex at Sports Academy. More than 100 wrestlers trained at the first facility and TWA quickly grew as one of the premier places in Georgia to train. The growth of TWA prompted the move to a larger facility and easily accessible at its current location in Lawrenceville.

TWA has approximately 500 wrestlers training at its facility yearly, ranging from ages 4 to 23. A large member base gives wrestlers a great place to find different levels of competition. In addition, training sessions are set up so that each wrestler receives the appropriate amount of coaching.

Dustin Kawa


Dustin Kawa

Owner / Head Coach

Dustin Kawa is the owner and founder of The Wrestling Academy. Kawa was a very accomplished wrestler from the youth level through college and has been active in the sport for 24 years.

He started wrestling at age 7 at Stone Mountain Youth Wrestling and had immediate success. Kawa won three-straight youth state titles before ever losing a match. He finished his youth career with seven state titles, setting a new Georgia record that still stands. His record was approximately 400-8, which included national tournaments and never lost to a wrestler in his age group or weight class.

Kawa's success continued at Shiloh High School in Snellville where he was a four-time state placer and a three-time state champion. He wrestled for Steve West, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and Steve Hassenger. After placing third as a freshman, Kawa won state the next three seasons. He compiled a 154-3 record in high school and led the Generals to top-10 finishes at the state tournament in 1996 and 1999. Kawa was named Georgia Wrestler of the Year in 1999 and became the first Georgian to win the senior national tournament. He received a full scholarship to North Carolina State, a rarity for Georgia wrestlers.

Much like his youth and high school career, Kawa enjoyed a great deal of success at the college level. He was a four-time All-ACC selection and a two-time ACC champion. He qualified for the NCAA national tournament all four years and graduated in 2004 with a degree in communications.

Quick Facts:

• Won a Georgia record 7 Straight youth state championships
• Two-time AAU national champion
• Three-time high school state champion at Shiloh High School
• Compiled a 154-3 record in high school
• First Georgia to win Senior National Tournament in 1999
• Four-time NCAA qualifier at N.C. State
• Two-time ACC champion

Terry Allison


Terry started wrestling in Alabama and was an All-American. Terry was a resident athlete of The United States Olympic Education Center @ Northern Michigan University.  He was a University National Champion (Greco-roman) at 50kg. He trained under USA Olympic coach and, world silver medalist, Bulgarian Olympian Ivan Ivonav and was ranked on the Olympic ladder for 4 years.  Terry qualified and participated in the 2005, 2006, and 2007 World Team Trials. He was a member of the 2005 Greco Jr. World Team. Terry brings knowledge and experience in world level competition in Freestyle, Greco, and Collegiate wrestling to the TWA team.


Quick Facts:

• 2004 University Nationals Champion in Greco-Roman
• 2004 University Nationals Runner-up in Freestyle
• 2005 University Nationals Runner-up in Greco-Roman
• 2005 Fila Jr Nationals Runner- up in Greco- Roman
• 2005 Flia Jr Nationals World Team Member
• 2006 University Nationals Runner-up in Greco-Roman
• 2006 5th @ Hungarian Gold Grand prix (international)
• 2006 4th @ NYAC international tourney
• 2006 5th @ Sunkist international Tourny
• 2006 World Team Trials Qualifier
• 2007 University Nationals Runner-up in Greco Roman
• 2007 7th @ US Senior Nationals Open in Greco- Roman
• 2007 World Team Trials Qualifier

Joey DeNova


Joey started wrestling in Washington when he was 5 years old. He moved to Georgia and competed with Team Georgia for six years and coached for them for another three years after. Joey was a resident athlete at The United States Olympic Education Center where he wrestled 60kg, 59kg, and 66kg. He trained under former Olympic Coach Rob Hermann and World Champion Aghassi Manukyan of Armenia where he was ranked on the Olympic ladder for four years. A qualifier in the 2013 and 2014 World Team Trials while also qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials. FILA Junior National Champ and University National Runner-Up, Joey has competed and achieved success at various level.

Quick Facts:

  • Kolbotn International Cup Champion (Kolbotn, Norway)
  • Panama Nationals – 2x Runner-Up (Santiago, Panama)
  • FILA Junior National Champion
  • FILA Junior World Team Trials Runner-Up
  • University Nationals Runner-Up – 3x All-American
  • U.S. Open All-American
  • 2012 Olympic Trials Qualifier
  • 2x World Team Trials Qualifier
  • 2x GHSA State Champion, 3x Finalist
  • 3x Fargo All-American
  • USAW Folkstyle All-American
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