The Apex Wrestling School Co-Founder and Owner/Operator of Apex South
Also a native of the City of Champions, Garfield, New Jersey, Dane Tabano has been with The Apex Wrestling School since its inception in South Hackensack, New Jersey in 2001. As a lifelong friend and wrestling teammate of Damion Logan’s since toddlerhood, Tabano was an integral part of getting The Apex Wrestling School curriculum and program off the ground, as well as maintaining its integrity.
A 2001 graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and Political Science, Tabano enjoyed a successful collegiate wrestling career for the Wolverines. He wrestled for two different head coaches (Dale Bahr and Joe McFarland), and compiled a 30-16 overall record at the 184 and 197-lb. weight classes. Tabano spent much of his collegiate career competing with eventual four-time NCAA All-American and U.S. Olympian Andy Hrovat for the 184-pound starting role.
A multiple-time medalist at the Michigan State, Edinboro, Northern Iowa, and Miami (OH) open tournaments, Tabano’s career highlight was a fall over Jared Williams of Purdue, which sprung Michigan past the Boilermakers in the Big Ten standings and earned him Most Outstanding Wrestler and Michigan Athlete of the Week honors. Tabano was also a multiple-time Academic All-American and Academic Big Ten honoree.
As a high school student-athlete, Tabano wrestled for both St. Joseph Regional and Bergen Catholic high schools in Bergen County, New Jersey. He was a two-time state medalist, emerging as the highest Region 2 state place-winner his senior year in 1997 with his bronze medal finish. A multiple-time district and regional champion and first team All-Bergen County Team member, Tabano was also a Cadet and Junior National All-American in Freestyle and Greco-Roman for Team New Jersey.
Tabano’s coaching career is highlighted by his time as a head assistant coach at New York University’s NCAA Division III wrestling program. He started at NYU in 2003, following a stint as the assistant wrestling coach at Glen Rock High School from 2001-02, where he helped produce the school’s first Bergen County champion since 1966. While at NYU, Tabano earned his USA Wrestling Silver Level Coaches’ certification and remained an active Freestyle competitor on the U.S. senior level at the 84kg weight class.
After his time at NYU, Tabano moved on to an assistant coaching role at Paramus High School in Paramus, NJ. At Paramus, Tabano coached the school’s first individual state finalist since 1988 (Apex member Nick Alpher, 2011). In 2010 Tabano also led the Spartans to become one of only a select few public schools in New Jersey to defeat his alma mater, Bergen Catholic, in a regular season dual meet in nearly 2 decades.
Outside of his endeavors in the sport of wrestling, Tabano is a Renzo Gracie Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and a 2008 IBJJF Pan American No-Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion in the light heavyweight division. Tabano is also a New Jersey licensed high school English teacher, a New Jersey licensed mental health counselor, a school counselor at Ocean City High School, and the superintendent of the seasonal Beach Fees division in the City of Ocean City municipality.
Dane lives in Ocean View, NJ with his wife, Ashley, and their three daughters, Maribella, Liliana, and Amarina.
Tabano’s proudest moment as a wrestling coach: “Cornering my daughter, Maribella, when she won a NJ state 10u freestyle title. A VERY close second would be the Paramus High School “White Out” home dual meet (January 2010). In only my second season as an assistant coach at Paramus High School, we took a team that had around 6-8 Apex members on it and became one of the first NJ public high school wrestling teams in decades to defeat a Bergen Catholic team [that had several Paramus residents on its roster] in a regular season dual meet”