I grew up in a small community near Waterloo, Iowa. We spent summers playing any sport we could get enough neighborhood kids to participate in at the local park…
This typically rotated between football, baseball, and basketball. I learned to compete in that park in Iowa. There were never parents, coaches, or officials around to oversee the game. If we couldn’t decide if something was out-of-bounds, a foul or off sides we did it over. The second time, you made sure to make the play, but in a more convincing way.
This environment was a no-excuses, get-the-job done environment that stitched the fabric of my competitive drive. When I was nine years old I got a paper route. I would get off the bus, deliver the papers, and be at the park before teams got picked…
I was introduced to wrestling in 5th grade. I was 10 years old. I didn’t know it then, but wrestling would change my life; competing until I was 26 and coaching for decade and half after that.
My first year I went to three tournaments and took 3rd place at each. Not great results, but not bad either… I was hooked. After the season, I begged my Mom to take me to the mall so I could get a book on lifting weights. I talked my Dad into buying me a weight set… the old cement type with plastic around the weights.
I spent that spring and summer designing different weight programs in the basement, experimenting to determine what worked best. By some stroke of luck, I didn’t injure or kill myself...
Next year I was defeating teammates that were beating me in practice my first year... That is when the value of hard work became evident.
In high school, I wrestled for Dan Mashek, who at one time was the winningest coach in the state of Iowa. I ran cross country, played baseball, and football. In the spring, I would go to baseball practice after school. I would go to wrestling club practice after baseball practice, twice a week.
Along with my coaches and teammates I owe a lot of my success in wrestling to the school janitors. They would let us in several hours before school started so we could run halls, lift weights, and wrestle.
I won two state championships and was offered a partial scholarship to attend the University of Iowa. Many people thought I was crazy… Two state championships from the smallest division in Iowa didn’t exactly qualify me as a ‘blue chip recruit’. I was going to wrestle for the great Dan Gable and the Hawkeyes, who were the #1 team in college wrestling.
After visiting I knew it was the place that would make me the best athlete/wrestler/version of myself. The culture was amazing. The swagger those wrestlers exuded was something I wanted.
I learned a lot during my years at Iowa. I was a 3x All-American and NCAA Champion. I learned how to tap into an unknown potential. These types of lessons are best learned in person and hard to understand second-hand.
After graduating from Iowa with a degree in Health Promotion, I became the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Wrestling Team. The team went on to win four consecutive NCAA Titles during those years and won 4 out of 5 while I was competing. During my time as a Coach at Iowa, I trained to make the 2000 US Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team. I fell short of that goal and soon I was looking to move on…
I was unsure of what I would do I just knew I needed a change of scenery and a new purpose. I was approached by former Iowa Hawkeye to move to Virginia and help him coach wrestling at Christiansburg High School and run a club in the off-season.
The first year we took second in the state and then we started winning state championships. After winning five titles, the head coach took another job and I took over Christiansburg. I stayed nine years, winning nine consecutive state team titles (14 consecutive in all). We set the state record for most consecutive team titles in any sport in the state of Virginia.
I stepped down from coaching in 2015 and toward the end of my career I found myself looking for a bigger challenge. I wanted to make a bigger impact...
I wanted to share what I learned from my great mentors with other coaches, parents and athletes in an effort to help as many as possible tap their fullest potential. I wanted to help people experience the feeling of satisfaction and growth available through sports.
Coaches and parents always want what’s best for their athletes. Sometimes they just need a little guidance. In my early days of coaching, I yearned for a playbook for coaching kids and interacting with parents.
I feel it’s my responsibility to share knowledge that can help others, especially youngsters. That’s the reason I have created this site, along with many other experts and coaches. If you’re here, I assume you are in a position to mold young athletes. I want you to succeed by providing guidance for those around you in their journey through youth sports.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and best of luck.