1. First off, can you list the years and schools that you have coached at in your career and all of your coaching accomplishments? (Club, Middle School, JV, Varsity, College etc…)
1995-1996 Assistant with Ashbrook High School
1996-1998 Assistant with Crest High School
1998-2000 Head Coach Ashbrook High School
2000-2002 Head Assistant UNC-Pembroke
2002-2003 Head Coach East Lincoln High School
2003-2007 Head Coach Bunker Hill High School
2007-Present Head Coach Rock Hill High School
2. How did you get started in wrestling? (competing as a kid, wrestling in MS/HS, or your kids got you involved etc…)
I started wrestling when I was 8 years old with the Gaston Grapplers at Ashbrook High School in Gastonia, NC
3. What were your accomplishments in high school, college, etc…?
1992 4A NC State Individual Runner-up for East Gaston High School
1993 4A NC State Individual – 3rd Place for East Gaston High School
1991 and 1992 NC State 4A Dual Team Champions (started at 103 and 112 on those teams respectively)
1991 NC State 4A Individual Tournament Champions
3 Year Career Record (9th grade wasn’t part of high school at that time)
Wrestled at UNC-Greensboro on their first team ever
Wrestled at Gardner-Webb University
Coach of SC 4A State Championship teams: 2009, 2014, 2015
Coach of SC 4A State Runner-up teams: 2008, 2010, 2013, 2017
Coach of State Dual Team Semifinalists: 1998, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
Coach of 4A State Individual Tournament Runner-ups: 2009, 2012, 2017
Coach of 91 state qualifiers, 41 state placers, 15 state runner-ups, and 10 state champions
4. What is your favorite memory in wrestling so far?
Wrestling has given me so much over the course of my time in it, both as a competitor and coach. If I had to pick just one moment it would be our team winning the SC 4A State Dual Team Championship in 2009. This was my first state championship as a coach and represents a career accomplishment that I had chased since my coaching career began.
5. What are your expectations for your teams this year?
We feel that, provided we have everyone healthy, we can compete for a state championship.
6. Can you highlight some of your wrestlers on this year’s team and your thoughts on them?
Jose Mora-placed 3rd at states and continues to develop into a strong wrestler
Justin Beck-returns for his senior campaign after placing 3rd at states, very technically sound wrestler
Ely Rhoads, Quay White-both got significant mat time last year and we expect big things from both this year.
Danny Love-continues to amaze me with the way he can step in at any moment and not only compete but win over some of the best kids in the state
Andrew Simpson, Michael Ramirez, Tristen Bledsoe-ready to have
break out years after winning JV states last year
Bailey Wilkins-defending state champion whom I feel has gotten tremendously better in the off-season
Alex English, Zach Spicer-solid
jv state placers from last season who will be major contributors this year
Noah Reynolds-State runner-up from last year who continues to improve
Brandon Mills-if not for an injury during the upper state tournament we felt he would have been at least a state placer last year, he is without a doubt the leader of this team and its hardest worker
Tylik Simril-had a very good camp this summer and will be very solid for us this year
Christian Santiago and Jose Nunez-both have a year’s worth of varsity experience now and will be solid contributors
Bradyn Marko-after wrestling up several weights last year, in service to the team, Bradyn looks to wrestle at a much more natural weight this year.
7. How big is your high school team? (MS, JV, Varsity or just high school kids etc…)
We have JV and Varsity-usually about 40-50 kids
8. Do you have any recruiting tips for helping young coaches out there who are starting teams or coaching for the first time to recruit wrestlers for their team?
Having started a program from the ground up at Bunker Hill, I would suggest being sure to put your kids in a position to be successful, especially early on. I would be cautious about scheduling too many elite teams in those first few years. Remember, we want them to fall in love with the sport. It’s hard to do that if
your getting your brains beat in every match.
9. What does your preseason look like in preparation for the upcoming season?
We train twice a week during the
Now what about your in-season, any specific training you do
different from others or things you focus on more?
We try to progress through the season to where we are peaking as a team at playoff time. The first month of the season is a lot of teaching and drilling. During December we shorten practice a bit and it is more focused on polishing/correcting the things we are seeing at matches and tournaments. January is somewhat a time to heal the body after the grind of December,
however we still have to maintain a high level of wrestling with the region matches being played out. It is the goal of our team to have everyone healthy and in the lineup when the playoffs start. After the
playoffs we focus on
fine tuning and preparing the individuals who are moving on to the upper state and state tournaments.
11. What does your
off season look like in the spring/summer?
We practice twice a week during the spring and go
to camp in the summer. I want kids to go be kids during the summer and have a life outside of wrestling. I think it becomes a matter of overkill if all of our kids are wrestling year round with no
12. Do you have specific diets for your wrestlers during
season? And what about after they make weight, what do you have your athletes put in their bodies after weigh-ins?
Most of our kids are pretty educated about what to eat after
weigh ins. There are some that we do talk with about eating quality foods after
13. How do you feel about the new rules regarding the
two piece uniform? Are you in favor of it? Is your team going to wear them? Do you think it will impact recruitment?
We will not be wearing them. I don’t think it really makes a difference in recruiting.
14. What do you think of the new rules for getting near-fall and pins out of bounds? What strategies will you go through with your athletes about the team techniques & situations in this area?
I think this will be great for wrestling. More kids will have to continue wrestling on the edge of the mat regardless of their situation. We will incorporate these type situations into our situational
15. Give us your thoughts on dual
sport athletes or do you think kids should specialize in sports?
I recognize that we do have a select few athletes that are just wrestlers and that is
great however, my overall view
for the majority of our kids is that they not specialize in just one sport. I want our kids to play as many sports as possible. If all a kid ever does is wrestle, what does he have to look forward to in November? I want kids to be kids and go have a wide variety of athletic experiences.
16. Has wrestling improved in the state of South Carolina over the years? Why do think this?
Absolutely, in the 11
years I have been here I think the sport has grown tremendously. There is much more depth in regards to the number of quality teams
17. What is the most difficult thing you face as a South Carolina high school wrestling coach?
I think the primary struggle we all deal with as SC wrestling coaches
is getting our kids recruited by collegiate wrestling programs. We, as a state, need to stop pushing folkstyle tournaments in the spring and put all of our efforts into a freestyle and Greco program. We also need to be sending a full team of SC kids to Fargo for Cadet/Junior
nationals every year.
18. Should there be a limit on the number of matches that wrestlers can have during the season? Or should it be the number of dates a team can compete? Explain
We have a limit in place already with the number of dates we can wrestle. I don’t see why it is a problem if we get as many matches as we can out of those allotted dates. I am not in any way shape or form in favor of a set number of match limit.
19. Who is going to be the top teams in the state this season? Top individuals?
Just in terms of our division, I think 5A will have several
top notch teams: River Bluff, Ashley Ridge, Fort Dorchester, Dorman, Hillcrest, Westside, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Mauldin, Lexington, and hopefully us, I’m sure I left someone off that is going to have a very successful season.
In terms of
individuals I don’t really feel its appropriate to talk about kids from other teams. I hope they, as well as our kids, have a very successful season in pursuit of their goals and dreams.
20. What is one question you would like to ask other successful coaches like yourself in our state?
I think this goes back to what I discussed earlier. What avenues and resources do you use to get your elite athletes recruited to compete at the collegiate level?