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Remember The Wrestler: Jimmy Rodgers, Oakland-Riverside

You know what’s one of the coolest characteristics that many wrestlers possess? Their ability to shift their demeanors, moods, attitudes, etc. depending on the reality of the situations they are in. I’ve seen guys who seem to transform into different people the moment they step on a mat…generally speaking, the shift is from nice and cordial to intense and competitive.  My brother, Justin is one of the nicest, most harmless people I’ve ever met….when he’s not on a wrestling mat.  It was so entertaining how the moment it was time to compete, he could seemingly flip an inner “switch” that changed him from “nicest guy in the world,” to “a total madman hell-bent on crushing your dreams to prevent you from crushing his.” To succeed in wrestling, especially at the level Jimmy Rodgers did, generally people have to possess a “mean” streak or have tendencies of being a hard-ass. I mean, it goes with the territory with wrestling being a sport in which the outcome is decided via battle of wills.  You have to be tough to just get through this sport and when it comes time to compete, most guys almost need to have a swagger or unshakable confidence if they have any intentions of being great.

Most of us have heard the negative stereotypes and perceptions that some non-wrestlers have about us.  A lot of people associate wrestling and wrestlers with being cold, robotic, remorseless, stubborn, etc. And let’s be real, we’ve all met our share of wrestling pals who can be described with one or more of those terms, but for most wrestlers, this terminology only applies to how they carry themselves on the mat, for they are nice off of it. However, these labels will follow them off the mat as well in terms of the non-wrestler’s perception/opinion, for some of these descriptive terms almost become part of a wrestler’s identity in the eyes of non-wrestlers who lack a legit frame of reference. 

Whenever a non-wrestler goes off on a “wrestling is for mean robots that like to roll around with other men in swimsuits” rant, I always wonder which wrestlers they met that gave them this impression. It’s hard to think of who these guys may be… It’s MUCH, MUCH easier to think of the wrestlers that you know did NOT influence these peoples’ perceptions of wrestlers.  And with that said, if a non-wrestler makes a comment like this, I will immediately assume that they never met Jimmy Rodgers…and if they do someday, they would likely feel stupid once they realize how far off they were in their generalizations of wrestlers.  I am not exaggerating when I say that Jimmy Rodgers may be the nicest, most empathetic and kind-hearted people I’ve ever met in my life. Not just in wrestling…ever. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met. When I talk to him, I almost have to remind myself repeatedly about who he is, for when I watched him compete in HS, he seemed like an intense, stone-cold gamer who would unflinchingly inflict any intense legal discomfort necessary on his opponents to ensure that he would walk off the mat with his hand raised. Kind of intimidating, really. I figured he would be a nice guy, for off the mat, most wrestlers are nice, but possibly the nicest person I ever met in my life? I wasn’t expecting that. In my limited conversations with him, it became clear almost immediately just how thoughtful and empathetic he is of other people.  He is the type of guy who may catch a life-changing break in life, but would still turn down if it meant that someone else would be hindered in any way by him accepting the “break.”  Helping other people and being considerate is not something Jimmy Rodgers has to remind himself to do…. It’s just the way he is. He is a naturally great, down to Earth dude with a heart of gold…. and he also happens to be one of the toughest wrestlers this state has ever seen at the HS level. Just beamed with confidence and self-awareness out there. Here is one example: When he was a Junior, he did one of the most courageous things I’ve ever seen someone do in the state finals. He was on top and leading 6-5 with 19 seconds left and instead of riding his guy out for the state title, he decided to let him up and try to take him down, which he DID!!! THAT’S confidence! Jimmy Rodgers is the man!!!

Also, he runs a youth club these days, and I want everyone to be aware of it, for I fully believe he has a unique approach to the sport that will be a success.  Click on this picture and it will lead you to his wrestling club’s page:





He put his heart into this! I hope you all enjoy his story as much as I do!





What year did you graduate?



How did you do in youth wrestling? Did you compete at state? How did that go?

I think I won AAU State approximately 7 times…and had just as many freestyle and Greco titles in there as well growing up. I also won some Regional titles in Freestyle and Greco also. But I was an athlete. And when summertime hit, I was ready to play baseball with my friends. So after Regional was done. I was done. These days they would have said your crazy…win Regionals and not go to Fargo! But back then…it wasn’t like it is now. I was just done and ready for baseball and mom knew that. Lol!

Oldie but goodie .. Daren Kopeck, Dean Leaders, Chad Ryan, Gary Eliff, ? Woods, David Kjelgaard, and I. We might have won it. I know 3 of us did and 4 top 3. 🤯


What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?

As a kid I started off Wrestling for the Omaha Chargers…Then I moved to Council Bluffs and Wrestled for The Hawks…The Martinez Boys were amongst my teammates and after that I went on the wrestle for the Panthers and Keith Massey. Keith introduced me to Freestyle and Greco and took me all over the Midwest! Winning many State and Regional Tittles on the way to HS. At the Panthers David Kjelgaard and the Paulson Boys were some of my teammates 🙂


Who were some of your heroes growing up? Did you have any family members involved with wrestling?

My mom is my hero! Single mom that raised 3 kids! She took my older brother to practice when I was 5 and they asked what I was doing…brought me out on the mat and that was it..never looked back from there on. I was a natural. My brother, not so much lol. But he was always my biggest fan as I grew up! He was always in my corner. His name is Justin Thompson. Different dads. His dad died of cancer early on in life. My brother and I have always been super close in life! My sister the same! She was the team manger in HS! She saved many matches in HS by knowing the score better than the scoring table did! Honestly! She should be inducted to our town’s hall of fame for all she did for our team over the years! And you can quote me on that! Her name is Eva Rodgers and I’m her biggest fan as far as a team manager and what she did for our team!

My brother wrestled in youth and some in HS. He was always there for me! I remember him always being in my corner at State Youth Tournaments and Regional Tournaments. When I moved to Oakland when I was in 1st Grade the stories of my uncles began. My uncle Terry Eyberg placed 2nd at State in HS for Oakland his Sr yr and 4 conference championships. And my uncle Martin 2 conference championships 2nd jr year and 1st senior year at State. We have to be one of the stronger families in Southwest Iowa in regards to Wrestling tradition and we are proud of it! And now my son Maxum Rodgers is wrestling as I coach and lead his team across the country to have fun in a sport that we fun together! We make it fun with his teammates! We make it a real family feel! It’s all in the name Warriors Wrestling Family! And my Son is my driving force behind it all!


What was your record in HS?

159 – 11 . 82 pins . 432 takedowns.


How did you do at state in HS?

6th Freshman, 1st Sophmore, 1st Junior 46-0, 1st Senior


Any notable rivals you faced in Youth/HS Wrestling?

Rivals… Mark Rial…Friend, but we were head lock rivals at times when younger!

Nick Mitchell was a Rival that always had Mike Land coaching him in his corner as kids. Jason Evans from Bettendorf was a tough Rival when younger at AAU State! I wrestled a Bob Koenig I think when I was younger at AAU state as well in the finals. In HS-Thad Anderson from Logan Magnolia and Matt VanMeter from Guthrie Center. One thing I will mention…Mark Van Beek won my bracket my Freshman year…I beat him 13-2 my Jr. Year in the semis and I was picked to lose as Gable watched in the stands. The guy who beat me for 5th/6th my Freshman year…I beat my Sophomore year in the Finals. So the comeback trail was sweet!

Oh! And Matt Sterling! Duh!!! Big rival! Wrestled Sterling in my Junior Year State Finals match and then ended up having to wrestle him first round my senior year because he lost to Tyler Nixt at Districts and I barely got by him again! Tim Backer was the guy from Clarksville along with Sterling that I beat my Sophomore year in the finals. He beat me my freshmen year for 5th and 6th. Clarksville can’t like me too much lol…


What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?

I remember my Sophomore year cutting way too much weight and losing matches I knew I shouldn’t be losing because of not being mentally focused. I was wrestling not to lose instead of wrestling to win and for love of the sport! I still recall that bus ride up to the state tournament…looking out the window upon the fields. I thought to myself, “I’m done cutting weight like this ever again! I want to wrestle for me! Because I love the sport! I love being out there letting it go!” And that’s what I did when I got up there to the barn! Won my first on the way to 3!

At ISU I still look back and wonder what things would have been like if I would have just kept getting stronger and not cut to 141! I was 160 and a strong 160 walking around! I had no right cutting my body to 141! 149 was ok and I should have kept battling for varsity there! But that’s life! You live and learn! And hopefully I can pass my life lessons down to my wrestlers along the way!


How would you describe your wrestling style?

I was very tough on the feet! Great hips! I could throw! Good double legs, high clothes, and single legs. On top I was a bar arm guy! I was very hard to keep down! Great stand up and a good standing switch also!


How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?

Thad Anderson and Matt Van Meter my Sophomore year were the only guys in HS that I really went back and forth with. Other then Blu Whale that upset me w/ a headlock my senior year at Griswold Tourney…boy you know an upset in the making when you here a gym erupt like it did that day….I tried to come back but just couldn’t recover from it


Who was your most influential coach?

Mitch Anderson was my most inspirational coach! He was like a father figure to me through HS…if I didn’t have a ride to a morning workout….even if there was a foot of snow…he would drive an hour out of his way to get me to get me to a morning workout! He was more than a coach! He was a great role model! I have modeled a lot of what I do with my youth program after his methods. I think a little more outside the box with the technology we have these days. But his roots are still there as building blocks to what I do for my youth program today. I owe my coach Mitch Anderson a great deal for helping me be the man I am today to my family and wrestling program! I also want to mention and give thanks to Dave Putnam for all his words and pump up moments! And Ryan Danker for all the work he spent in the room with us especially the mat time!

I also owe Keith Massey a world of credit also! Not only Keith but Keith had a supporting staff of many that helped me as well…Dave Paulson, Chuck O’Hara, Dwayne Kjelgaard, and Barry Coates. One thing about Keith is that he always made it fun for me and interesting! Made me look at it with open eyes and want more! That’s my approach with my wrestlers today! Make them fall in love with it so they keep wanting to come back for more…if they don’t then why are we doing it?


Was your team competitive in HS/college?

HS Team…won the team title in 96’ dual team runner up in 96’
I always say…if you have seen the movie HOOSIERS…that’s what we got to live in Oakland when we won it in 96’ in Wrestling,

In college, I was part of the #1 recruiting class in the nation 1997 ISU Cael Sanderson, Joe Heskett, Carlos Blanco, Jesse West, Jimmy Rodgers…


How cool was it when Oakland Riverside won state?

I remember getting back to the hotel after winning the state title…it was the Embassy Suites. So it was hollowed out in the middle. All the way up each floor was going crazy! It was unbelievable! I think they almost shut the place down! I also remember how loud the barn got! It will never be the same…I don’t care what any wrestling fan says about Iowa HS state wrestling. Vets/the barn is special! When something special happened in that place it was like a firework went off in that place!

Story time…before my semis final match my Junior year with Mark Vanbeek, chosen to win I might add. My assistant coach came down all fired up and pulled me aside! He grabbed me and looked right into my eyes and said Gable just sat mat side to watch your match…now go show everyone up there why they are wrong for choosing him to beat you! Out the gates…hit him for 5 on a headlock, then ducked him for five to his back. Then another late takedown. Ended up with an escape also. Won 13-2. I was so pumped for that match! Never forget it!


How is your wrestling club coming along? What are some of the names of the guys you have in your club?

My wrestling Club is Warriors Wrestling Family. We are just that…Family! Growing up wrestling was like a second family to me. And is to a lot of people out there today! Most understand this in our sport today. I had family in Ft. Dodge, family in Omaha, family in Oakland, and family in Council Bluffs. Was I related to them all? No but they were wrestling family. And at times we spent more time together then real extended family! My club means the world to me! I want to give my son and these kids an experience that they will never forget! Something that they will have to build upon for the rest of there life! We work hard but have fun doing it! It’s kind of a thing but I do give out a lot of nick names…my son is White Tiger…we have Chisel, Beastin, Coy the Destroyer, Sway, Queen Izzy, Kong, and Metcalf! There have been many others and there will probably be many more. I have learned so much from my interaction with these kids! Probably as much as they have learned from me! I pour all I have into our practices! And I never thought I would love being a coach more than I loved wrestling, but it’s true! These kids are special to me! They are our future! And it’s up to me to give my best to them! Thank you God for the opportunity to do what I do with them!


What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Overall I have 2 best wrestling accomplishments. Yes I may have won 3 state championships but that’s not one of them.

1. I earned my college degree because of wrestling! That was the most important thing to achieve! Wrestling was always supposed to be a tool to get me to college and get that degree! I graduated HS with a 3.78 GPA bc I worked hard for my grades. And the same with college! At one time I was working a full time job as I was a student athlete at UNO bf stepping away from the sport. At 42 years old we still joke around that I still have one more year of eligibility left. And I still have thoughts of going back to get my teaching degree. Who knows stranger things have happened!

2. I pride myself on accomplishing getting a youth program off the ground. And taking kids from not knowing a stance to competing on the youth national stage. It had been an amazing past 4 years and I hope this year 5 can still be something special with the current Covid situation bc the kids need a healthy outlet like wrestling in their lives! It has been life changing for not only the kids but also for this coach!


Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?

In HS Matt VanMeter and I went back and forth with some good rivalries as stated before. I think I did get the last win on my way to win my fist state title. Mark Van Beek was a huge win since he did win my Freshmen year bracket and he was picked to win my Junior year. I do have to give a shout out to the upset win against me by Blue Whale! After years of taking his lumps by Oakland Riverside and our guys, he upset me my Senior year with my one loss. And if one guy was going to do it. I guess I wouldn’t of had it be anyone else! To this day I still think as Blue as a brother in the sport! Great family and will always enjoy our time in the sport together between our families! In college I was able to be in rooms at ISU, NE, and finish out at UNO before finally stepping away to finish up earning my degree. While I did not break the varsity lineup at the college level I did absorb much while at that level that I pass down to my club today. Training with guys like Dwight Hinson, Cody Sanderson, Joe Heskett, Bryan Snyder, Billy Maldonado, David Maldonado, Luis and Carlos Blanco, Chris Bono, Tom Ortiz, and Cole Sanderson are just some of the big names that come to mind that I absorbed from along the way! I thank them all for the time we spent!


Tell me the story about your AAU State finals match with Ben Shirk… Was it Jason Payne that was arguing with your brother about who would win between you two? Were you pumped for that match? When I saw that commentary, I thought it was funny because Payne and Shirk are from my area and Payne is now HC at my old HS (Mediapolis). Do you have any other funny stories like that?

So the Jason Payne and Ben Shirk AAU story…lol I have to be honest, I didn’t know who Ben was because he was from so far away on the other side of the state.  But when Payne bumped into my brother there it got hot fast.  Payne started in saying that an upset was about to happen and that I had no idea who Ben Shirk was.  He was right.  And I was really not worried because I was in the zone that year.  I really was.

Pause…this reminds me why I was in the Zone!  I did break my ankle that year before going to Tulsa! I made it a goal to try and knock of Shane Roller that was a 7 or 8 time Tulsa Champ.  Earlier that year Todd Kohl (Kasey Kohl 4x NE STATE Champ)’s dad took a bunch of us to a tournament in Miami, Oklahoma where they shut down the tournament for an exhibition between Shane Roller and I.  I ended up beating him 13-0.  And I really wanted to beat him at Tulsa that year.  Only to have my ankle broken right before we left.  That was really one of my only major injuries in wrestling ever.  After my comeback from the injury I was on fire my 8th grade year! I won Tulsa 1 time and got 3rd twice as a youth wrestler.

I remember my brother really getting me pumped up for the Shirk semifinals match!  I also remember at one point in the match him letting me up.  No one really ever let me up and I remember smiling at him and as he shot on me, I don’t think I ever spun so fast around someone that year! At state that year no kid scored an offensive point against me.  Felt pretty good about that.  Looking back on my career, there are two years that I can honestly say it would have been very hard for anyone to beat me! My 8th grade year and my Junior year in HS.


How honored did you feel when you were inducted into the HOF?

Being Inducted to the Hall of Fame was special because I got to share it with Family and Friends!  Unlike being on the mat by yourself in the moment, I was there with my mother and my immediate family.  And then sharing it with my club and others that joined us for the event as well.  It was a special night shared with friends and family and want to thank them all again for making the trip.  You know who you are!

In regards to the Hall of Fame I do want to say it took an entire team and town to help in my journey!  My teammates were amazing!  I could say names but I know I will forget someone and it’s just not fair!  I just want to say thank you to each and everyone of my teammates for any and all the time spent in that wrestling room!  It was a battleground!  It was very intimidating at times to those that may have not been at that level and still wanted to be part of it.  And for that I commend any and all that stuck it out in a room that was very demanding and gave so much to one that would give right back!  Thank you Riverside! I’ll never forget where I came from!


Who were some of your wrestling idols growing up?

Growing up my 2 wrestling idols were John Smith and Kenny Monday! That low single style that John Smith dominated with!  And that explosive power that Kenny Monday blasted people with inspired me to want to do the same to people on the mat!  As I got into Freestyle and Greco I had many people older then me that surround me that I looked up to along the way.  David Kjelgaard was a teammate in youth that I looked up to!  Brad Canoyer was someone in HS that I looked up to as we entered HS and began our climb at Riverside.  But it was also my friendships and family like relationships that made my journey special and the sport special for me along the way!  This where I wish I could name drop hundreds of names that are special to me for many different reasons that have impacted my life!  But it just wouldn’t be fair bc to leave one name out I would feel bad.  You all know who you are and what moments in my journey you have shared with me and I truly say thank you all for each and every one of those moments!  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this wresting journey we’ve all been together on in our lives!


Who is the Iowa HS wrestling GOAT?

I’m going with Eric Juergens…really a toss up between him and McGinness to me.  I just felt like I followed him a little more through HS and was inspired more by him.  Just something about his run vs McGinness’s.


Favorite Current Wrestlers?

Going to answer with my son on this one.  We love to watch Roman Bravo Young and Austin DeSanto!  Yes we know they wrestle each at times!  But they both have there own styles and ways about approaching the sport.  My son loves to watch their highlight videos to get pumped up.  If I would of had highlight videos to get pumped up when I was a kid, wow what a difference it would of been.  I always talk to my club wrestlers about using YouTube and social media to study up bc we had none of that growing up!  What a game changer these days for them!


What tunes would you listen to before matches?

Music back in the wrestling days…I would actually listen to it all like today.  I lot of rap and hip hop. Rock and even sprinkle in that country!  Back then Garth Brooks hit big…if you didn’t know Garth you just didn’t know squat! I do remember go to drill at ISU and Cael always wanting me to bring Ozzy to listen to…momma I’m coming home!


What was the most upset you ever were after a loss?

The most upset ever after a loss was probably my first loss at state my freshman year.  My goal was to be a 4 time state champion.  But when I got there I could tell I was not there yet physically.  These guys were at another level as far as strength.  I knew I needed to make up some ground there in the off season and I made a promise to myself to do just that! I remember after my 6th place finish…Frank Bachman from Glenwood comforted me and told me I would be back and make it worth it! I guess you can say I did!  Thanks Frank!


Is there anything with your wrestling career that you would change if you could?

It’s hard to say what I would change in my wrestling career bc I truly believe in God’s plan!  And I love that it has led me to my kids club and helping kids and them find love for the sport!  But when I look back there are a few things that stand out…Jason Payne and I became friends on our recruiting trip and I was really leaning towards UNI.  They really wanted me there.  I wish I would not have cut to 141 at ISU.  It was the first year hydration became part of weigh ins and I could not pass it.  I wonder what things would have been like if I would have stayed at ISU instead of transferring to NE.  I was beating their starter at opens and wanted to wrestle with my former teammate Kyle Canoyer.  But I think if I would have stayed at ISU and continued to get stronger and better I would have eventually been an All-American.  Could of-Should of-Would of’s, Right! But like I said it’s all part of the plan…I get to pass it down now and that’s what I’m trying to do.  It’s about leaving behind a legacy now.  A piece of me.  I love my kids!  My family means everything to me and my wrestling family is something very special as well!


Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?

I wrestled pretty much all year round until baseball hit. Regionals was it for me back then. I would do Northern Plains and usually be in the top 3 in both styles. But when Regionals was done. I wanted to be with friends in my small town of Oakland and playing baseball. I enjoyed all sports! Heck, I was even the 8th grade MVP in basketball. If it meant compete I was in! If Fargo would have been as big as it is today, I probably would have gone on in Freestyle and Greco. I just wasn’t as big as it is today back then. At least it wasn’t to this small town boy.


How would the guys from your era do against the wrestlers of today?

The wrestling game is changing for sure! I think it’s easy for me to say that the talent level has escalated from the past to now! I think some have used technology to enhance their skills and use it to train more wisely these days. I know I do and if you don’t as a coach, then your living in the past! Today athlete are also using a lot more gymnastics in their wrestling and the lower level wrestling is apparent! We practice lower level wrestling a lot also! It makes for crazy scrambles and some great defense in matches that call for it! The game of wrestling has evolved and will continue to evolve as next generations pass it down and continue to grow as coaches.


Did you wrestle after HS?

After HS I wrestle at Iowa State for 2 seasons before transferring to NE. As stated previously I do look back wondering if I made a mistake in doing so. But God has his ways! I tried cutting to 141 for the team at ISU but couldn’t make the hydration testing that was implemented for the first time ever that year. After going back up to 149 my strength just wasn’t the same and my mind was not focused as well the way it should have been. After transferring to NE to be with my former HS teammate Kyle Canoyer, he ended up stepping away from the sport and NE just didn’t feel like home to me. I took a year of from school to figure out if I still had the fire in me. While in Omaha, Kasey Kohl and others convinced me to give it one more shot at UNO. So at that point I was working a full time job and wax a full time student athlete. Talk about burn out factor! That lasted a little over a semester before I just couldn’t keep up with the work load. I finished out my schooling though! I got my degree from UNO! And began my life into the real world! What wresting did for me to get my degree was nothing short of amazing though! The people and memories I have met and made from wrestling will always be cherished! Thank God for this sport! That’s why I owe it to pass it down!


How good does it feel to give back to the sport?

To be able to give back to the sport means the world to me these days! My wife wants to boot me in the caboose at times because of it! It’s just a part of me that is hard to ever put to rest! It has given me so much in life! And I feel like God has given me a true gift to pass down to kids and if I didn’t listen to him then I would be ignoring him. I have had a lot of families bring there kids to practice to try our room out only to tell me that they have finally found a home! To me that means the world! I’m not saying I’m the best coach in the world! But I can say that I have created a culture in our room that is contagious to want to be apart of! Heck I can’t wait to go to practice! We currently have crew that drives an hour from Iowa to train with us and it’s bc of that contagious culture! It took one night for them to experience what we do in our room for them to want to make the drive 3 times a week and that makes this coach work that much more for our kids every night I’m in there with them!


What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?

My hobbies other then wrestling are spending time with my family and our pets! Going to the lake near by! Biking! Playing football outside with the kids. Soccer with my daughter! Pretty much anything family and sports is where it’s at for this this dad! That includes fishing or golfing as well! My daughter loves driving the cart all over the place!


Favorite Sports Teams?

NCAA FOOTBALL- My brother Justin Thompson and our Family have been Buckeye Fans for 20 plus years! OH!!!

NCAA WRESTLING-ISU/NE/IOWA-Respect bc I wrestled there and grew up watching Iowa wrestling. But Penn State as of recent bc my son’s hero’s are Roman Bravo Young and Austin DeSanto. Plus what Cael has done is remarkable and how he is doing it is the right way! He makes it fun and brings the best out of his wrestlers without intimidation tactics etc! He’s got the right recipe for success!

PRO-They play for $ and not enough for the love of the game these days! So I’ll just leave that there…


Did you play other sports? If so, which ones and how did you do?

God blessed me with the ability of being athletic. I pretty much love all sports! Played golf in HS, ran track, played football, and even ran cross country. My cross country story was a touchy one. My Jr. year I had spent some time in the backfield running the ball and was probably going to do the same my Sr. year. But I knew I was not going to go to college playing football and our HS team was not much for size that year. Hence I was warned I could possibly be jeopardizing getting hurt for wrestling. So why not stay in shape running cross country. After choosing to do so, let’s just say I wasn’t a town favorite during football season until wrestling rolled around. It was all good. I was used to this living in a small town. Plus I really did have some fun running cross country with wrestling teammates getting ready fir the season. You guys know who you were!


Has wrestling shaped you as the person you are today?

Wrestling has shaped me in so many ways! But I’ll try to just outline a few. First it has made me very determined in life! I have always found a way to be successful in life! When I’ve been knocked down in the business world, in relationships, and in sports I’ve always found a way to bounce back! This is something I instill in my wrestlers today! Determination to never give up! Always find a way! Wrestling has taught me to care about my fellow human beings/teammates! I always talk to my wrestlers about pushing each other and being there for each other like family! Hence the name Warriors Wrestling Family! I think our world needs more of this in general! Helping one another instead of being at odds with one another! Wrestling has also taught me to be thankful! I thank God for this talent he has given to me! I thank God for allowing me to be able to pass it down! And I thank God for this sport to bring so much joy to our family! Yes it has also brought stress at times, I can’t lie. But the joy it has brought out weighs that stress ten fold! And the families it has brought joy to as well I think would agree.


Any chance we may get to watch you wrestle again in an Old Timer’s Tournament?

Last year I may have participated in my last old timers tournament for my wrestlers. When this 41 year old wrester, at the time, went up against a 29 year old I felt my age. I know the question…did I win. Yes…but I was gassed! Age is real like any sport on the mat! I would like to go out on top with a first place at the old timers tournament at Buena Vista. This being the same year I was inducted to the IHSSA HALL OF FAME. A lot of my wrestlers were there to watch coach participate which was special, just like they were at my hall of fame induction. And I was so honored to share both with them and my family. I love having two families in this world! My immediate family and my wrestling family!


Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

My advice for upcoming wrestlers is keep it fun while training hard! That’s the recipe for success! If you can get through a workout with sweat dripping, muscles pumping, and your mind focused….all the while ending it with smiles and joking around with your workout partners and coaches. You just might of found a recipe for success! Yes there are also times to focus and have those mental edge moments. But the recipe to train and get to those moments are crucial to the sport!


How do you feel about things with your wrestling club this season so far?

This is year 5 of our Warriors Wrestling Family and with Covid it has been a real challenging start to the season! Very few tournaments but we are practicing and keeping the kids spirits very high with positive thoughts and great energy in the practice room! We have added some great new talent this season to our club that makes our practice room very competitive! So the mentality had been this! Even if there is not a lot of tournaments…we have some of the best partners in the metro sharpening in the practice room! So when we do go to a tournament we will be ready to showcase our skills and have fun doing so! It’s all about how you can spin a situation. And right now we have the right parents making the right feel with our club to make our kids feel great in these difficult times.


Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc. Any Shout-outs?

* Dan McCool was an amazing ambassador to the sport! He always stayed in touch with me and really took notice to the amazing room we had our 1996 year! It was one of a kind and he witnessed it first hand at one of our practices! I can’t tell you how I truly feel about this man and our sport! He holds a special place in this wrestlers heart! God speed Dan McCool…gone but definitely not forgotten!

* In closing I would like to say thank you to everyone that has been part of my journey in this sport! As mentioned earlier I just can’t say names bc there are too many to list and it’s just not fair to mention a few and not the rest! Because all of you have played an important roll in my life! Thank you for being part of it! Someday when this wrestler is put into the ground and his life is being celebrated…I want people to know I wish I could have had a moment to say thank you in person if I had not been able to along the way. Every moment leads to another in this life for the right reasons…I truly believe that! Thank you for our moments in this sport and long live wrestling! God Bless!

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