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Coaches and AD's use “Outside the Box” Thinking

07/26/2010 -

Exciting days are ahead in our sport for those willing to think differently.

Wrestling has an opportunity to take giant strides forward, breaking new ground and busting through old ideology.

Opportunities for youth continue to abound with new programs emerging at the high school level in places like Arkansas, thanks to Greg Hatcher; in New York, with Bevilacqua’s “Beat the Streets” program and Scott Szalwinski’s “Mats to Men” in South Carolina. Because of these forward-looking innovators and many others, programs in middle school through high school continue to grow and create even bigger demands for opportunities at the college levels.

But, that’s where the development has stopped, it seems.

Our colleges need innovative solutions to grow to their potential. We are looking for leaders. As one of my mentors told me, “Leadership is everything. You show me any successful business, church, boyscout troop or athletic program, and I’ll show you a leader at work.”

Wrestling needs more leaders at the college level in coaching and administration. Leaders that are willing to not only “think different,” but put thought into action.

For the past three years the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) has been growing a consortium of leaders that want to do more than just talk. These leaders volunteer their time, talents and treasures to see change really happen.

The NCWA’s Vision Forum, a wrestling think tank, was held again this year,
June 25-27 in Dallas,Texas. More than 40 coaches, administrators, business owners and alumni came together to chart a bold future for our sport. New ideas on scholarships, fundraising, competition, education and quality enhancement were discussed and put into action through working business plans.

Co-laboring with visionaries like Mike Moyer of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), 100s’ of volunteers are constructing a new college division devoted exclusively to the promotion, recognition and support of collegiate wrestling. Unlike the NCAA or NAIA, the NCWA is committed to one sport, wrestling.

More than 160 men’s and 14 women’s college programs belong to the NCWA. Thousands of athletes, coaches and leaders recognize the time is right for the wrestling community as a whole to understand and embrace this powerful option for wrestlers to attend the college of their choice. We should never again hear “My college doesn’t offer wrestling.” There is no longer an excuse for not having wrestling at any college where there are students who want to continue wrestling.

The NCWA works as a complement to the NCAA and NAIA. By providing 100s’ of additional competition opportunities to NCAA and NAIA member schools. NCWA athletes help keep programs alive that might otherwise be stranded with little or no nearby competition. Athletes that attend schools where NCAA wrestling was only a past memory are now reviving programs in record numbers. These new teams, once established, stand a much better chance of being fully reinstated into the athletic department than stand-alone methods of pushing a program.

Having a wrestling program re-instated to NCAA status from scratch would be everyone’s choice. But, that method has not been very effective. The past 15 years have shown that starting an NCWA program first can quickly get wrestlers on the mat competing. The resulting short-term success engenders confidence and gathers around the program the leaders and alumni that can advance the program to the next level.

Before you can win an NCAA national title or produce NCAA All-Americans for your college, you have got to get them on the mat. NCWA is the way to do it quickly, effectively and on a minimal budget without the schools’ athletic department being required to work out new budget issues or wait to comply with Title IX restrictions. With the NCWA you can move forward and “just do it.”

To join the NCWA movement, contact: jim@ncwa.net. Check out the schools that have already risen to the challenge at www.ncwa.net/teams.