NWCA to host annual convention in Pittsburgh Sept 18 21

By Gary Abbott | Sept. 13, 2006, 1:42 p.m. (ET)
Click here for a schedule of NWCA Convention events

The National Wrestling Coaches Association is pleased to announce the site and clinicians for the 2006 NWCA Coaches Convention.

The Hyatt Regency Airport will be the host for the annual function which brings together many of the nation's top coaches in all divisions and classifications of college wrestling as well as many top high school coaches.

"The annual NWCA Coaches Convention is a meeting of the minds," said NWCA President Ron Beaschler. "It's a place where wrestling coaches can discuss the issues in the sport and understand the rule changes among other things."

Highlighting this year's convention will be Sgt. Maj. Larock Benford of the United States Marine Corps, a former wrestler at Purdue and a three-time All-Marine wrestling champion. Benford also was an Armed Forces champion in Greco-Roman and a three-time World Military Games medalist, including the freestyle champion in 1984 and 1988.

As a collegian at Purdue, Benford was the 1992 Big Ten runner-up and was a two-time NCAA qualifier at heavyweight.

His career in the United States Marine Corps has taken him across the country along with several stints in the Pacific Rim in Japan and Okinawa.

Benford's personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with three stars, the Good Conduct Medal with silver & two bronze stars, and the National Defense Service Medal with two bronze stars.

"We're excited to have someone with such a strong wrestling background as a keynote speaker at the NWCA Convention," said Beaschler. "He's a role model for young wrestlers and young men and women serving in our nation's armed forces."

Also speaking will be current USA Wrestling's National Women's Coach Terry Steiner, who will be making a presentation about creating women's college wrestling teams.

Steiner has been USA Wrestling's National Women's Coach since 2002, and has helped guide the U.S. team to international success in women's wrestling. Under Steiner's leadership, the U.S. Women's wrestling team placed second in the medal count and unofficial standings at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

At the 2003 World Championships, the United States placed in a tie for first with Japan in the team standings, and all seven U.S. women wrestlers won medals at their weight classes.

Steiner was an assistant wrestling coach at the Univ. of Wisconsin and at Oregon State prior to joining USA Wrestling. He was a nationally ranked freestyle wrestler for many years. Steiner was a 1993 NCAA Div. I champion and a three-time All-American competing for the legendary Dan Gable.

At last year's convention in Buffalo, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights David Black presented a seminar on Title IX and very detailed information on interest surveys that can aid college programs in their Title IX compliance.

"It was a pleasure to have David Black last year and we look forward to having his expertise with Title IX compliance being available to our college coaches," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. "Last year, it was one of the top-attended seminars and it will help the sport of wrestling in the long run when we help educate our coaches on other alternatives for Title IX compliance rather than proportionality."

Eric Pearson will represent the College Sports Council with additional information on Title IX and also, Jessica Gavora will be at the convention discussing several Title IX topics. Gavora wrote "Tilting the Playing Fields: Sports, Schools, Sex and Title IX," in 2002 and has drawn many favorable reviews from groups supporting Title IX reform.

Gavora was a former speechwriter for Attorney Generals Alberto Gonzales and John Ashcroft. She's also written for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Lamar Alexander, Spencer Abraham and John McCain.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Gavora was the Director of the Play Fair Project of the Independent Women's Forum. She was also the editor of Philanthropy magazine, a quarterly publication devoted to the politics and policy of giving. From 1995-1996 she was the director of programs at the New Citizenship Project, a Washington, DC public policy group. From 1993-1995 she was an associate editor at The Hotline, a daily online political news report. She began her career as legislative assistant and later deputy press secretary to her home state senator, Frank Murkowski of Alaska.

Gavora was also on an ESPN panel in 2002 during a round-table discussion celebrating 30 years of Title IX. Gavora spoke out on a number of misnomers in college athletics and has worked to dispel misconceptions on how the law is enforced at the collegiate level.

"Jessica Gavora's presence at our annual convention will be a big plus," said Beaschler. "In addition to David Black from the Department of Education and Eric Pearson of the College Sports Council, we feel her knowledge of Title IX and her experience writing 'Tilting the Playing Field,' will be well-received and truly informational."

In addition to the keynote speakers above, this year's technique presenters are Teague Moore, Jamill Kelly and Mark Cody.

Moore is entering his first year as the head coach at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. A three-time All-American at Oklahoma State, Moore has deep wrestling roots in Western Pennsylvania, competing at North Alleghany High School outside of Pittsburgh.

As a sophomore at Oklahoma State, Moore won the 118-pound title in 1998 and was a two-time Big 12 champion.

Moore's palette of wrestling technique expands beyond the collegiate style, as he has an extensive freestyle background starting with a USA Wrestling Junior National Freestyle title in 1993 and again in 1995. Most recently, Moore was second in the inaugural season of RealProWrestling.

Jamill Kelly enters his first year as an assistant coach at Harvard University under coach Jay Weiss. A native Californian, Kelly wrestled for John Smith at Oklahoma State University, but it was the 2004 international circuit that put Kelly on the map, not only emerging as the U.S. entry in the 2004 Olympic Games, but earning a silver medal in the process.

Kelly was never a collegiate All-American, however, his drive and desire to continue to excel has made him one of the top rising young coaches in the sport with a diverse background ranging from his days as a youth in California all the way to his experience as a World Team member and Olympic medalist.

American University coach Mark Cody has been instrumental in molding the careers of many a collegiate wrestler as an assistant coach. After coaching tenures at Nebraska and Oklahoma State, Cody is entering his fifth year as the head coach at the Washington D.C. school.

Cody has made American one of the top rising programs in the east and has produced the only three All-Americans in school history - the first was Daniel Waters in 2005 and then two more, Muzaffar Adburakhmanov and Josh Glenn in 2006.

"We believe that this group of technique presenters is as diverse and energetic as we've ever had," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. "With the youth and excitement Teague and Jamill bring in along with the crafty experience that Mark Cody has, we feel we've covered all the bases for our coaches this year."

In addition to the technique presentations, the NWCA will again present additional seminars and speakers to help coaches in their daily tasks to aid in a smooth operation of their wrestling program.

Novations presenter Bob Williams will discuss topics ranging from conflict resolution and time management to public speaking, preparing for a job search and communication essentials.

Dr. Greg Dale will again be at the convention. An associate professor of sports psychology and consultant for Duke University, Dale's discussion will deal with the psychology of an athlete and how to deal with how athlete's act, think and feel.

Pat Tocci of the National Wrestling Coaches Association will also review the enhanced Optimal Performance Calculator technology with college and high school coaches. The Optimal Performance Calculator is the official weight certification model used by the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.

Also speaking will be former Penn coach Roger Reina.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a professional organization dedicated to serve and provide leadership for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on scholastic and collegiate programs. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling.

The NWCA, through its organizational structure, promotes communication, recognizes achievement, recommends rules and regulations, sponsors events, and serves as an educational and informational source. Additionally, the NWCA strives to foster the sportsmanship and integrity that are the cornerstones of athletic competition.