Three-time World champion Adeline Gray hired as assistant women’s wrestling coach at Wyoming Seminary

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 23, 2017, 2:27 p.m. (ET)
Three-time World champion and 2016 Olympian Adeline Gray of Denver, Colo. has been named as Assistant Coach for the new girls wrestling program at national high school powerhouse Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in Kingston, Pa.

"Wyoming Seminary is excited to add wrestling to our selection of female athletic offerings. We are equally thrilled to be adding Olympian and three-time world champion Adeline Gray to our staff as an assistant coach. Adeline will join Erin Vandiver and a talented group of athletes. We in the athletic department are looking forward to doing our part to help in the development of young women wrestlers and helping them fulfill their goals of competing and practicing in an elite setting,” said Karen Klassner, Wyoming Seminary Director of Athletics.

Gray will work with Wyoming Seminary’s head women’s wrestling coach Erin Vandiver coaching the talented young women who have joined the team. Vandiver was a longtime USA Wrestling Assistant National Coach before taking over the Wyoming Seminary program, and helped coach and mentor Gray at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for many years.

“Adeline and I spent the last five years working very closely together and building a trusting coach to athlete bond. When I decided to move away from the OTC to take the job at Wyoming Seminary, our partnership was definitely something I knew I would miss. So, I wanted to be sure Adeline knew our doors would always be open for her training needs,” said Coach Vandiver.

“It is the right timing for me. I have had so much success and experience at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. I am ready to take something else on. I might be back at the OTC the year before the Olympics, and it is a place that will always have special meaning for me. I am just ready for something new,” said Gray.

Additional discussion between Vandiver and Gray led to this opportunity, which will allow Gray to use her expertise and experience to coach the next generation of women wrestling talents, while continuing to pursue World and Olympic titles on the mat for Team USA.

“As our conversations continued and my knowledge of exactly what SEM could offer and what the new program would be in need of, I quickly began thinking of Adeline in another capacity. I know her work ethic, her commitment, and the dedication to the goals she has. I know of her strong belief in the sport and what it can do for young girls. I know of her knowledge, experience and her commitment to grow wrestling. I also know how she advocates girls empowerment through education, self-respect and the highest standards. So, it only made sense to want the SEM girls exposed to all of these qualities. To have her exceptional example in front of them on a daily basis will benefit the program tremendously,” said Vandiver.

“The relationship with Erin is really why I am going out there. I am excited for the new things going on in her life, with her getting a head coaching position. It is just the great things they are doing at Wyoming Seminary, with this the first program of its kind. They have a really great atmosphere for success there. I was there four days training and felt that I could be there. The teachers, the administration there, they were very kind. You can tell that they are supporting what Erin is trying to do,” said Gray.

USA Wrestling is very supportive of the new program at Wyoming Seminary, which is providing high school girls an opportunity to train in freestyle and pursue high goals on the national and international levels in USA Wrestling’s age-group programs.

“Wyoming Seminary is excited to announce that Olympian Adeline Gray will be joining Coach Vandiver’s Girls Wrestling Staff for its inaugural season. To be able to attract the caliber of individual that Coach Gray represents both on and off the field fits true to the SEM mission. The relationship that Coach Vandiver and Adeline already have in place will be a positive to limit transition and enable the wrestlers to excel both on and off the mat. Needless-to-say, the SEM Community is excited about the upcoming wrestling season,” said Jim Anderson, Wyoming Seminary Associate Athletic Director.

Gray will continue to train and compete internationally while coaching with Wyoming Seminary. She will train with the athletes on the Wyoming Seminary team. She will also train with top wrestlers who will travel to Pennsylvania to train with her. Gray also expects to train at Regional Training Centers in the East, including the Nittany Lion WC at Penn State and the NYC RTC, which is located at Columbia University in New York City, which have opened their programs for her. Her travels with the Wyoming Seminary team will also take her to Canada, where she can train with top athletes there.

“They are providing me the flexibility that I can still train fulltime and get what I need to be the best athlete I can be. I will be there to show the young girls what they will have to do to get to where they want to be. I will be able to go through my workouts, and have the athletes ask questions and figure out why you have to be so disciplined. There will be young women there who have not yet realized all the pieces needed. I will also be training under someone who I trust, like Erin Vandiver,” said Gray.

She took off the 2017 season to recover from injury, having surgery and going through rehabilitation. She is scheduled to return to the mat for her first competition in a year at the USA vs. Japan dual meet at the Beat the Streets Los Angeles Benefit on October 29.

Gray is one of the greatest women wrestlers in U.S. history. She has competed on six U.S. Senior World Teams, winning five World medals, in addition to competing at the 2016 Rio Games. She won World gold medals in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and World bronze medals in 2011 and 2013.

She is the first U.S. women’s athlete to win World gold medals on UWW Junior, University and Senior levels. Gray competes for the New York Athletic Club.

Gray has developed her coaching abilities by instructing camps and clinics for many years, and working with young people in her community and across the nation. She was also the women’s team coach at the 2017 Pan American Schoolboy/girl Championships in Medellin, Colombia, working with some of the nation’s best 13-14-year-old wrestlers.

“The opportunity to coach the Pan Am Schoolgirl team was definitely a step in the right direction for me. I got to show them that total piece of an athlete, and show them how cool your life can be through this sport. A lot of people are willing to put in the work, but they don’t know what to do. I got to realize how much knowledge I have to pass on to the next generation. It was great fun,” said Gray.

Gray spent eight years as a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete in Colorado Springs, Colo. She is a graduate from Devry University. Since her last competition, Gray has gotten married and has started post-graduate studies with the Keller Graduate School of Management program.

Her involvement on the coaching staff at Wyoming Seminary will also have a positive impact on the men’s wrestling program, which is one of the nation’s best high school teams annually.

"We are thrilled to have Adeline training in our room and assisting with our new girls program. Every athlete in our room, male or female, will benefit from her knowledge and insight. This rapid growth of this program will continue to expand opportunities for girls in the Northeast and having Adeline in Kingston, PA is a huge part of that,” said Wyoming Seminary’s Head Men’s Wrestling Coach Scott Green.

Wyoming Seminary has a strong tradition of developing athletes for the Olympic movement. Two Wyoming Seminary athletes went on to compete on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Field Hockey team at the Rio de Janeiro Games, Kat Sharkey and Kelsey Kolojejchick.

“It is an honor and great privilege for me to be able to continue to coach Adeline in her quest for another world gold and Olympic appearance, as well as have her assist the Wyoming Seminary girls wrestling team. She has so much to offer the program and it will be a great benefit for all involved. Adeline and I have similar philosophies about what it takes to be successful in the demanding sport of wrestling. Our time working together has been incredible; having this opportunity to work together in a new capacity is very exciting to me. The Wyoming Seminary community, wrestling team, and I are excited to welcome Adeline on board as assistant coach,” said Vandiver.

Wyoming Seminary Scholarship Day is Nov 4th. Any interested athletes can contact Erin Vandiver at evandiver@wyomingseninary.org or visit the Wyoming Seminary website at WyomingSeminary.org.