In the house on Monday: Maybe the best day for wrestling celebrity watching in Fargo

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 15, 2019, 1:26 p.m. (ET)
Chris Bono and Jon Reader of Wisconsin are among the large number of men's college coaches who are now here in Fargo for the action.

There are seven days of competition at the USMC Junior/16U Nationals in Fargo, N.D., and every day there are a ton of well-known wrestling people who are all around. Today has the 16U men’s freestyle finals and the Junior men’s freestyle knockout rounds through the semifinals. This is a day in which college wrestling coaches come out of the woodwork, to see the great talent that could be available for their programs. For wrestling people watching, there is no better day in Fargo.

Before we get too far, we wanted to note the first Olympic champion sighting, as 1976 Olympic champion and 1972 Olympic silver medalist John Peterson was walking across the Fargodome floor. Peterson is not only one of the wrestling greats, but is also a fantastic person. When you spend time around him, you respect his faith and kindness. He has some great wrestling stories to boot.

Before we list all of the additional college coaches we have run into the last 24 hours, we also want to recognize some more great international competitors in the house.

2001 World silver medalist Brandon Eggum, who also gets on the college coach list as the head man at the University of Minnesota, is here to help stock the Gopher wrestling room with new talent. Eggum got the chance to compete in one Senior World Championships, and had a great run to the finals. It is guys like Eggum who make the U.S. men’s freestyle program so powerful. If you make a U.S. Senior World Team, you are expected to win a medal, and Eggum got it done when he got that chance.

You have to take notice when multiple Freestyle World Team member Brent Metcalf is walking around. Metcalf won two NCAA titles for Iowa, served on USA Wrestling’s National Freestyle Coaching staff for a while, and now serves as an assistant coach for Iowa State.

Another Senior Freestyle World Team member, NCAA champion for Iowa State, and now head coach at the University of Wisconsin is Chris Bono, who made it matside this morning. He was with his Badger assistant coach Jon Reader, another NCAA champion at Iowa State, and a tough freestyler himself. Bono and Reader coached together at South Dakota State and both moved up to Wisconsin. We make them our website poster boys today.

We meant to post this one yesterday. Nick Simmons is a past Freestyle World Team member, who is here coaching Team Michigan. The East Lansing Strangler currently is a coach with the Michigan RTC/Cliff Keen WC, and runs a youth wrestling program. He was a college assistant coach for many years also. Simmons is a popular person in wrestling for a lot of reasons.

Another Senior World Team member who jumps onto the college assistant coach list is Michael Lightner, a longtime assistant at Oklahoma. Lightner also was an NCAA champion for OU.

We have to add past Greco-Roman World Team members when we see them. John Oostendorp, who competed in Greco at the 1995 World Championships, was a college star under Gable in Iowa, and is head coach at Coe College.

When you do a list of NCAA champions, you always want to include the first four-time NCAA Div. I champion, Pat Smith of Oklahoma, who has been an impressive youth coach with Team Arkansas. From the great Smith family of Oklahoma, Pat has made a huge difference in making wrestling a big deal in a state which is rapidly improving in our sport.

When talking about NCAA champions, let’s add another member of that Smith family, Chris Perry, who won his NCAA crowns at Oklahoma State, and is now an assistant coach for the Cowboys. Like many of the people here, Perry gets on more than one list.

Two-time NCAA champion Damion Hahn from Minnesota, adds the head coach job at South Dakota State to his resume. Another NCAA champions from Minnesota is Jared Lawrence, who coaches every year in Fargo with Team Minnesota.

Let’s start back up with NCAA Div. I head coaches. One of the best is Sean Bormet of Michigan, who was a talented freestyler in his own right. Other NCAA Div. I coaches who have stopped by since our last article are Matt Storniolo of Northwestern, Sam Barber of U.S. Air Force Academy and Alex Clemsen of Maryland.

When you talk about coaches on the college level, you must recognize one of the best NCAA Div. II coaches of all time, current Maryville head coach Mike Denney. Before starting and building a brand new team at Maryville, Denney coached numerous D-II national teams at Nebraska-Omaha, until that school made its poor decision to eliminate the program (on a year it won the NCAA team crown).

Other head college coaches from other divisions in the house are Dalton Jensen of Nebraska-Kearney and Leo Kocher of the University of Chicago.

Other assistant college coaches we have seen in the Fargodome are Drew Headlee of Pitt, Josh Churella of Michigan, Cam Simaz of South Dakota State, Mason Beckman of George Mason, Bryan Pearsall of Penn, Cody Caldwell of South Dakota State, Cody Cleveland of the Citadel, Andrew Sorenson of Nebraska-Kearney and Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State.

Some of these guys are coaching state teams, with Caldwell helping Team Kansas, Headlee and Beckman with Team Pennsylvania.

When talking about assistant college coaches, we have to add in some great former coaches, especially when you see past Penn State assistant Sanshiro Abe helping coach Team Pennsylvania. Abe did a great job when he was in Happy Valley, and is still making an impact in the sport.


Olympic champions:
John Peterson

Olympic medalists: Brandon Paulson

World champions: Les Gutches

Olympians: Eric Guerrero, Ike Anderson, Les Gutches, Eric Guerrero, Dan Dennis, Shawn Sheldon, Ben Askren, Tervel Dlagnev

World medalists: Brandon Eggum, Leigh Jaynes, Tervel Dlagnev, Shawn Sheldon

World Team members: Nick Simmons, Chris Bono, Michael Lightner, Brent Metcalf, John Oostendorp, Tony Ramos, Obe Blanc, Danny Felix, Nick Simmons, Shawn Bunch, Tom Erikson, Veronica Carlson, Shawn Sheldon

NCAA Div. I head coaches: Brandon Eggum of Minnesota, Sean Bormet of Michigan, Sam Barber of U.S. Air Force Academy, Matt Storniolo of Northwestern, Alex Clemsen of Maryland, Chris Bono of Wisconsin, Damion Hahn of South Dakota State, Troy Steiner of Fresno State, Zach Tanelli of Columbia, Steve Martin of Old Dominion, Jeremy Spates of SIU-Edwardsville, Chris Ayres of Princeton.

Other division college men’s head coaches: Mike Denny of Maryville, Dalton Jensen of Nebraska-Kearney, John Oostendorp of Coe, Leo Kocher of the University of Chicago, Jim Moulsoff of Augsburg, Bruce Haberli of NYU, Link Davis of Emmanuel, Chuck Kearney of St. Mary, Tom Erikson of Lyon, Alex Radsky of Washington and Lee.

Women’s college head coaches: Cliff Cushard of Adrian, Brandy Green of Limestone, Carlene Sluberski of the University of Providence, Sam Schmitz of McKendree, Donnie Stephens of the University of the Cumberlands

Men’s college assistant coaches – Brent Metcalf of Iowa State, Chris Perry of Oklahoma State, Jon Reader of Wisconsin, Drew Headlee of Pitt, Josh Churella of Michigan, Cam Simaz of South Dakota State, Mason Beckman of George Mason, Bryan Pearsall of Penn, Cody Caldwell of South Dakota State, Cody Cleveland of the Citadel, Andrew Sorenson of Nebraska-Kearney, Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State, Tervel Dlagnev of Ohio State, Obe Blanc of North Dakota State, Tony Ramos of North Carolina, Northern Iowa assistant Randy Pugh, Iowa assistant coach Ryan Morningstar of Iowa, Derek St. John of Iowa State, Gabe Dean of Cornell, Mike Evans of Campbell, Derek Moore of California Baptist, Brad Dillon of Lehigh, Erkin Tadzhimetov of Utah Valley, Israel Silva of Fresno State.

Women’s college assistant coaches – Julia Salata of King, Dominic Adams of Adrian

RTC coaches – Nick Simmons, Eric Guerrero, Bryan Medlin, Ben Askren

NCAA champions, all divisions
: Pat Smith, Chris Perry, Michael Lightner, Damion Hahn, Jared Lawrence, Chris Bono, Jon Reader, Brent Metcalf, Mark Munoz, Derek Moore, Joe Dubuque, Troy Steiner, Derek Moore, Jayson Ness, Ben Askren, Max Askren, Tervel Dlagnev,

MMA athletes
– Mark Munoz, Ben Askren, Shawn Bunch

Past and present U.S. Military wrestlers – Aaron Sieracki, Terrence Zaleski, Vaughan Monreal-Berner, Derek Moore