#TeamUSATuesday: Greco-Roman National Team member Ellis Coleman

By JD Rader, USA Wrestling | May 07, 2019, 1:56 p.m. (ET)
Ellis Coleman is currently the No. 1 wrestler at 67 kg for Team USA’s Greco-Roman National Team. 

After winning Fargo as both a Cadet and Junior, the Chicago, Ill., native decided to attend the University of Northern Michigan to train and compete in Greco. While at NMU, Coleman won two Junior World bronze medals.  

Coleman now resides in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he is a member of the U.S. Army WCAP and has made three Senior World Teams and the 2012 Olympic Team. He took the first steps towards making his fourth World Team when he won the U.S. Open and earned his bid to Final X just two weeks ago.

The 27-year-old also recently made the announcement that he will be joining the Illinois RTC and split time between Colorado Springs and Champaign. 

Coleman took some time out his busy schedule to answer some questions.

What is your favorite sport to watch other than wrestling?
Football. My favorite team is the Packers.

Did you play another sports growing up?
I played football. I was a cornerback in high school.

Who is your favorite wrestler, either past or present, to watch?
I have two. I like to watch (Jordan) Burroughs and Kamal (Bey).

What is your favorite movie?
Probably Remember the Titans. I like the team comradery. They started off far apart from each other with a lot of differences, coming from different cultures and different races. Then they came together for one common goal. 

Who is your favorite musical artist?
Drake. I like Drake’s vibe. He has a “you only live once” type of vibe. Celebrate all your accomplishments, but when things go bad, he still shows emotion for the bad things too. 

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Budapest, Hungary. They have really good food, all the people were really nice, and they have some pretty women.

What do you normally do to pass the time on long trips?
Play Xbox. If I’m not playing Xbox, we play games a lot with our team. This year’s World Team had a lot of cool guys on it. We had (Adam) Coon, Dalton (Roberts), and guys like that. We normally play dominos, Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples, and games like that. On Xbox we play PUBG, Mortal Kombat, and FIFA is a big one.

What are some of your hobbies off of the mat?
I like to play basketball. I go to the gym a lot and wherever I can. Even at competitions, I’ll find a gym to go and play basketball to help me lose weight. I also like sightseeing, so hiking, mountain climbing, cliff diving, stuff like that. 

How did you get involved in wrestling?
When my brother and I were kids, about nine or 10 years old, we were always at home playing video games. We’re from Chicago, so we used to get in trouble being on the streets. So, my mom bought us some video games to try and keep us off the streets, but then all we did was sit around at home and play video games. My stepdad wanted to get us off of the video games, so he put us in wrestling and football.

How has wrestling impacted your life?

Wrestling has pretty much paved the way for my life and shaped my life. My first travel in the U.S. came from wrestling. My first travel internationally came from wrestling. My route to college came from wrestling. Even now, my career to pay the bills and take care of my family, I’m wrestling to do so. It’s made me who I am today.

What kind of advice would you give a younger wrestler?

It’s all about the journey. Never forget that. Being human, we live in the moment and we enjoy everything that we see right in front of us. With social media it makes it even worse. Everything we see we want to obtain right away, but at the end of the day, we never have time to have hindsight. Every chance you get to look at the bigger picture and remember all the memories and the people that you’ve met. Enjoy that while you can.

Do you have prematch rituals?

I dance before every match and listen to music. If I’m not dancing and listening to music, something must be wrong. It doesn’t matter what competition it is or if I’m overseas or in the U.S., I’m always dancing and listening to music.

What motivates you during training?
My biggest thing is to try and break people. I try to beat the hell out of people during training. I’m not trying to hurt anybody, but at the same time I’m trying to beat the hell out of my teammates. That makes me feel good.

Where did the flying squirrel move come from and what was it like seeing your highlight on ESPN?

It was awesome. My brother and I were messing around when we were younger. We used to watch WWF and we would mess around and do all sorts of tricks and moves and imitate what we saw. Then one day when we were in high school, he hit that move on me and called it the flying squirrel. I never thought about it or anything, but then I was losing in a math in my first senior tournament to Joe Betterman. It came in mind and I had to do something, so I thought about hitting one of the moves we messed around with as kids and it worked. Then I hit it a couple years later at the Junior World Championships and it worked. Then ESPN was just a whole nother thing. I didn’t expect it to make it that far, but it’s awesome. I got a whole lot of notoriety from it. A whole of people who didn’t even wrestle were talking about it and it put wrestling on the map a little bit. 

What were the motives behind joining the Illinois RTC?

The biggest thing for me was Coach (Bryan) Medlin. He pretty much shaped me and made me the Greco wrestler I am today. He’s the reason I wrestle Greco and chose to wrestle Greco instead of folkstyle in college. He made it all very fun for me and I won a lot. He taught me my gut wrench, the best move that I have to this day, and my underhook. Nobody knows me better as a wrestler. It’s kind of nostalgic. It just feels good to have him back in my corner coaching me. 

The Coleman File

Birthday: Aug. 16, 19991
High school: Oak Park-River Forest High School
College: Northern Michigan University
Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Club: Army WCAP/Illinois RTC
Twitter: @DaFlyinSquirrel
Instagram: @daflyinsquirrel
Three-time World Team member (2013, 2017, 2018)
2012 Olympian
Five-time U.S. Open champion (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Two-time Junior World bronze medalist (2010, 2011)
Two-time Fargo champion (2007, 2009)
Three-time Illinois high school state place winner (2007, 2008, 2009)