Yesterday was one of the hardest days for any coach, athlete, parent, etc. involved with college athletics. I looked at our team yesterday and all the guys who have sacrificed so much for their goals, and my heart broke for them. It didn’t just break for the eight young men who had qualified for nationals but for everyone top to bottom throughout our program that were right there with them. It’s easy right now for us in this time to feel sorry for ourselves, to complain, to hang our heads, and to feel discouraged.⠀
I’ll be the first to say, when the news came yesterday, I absolutely went into a state of mind that was negative. I could barely look at our seniors and our guys without feeling incredibly emotional.⠀
We got together last night at @coach_mikegrey house as a team to be together and it hit me. As I watched the guys laugh together, tell stories from the year, and be there for each other, it made me feel incredibly blessed. I watched Noah Baughman, Chas Tucker, and Brandon Womack all guys that just had their careers end, put their arms around the young guys and build them back up. That’s what I call leadership. What incredible perspective to have when you are 22/23 years old.⠀
I got up this morning and I felt privileged to be a part of something in @bigredwrestling that is far greater than any individual. As an athlete it felt like winning national championships, becoming an all-american, and accolades were the most important thing. Last night, our guys showed me what the most important thing was and always has been: the relationships they have with each other.⠀
In extreme adversity, it is easy to get caught up in all the distractions that it brings. Our program sees it as an opportunity to come together and be there for each other regardless of the pain they feel. I’m motivated by that, I’m inspired by that, and I thank our staff, our alumni, our parents, and our amazing young men for continuing to make me a better coach and a better man.
Instagram post by Gabe Dean