First Week Update

The team did well during the first week of official practice. I was pleased to see positive results from their pre-season training. We put them through a difficult week of training and they responded in a positive manner.

Friday we hosted a coach’s clinic. The clinic began with coaches watching our team practice. I liked the knowledge and effort the team showed in their training. Canaan Bethea, Mark Weader and Kevin Steinhaus all did a good job with their presentations and also took time to answer questions. I was bummed by the low turnout, but hopeful those who attended found their time well spent.

On Saturday, we hosted a wrestling clinic. Kevin Steinhaus ran the clinic and was assisted by our entire team. I enjoyed watching the clinic and the interaction between our team and those who attended the event. After the clinic, the team participated in a public practice. I was excited with the turn out. George Mason University invited Alums and Families to campus for the weekend. Having a public practice, fit well with the other events on campus. It was a good day for our program.

We will have about a month to train before we compete. Our first official competition will be on November 17 as we host Indiana University at the RAC. We will compete at the Navy Classic on November 19. On Sunday, November 27 we will compete at the Grapple at the Garden. We will wrestle Buffalo and Hofstra. For those that want to join us at Madison Square Garden in New York City, you can buy tickets in the Mason section via our ticket office. Contact the George Mason Ticket office at 703/993-3270 or

Fall Training, Clinics, Public Practice, and Schedule

Preseason Training has come to an end. I have been pleased with the effort and attitude of our team. They did well in their fall preparation. Our new staff has jumped in and I can see their positive influence on the team already. I am hopeful the guys stay focused on their goals and work to improve on a consistent basis.

The NCAA changed the rule on skill instruction this summer. We can now do skill instruction in bigger groups. I think this rule change helped us be more enthusiastic in our training. We got more done.

One thing I have struggled with this summer and fall is with having wrestlers choose not to return. I know it happens in all programs and there are often good reasons for guys to choose a different path. I just want to make sure it is done for the right reasons. I want to make sure it is not a flaw in my leadership. Some of the reasons given to me over the past few months for stepping away from the program are: health, school, family, finances, and motivation. These are all legitimate. I just hope the guys were retiring and not quitting. The window for being a D1 athlete is small. When it closes, it can’t be reopened. Living a life with few regrets is important. I don’t want guys looking back with regret for not finishing their college wrestling opportunity.

Our annual Paul Maltagliati Golf Tournament proved to be a fun day. George Mason Athletics Director Brad Edwards started the event off with encouraging words about the direction of the college team and Patriot Elite Wrestling Club. We are in good hands. After the beautiful day on the course, we had some time to share a meal, a few laughs and give away prizes to about everyone in the room. Thanks to all who attended the event, our event sponsors and the crew of volunteers who helped pull off another successful event. A special shout out to the tournament director – Tyler Corey. I am confident Paul would be pleased with the progress of the club he started.

Per NCAA rule, we can start official practice on October 10. We are going to roll the mats out in the Field House and wrestle for the public to watch for the entire first week of official practice. It will be nice to be outside the wrestling room for a short while.

For the 3rd consecutive fall we are going to host a coaches’ clinic. Although our numbers have been low, I think it is a good thing for us to try and build. My hope is local coaches will see it as a positive out reach. This year I am excited to have Kevin Steinhaus as our headliner. I know he will do a great job. It will also be a good opportunity for coaches to spend time with the new George Mason University Wrestling Staff. Please help spread the word. Here is the link about the October 14 event

The following morning, after the coaches’ clinic, we will host a wrestling clinic. Kevin Steinhaus will headline this event as well. The athletes will receive lots of individual attention as our entire team will help Kevin. The flyer for this event can be found in the above link.

Following the wrestling clinic, the team will hold a public practice. This event will be free to attend. In conjunction with Alumni and Family Weekend at George Mason University, we thought it would be great for alums and family members to be able to watch the team practice. Alums feel free to bring your wrestling shoes so you can get on the mat and help the next generation of Mason Men.

In case you missed it our schedule has been released for the upcoming season.

Nov 19 @ Navy Classic (USNA) 10am
Nov 27 @ Grapple at the Garden (New York City, NY) – Buffalo 10am, Hofstra 12pm
Dec 3 @ Bloomsburg University 2pm
Dec 4 @ Lock Haven University Noon
Dec 21 @ University of Virginia (Richmond, VA) 7pm
Dec 29 @ Lock Haven Classic (LHU) 930am
Jan 6 @ Davidson College Noon
Jan 7 @ Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville (@ VMI) Noon
Jan 7 @ Virginia Military Institute 2pm
Jan 20 @ Clarion University 7pm
Feb 11 @Franklin & Marshall College 6pm
Feb 17 @ American University 7pm
March 4 EWL @ Bloomsburg University 10am
March 16-18 NCAA @ St Louis, MO All Day

All of our home matches are listed in bold and are held at the RAC. We will have dual meets with teams from 7 of the 8 NCAA D1 conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, EIWA, EWL, MAC, Southern). The only conference we won’t see in dual meet competition is the PAC 12. Hopefully we can add them to the list next year.

Thanks for supporting George Mason Wrestling. Together we can do great things.

New Season, New Coaches, Same Expectations

It has been an exciting week at George Mason University. We started our strength, conditioning and skill instruction for the preseason. Having everyone together preparing for the year ahead brings great anticipation. I have challenged the guys to pursue excellence in everything they do. Whether it be in their training, competition, studies or life, I want them giving their best effort and having a great attitude. If we collectively strive for excellence, we will be able to achieve greatness together.

Our new coaching staff is in place. There will be an announcement made soon. I guess if you read this blog you will be ahead of most in finding out. As you already know, Greg Flournoy has assumed the position of Volunteer Assistant Coach. Joining the program this week as a full-time Assistant Coach was Canaan Bethea. I am confident he will have an immediate and positive impact on the program. Rejoining the program as a Coach is former Head Coach Mark Weader. His passion and knowledge of George Mason Wrestling has helped me since my arrival on campus. I am pleased to work with him in a more formal setting. I am excited about this staff. Together we can do great things.

Come meet and welcome the new wrestling staff this Wednesday at the Paul Maltagliati Golf Tournament at the Bull Run Golf Club. You can golf or just join us for the dinner portion of the event. To sign up go to It should be a fun day together.

The schedule has been done, for the most part, for quite some time. We are currently waiting for the A10 Basketball schedule to be finalized before we can release our schedule. Here is a sneak peek at our first semester dates as I believe they will not be altered. We will kick off the year with a home dual against Indiana University November 17 at 7pm at the RAC. Then we will be on the road for the Navy Classic on November 19 and at the Grapple at the Garden on November 27 where we will wrestle Buffalo University at 1030am and Hofstra University at 1230pm. We will have two conference duals on the road December 3rd at Bloomsburg University at 2pm and December 4th at Lock Haven University at Noon. We will host the Mason Duals at the RAC on December 9. North Dakota State University will wrestle the University of Maryland at 4pm, NDSU will wrestle us at 530pm, and finally UMD will wrestle us at 7pm.

I hope to see you often this year as your support helps the wrestlers achieve their dreams, build the program as a whole, and gives the wrestlers a meaningful D1 experience.

August 2016 Update

Summer is almost over. It is an exciting time as there is a buzz of activity around campus. Classes start on Monday August, 29. We will have our first team meeting of the new school year on Tuesday, August 30.

I was able to attend the NWCA Convention at the end of July. It was a great time to learn, meet people and to fellowship. I felt our meetings with the D1 coaches and the NCAA was especially beneficial this year. We will see if the seeds planted will bear fruit. I think they will.

We recently finished our summer wrestling camps at the GMU Field House. I was pleased to see our number of campers grew again this year. We also did a high school only camp for the first time which I believe was well received. Sahid Kargbo was at every session of every camp. I was thankful to have his help and I know the campers benefited from his expertise. It was fun having my brother and dad at some of the camps as well. Both of them do a great job, so I know they helped the participants grow as people and wrestlers. Several GMU wrestlers stopped by camp to lend a hand which was great for all involved. I was encouraged to see several repeat campers.

If anyone is interested, my brother Dan left several signed copies of his book, “Finish Strong” for me to sell. You can contact me or stop by the wrestling office if you want to purchase an autographed copy of his book.

We will host the Paul Maltagliati Memorial Golf Tournament on Wednesday, September 14 at Bull Run Golf Course. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year for the Patriot Elite Wrestling Club. Hopefully you can attend or be one of our sponsors. For more information, go to

Like most of you, I will be watching as much of the Olympic wrestling competition as possible. There will be some amazing stories written this week in Rio.

July 13, 2016 Update

Lots of updates, so hold on it might be a bumpy read. As most know, Tom Carr has started his new job as the head coach of Central Christian College. I am confident he will do well. Dave Marble has stepped down from his role as our volunteer coach. In his role as the volunteer, Dave has proved valuable to the program. My hope is he will continue to stay connected to George Mason University Wrestling. Israel Silva has recently decided to take on the task of helping rebuild the Fresno State University wrestling program. I know it was a difficult decision for Israel and his family, but I do wish them the best with their new adventure.

I am now working to make sure we have a staff that will help the current team members achieve their goals and move program forward. I am excited to report Greg Flournoy has decided to assume the role as the volunteer assistant coach. As a recent grad, he will be able to impact team. His knowledge, skill level and recent experiences will be easily relayed to the team. He has walked in the same shoes and on the same path the team is traversing. As I have written often, his wrestling IQ is very high, so I know he will have a positive impact on the mat.

The show of support from Alums during the alumni-athlete giving challenge was outstanding. In fact, we finally won the overall giving percentage. We have come in 2nd a few times, so I am happy we finally won. We will receive $3,000 thanks to the challenge made by Dan and Patty Wotring. To my surprise, we lost the young alumni portion of the challenge to the Masonettes (Congratulations), but we did win another $1,000 by having the most improved giving percentage. I want to thank those who donated and those who helped rally the troops. Hopefully, my phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook posts and in person requests were not too annoying. I am thankful and appreciative, even if you did not donate, for alums putting up with my zeal for success. I also want to thank the former coaches who helped me twist arms (Jerry Mullins, Roger Rinker, Mike Moyer, Brian Shaffer and Mark Weader). I heard from more than one alumnus Mark Weader made sure to get their donation.

I have been on the road quite a bit recruiting, speaking, and doing clinics. I will be in town more as my camps will be starting soon. Hopefully you can help me spread the word.

I am excited to report Sahid Kargbo will be at all of my camps. Sahid will certainly be an asset to me and those who attend. Sahid will be a senior at George Mason University where he has been 3rd in the EWL tournament twice while serving as the team captain. Sahid has also excelled on the international scene as he represented the USA at the Junior World Championships and last year he won the University Greco-Roman National Championship.

July 25-29 we will be hosting a high school only camp. My hope is to be able to gear the camp toward the needs of this age group and help them prepare for the upcoming high school season.

August 1-5 we will host an all age folk style camp. I am excited to report my father Rick will be at a session of the camp, as he was last year. In addition, my brother Dan will be at a session of the camp. Dan is a 4x NCAA II Champion, 4x undefeated high school state champion, and current high school coach. Dan recently wrote a book about his life entitled “Finish Strong” which, despite some of his recollections of things I did as a kid, is a great read.

August 5-6 our Father/Son camp now called Parent/Child camp is back. This year it will feature Rick and Dan Russell. This has traditionally been our most popular camp and for good reason. Those who have attended have said it is a great weekend where they have benefited. I hope the room is packed with parents and wrestlers. This year my son Taft and I plan to participate so we can learn along with everyone else.

August 8-12 we will host our first youth only camp. This camp will be geared toward wrestlers ages 6-12. Rick and Dan Russell will help run a session. Sahid Kargbo and I plan on being at the camp for the entire week.

For more information you can go to or contact me via email at Don’t worry, if I can’t assist, Sadie Russell can. She is great and really runs the show.

Thanks for your support and I look forward to what the future has in store.

University Nationals

We had a good contingent of wrestlers choose to go to the University Nationals this past weekend. Although I would have liked everyone train and attend, we did have 14 wrestlers attend the competition – Ibrahim Bunduka, Bill Prochniewski, Ryan Renkey, Logan Harvich, Sahid Kargbo, Tejon Anthony, Matt Raines, Sean Raftery, Daniel Mika, Patrick Davis, Austin Harrison, Justin Hite, Gary Miltenberger, and Matt Voss. 13 competed in Freestyle and 9 guys competed in the Greco-Roman tournament. My hope is the matches will help them learn what they need to work on over the summer months. I believe competition helps with the evaluation process and can increase your learning curve.

Although we did not have anyone place in the Freestyle competition, we did have several guys win matches. Notably, Patrick Davis led the team with a 4-2 record. Matt Voss finished with a 3-2 record. Sahid Kargbo was 2-0, before being injured in a bout. We made the decision, despite his protest, to withdraw him from the remainder of the competition.

We had 3 placers in the Greco-Roman Tournament. Matt Raines and Ryan Renkey both placed 8th. Despite their lack of Greco-Roman experience, it was good seeing them have success. Matt Voss found a way to when the Heavyweight division. It was fun watching him compete. He wrestles a high pace and is willing to take risks. He won 3 matches in order to qualify for the best of 3 finals. In his semi-final match he won by a fall early in the bout after throwing a great left-handed head lock. He lost his first bout in the finals, but won the next two to punch his ticket to the University World Championships in Turkey. His composure and effort level were outstanding.

Off season wrestling is also good for team bonding. We were able to spend lots of time together. Every evening we were treated to great hospitality and food by the Meadows family. I know the guys are thankful. On our last night in Ohio, we were able to celebrate Tom Carr’s birthday and watch UFC 199 at the Meadows home. I think we might have overstayed our welcome as Mike and Connie went to bed before we left their home.

On Monday, I was able to attend the 29th Annual Patriot Club Alumni-Athlete Golf Outing. It was a beautiful day for the event. I ended the day by getting a tour of the Inn at Evergreen by Mike Garcia. I was more than impressed by the work done to renovate the historic home. The only bad thing about the event is we lost the award for the team with the most alumni in attendance to Baseball. I certainly prefer winning. Hopefully we can win it at the 30th Annual.

Speaking of winning, I am hopeful we can win the 2016 alumni-athlete giving challenge that concludes on June 30. We are currently in 3rd place. Thus, please pester alums in to giving. For more information about the alumni giving challenge and to give go to

The guys are now taking a few days off before beginning our summer Strength Program which will be led by John Delgado and Israel Silva.

University Duals

For many years, several people in the wrestling community have talked about having a dual meet tournament in Freestyle and Greco-Roman for the University Age Division. I believed it was something people wanted. I believed it would help the development of our Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers. Finally, thanks to the efforts of Teague Moore and the staff at USA Wrestling, they were able to come up with a format that would fit within the mandates of the NCAA rules that so many of our USA Wrestlers operate under.

Equally important was the fact the Wrestlers In Business Network (WIBN) saw the value in the endeavor. Derek Donahue took the lead for the WIBN and ran with the concept. Many of the Washington DC area chapter of the WIBN contributed time and money to make the event a positive one. Following Derek’s lead, the group did a great job running the first time event.

We were fortunate to host the event at George Mason University. It afforded us the opportunity to high light our institution and our Patriot Elite Wrestling Club (PEWC). I especially enjoyed the Career Event put on by the WIBN which enabled over 250 college students to interact with some great companies. It was amazing seeing wrestlers, a few hours past weigh ins, dressed for success and charging forward with their future career paths.

We had 24 teams compete in the University Freestyle Dual competition (pretty good turn out for a first time event). Each team was able to wrestle 5 dual meets. In the finals, Stanford’s Wrestling Club was able to win a 5-4 dual over the Wolfpack Wrestling Club. We were able to enter two teams from the PEWC. Our two teams finished 1-4 and 2-3 respectively. I believe guys were able to learn from the event and I also think they enjoyed the team aspect of the duals.

The following day, after the Freestyle duals, we held the University Greco-Roman Dual Meet Tournament. We had five teams compete in the Greco-Roman event. We wrestled a round robin, so each team was able to wrestle 4 duals. American University won the Greco-Roman tournament while the PEWC finished second. Sahid Kargbo and Matt Voss were both 4-0 on the day and were part of the all-tournament team.

I want to say thank you to all who made the event possible and to those who attended. I think we have the makings of something special.