Coaches Blog #1 – George Mason Wrestling

My name is Joe Russell and I am the new head wrestling coach at George Mason University…

Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog. I’m a rookie at this. I have never written a blog before. I thought I would give it a shot. I am hopeful it will be worthwhile and give the readers some insight to the George Mason wrestling program from the perspective of a coach. Hopefully, I will be successful in updating this blog after competitions and throughout the year.

I have been on campus since August 15. My assistant coach, Tommy Owen arrived in early October. Thus, we are still getting a lay of the land and trying to learn as much as we can as quickly as we can. The amount of work to be done is enormous. As we finish a day’s work, it seems only that the pile of work to be done has grown. We both believe this is a great problem to have.

Our goal is to build a program that can stand the test of time. We are constantly asking the questions, what is best for the program? What is best for the long-term? Sometimes the answer is easy, other times it is like throwing a dart wearing blind fold. Nevertheless, we hope to make lots of correct decisions.

The guys have done a good job preparing for the season. There is nothing easy about college wrestling. You have to train relentlessly, just to be ready. Even if you do everything right, there are no guarantees. Sometimes you have to wonder why we do what we do. I guess that is what makes athletics intriguing.

I enjoy being part of this team. The guys are easy to work with and I want the best for them. I will not only be their coach, I will be there fan.

All I ask from them every day in practice, in school, and in life are three things: Do what is right, give your best effort and have a great attitude. If they do these three things, the positive results will follow.

If the guys fail to do any of these things, I ask them to admit their mistake, fix it and not to repeat it. We will all stumble from time to time. We will have to pick each other up and move forward.

We start competing soon. The public nature of sports and my job make it hard to hide. If you have done your work hopefully it shows in the arena. If you haven’t, everyone will know. The margin for error is small, so doing things right become paramount to success.

Those who know me know I am the eternal optimist. I expect greatness for this team and program. The experts don’t seem to have much hope for this team. The preseason national rankings neglect to mention our team or any individual. The conference rankings have us picked to finish a distant last. Normally I don’t like the guys looking at the rankings or negative talk. For some reason, it seemed appropriate, to post the rankings for this team. My hope is it will motivate them to prove others wrong. Our team and individual goals are grand. I want the guys preparing and planning for greatness.

We will have our first exam on November 6 at the Hokie Open. Our first home exam will be a tough one. We will face American University on December 10. They finished 5th in the nation last year and are ranked as high as 7th this year. American University is a great example for our program to emulate. They have steadily improved the past decade. We hope to follow their model.

It should be a great ride. I hope you join us for the journey.