Tick tock, tick tock……. You would think a decision one way or another would be made swiftly. However, when it comes to UMD Athletic Administration, nothing surprises me. It’s never a good thing when people with a very limited wrestling background make decisions about wrestling programs. That’s why our sport needs more allies in administration. I’m not saying that it would happen but it would be great IF they had decided to move on to then give Kerry an associate AD job. I think he would be very good at that. Coincidentally I heard that the administrator over wrestling is moving on. Who knows what implication that has on Kerry or his future as coach. Anyway, I would have thought we’d hear something by now but it can’t be too much sooner. However, the more times goes on, the more likely it is in my opinion that they are just working on a contract extension for Kerry. If they were going to move on, they’d need as much time as possible to find a replacement. There wouldn’t be any need to string this on. If Kerry does stay on, I hope that he can shake up his staff. Nothing against the guys on the staff but it’s hard to compete again their peers who have Donnie Pritzlaff, Sean Bormet, Mark Perry types as head assistants. These are guys who were incredible wrestlers, are well known in the wrestling community and known commodities as recruiters. All top programs have an elite assistant, if not two. Maybe if Kerry is extended it will be a signal to others that they’ll be on staff for a while & have some job security. I heard Kerry had difficulty finding a top assistant last year to replace Eiter because it was well known he was in a lame duck situation. This is not saying anything bad about Jimmy Sheptock as he’s great to have in our program but he doesn’t have the experience that other top assistants have. NCSU has Frank Beasley who is an ace recruiter. VA tech had Robie who now took over their program, UVA has Jordan Leen who’s been around and knows the ropes. You need a top assistant who is good enough to take over the program if the head coach leaves right away. This obviously isn’t the case here at UMD. Most of these top assistants are in their 30’s and 40’s which demonstrates the needed experience coaching at the college level.
I think our program has had an influx in talent but I know Eiter was the lead recruiter on some of these guys. He has a good reputation recruiter. If Kerry has a weakness, it is recruiting so hopefully they can get someone who can come in and fill that void. I’m not trying to be negative but recruiting rankings speak for themselves. Regardless of whomever is the next coach, the administration needs to step up and fund the assistant coaching positions better. I’m not saying Kerry isn’t accountable for our 2-16 record and 1 big ten win in 3 years because he is. However, they need to give him more resources to succeed. We should be a lot better next year IF guys stay healthy and put in a ton of work in the off season. I know I'm a broken record when I say that. In years past, guys were doing a lot more freestyle and Greco spring wrestling. I think this has died down some recently. Just my very amateur 2 cents.
Some big questions heading into next year:
• Beck has improved but Cray is the future. Can he add size and strength to deal with the big ten opponents?
• Is Tyler Goodwin coming back at 133? He has one more year left of eligibility. I heard why he wasn’t in the lineup and while bad, I wouldn’t think it was a career ender. If not, who the heck starts at 133?
• Diehl needs to stay down at 141 and keep improving in all areas. He should start out top 20 ranked
• Someone has to emerge at 157 whether it is Justin Alexander, Danny Boychuck or Wade Hodges. Those are three decent guys but one has to take a hold of the job and distance themselves from the pack. I heard recently that Rastrepo has a major injury and may not be back next year.
• Can Cochran step in day one and make an impact? I think he can.
• Can Uglade or Idris White take a huge leap up and be competitive at 174? Both have potential but had very challenging seasons.
• Is Jaron Smith healthy and able to compete at 84? (This & 133 are huge need weight classes to recruit)
• Whisler and Hemida need to get bigger, add strength.
*and Obviously, if Kerry is the coach, will he finally make some big changes in the off season?
IF Goodwin is back, we could start the year with 4 top 20 ranked wrestlers in Hemida, Bannister, Diehl and Goodwin.