Wrestling team goes without coach

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    By JAMES RANDALL

    The BYU wrestling team has learned a lot this year.

    More than anything, it has learned to go without. With the well-publicized Title IX hanging over their heads like an ominous cloud, most of the Cougars know they will have to do without something very vital next year — the wrestling program itself.

    In addition to this, they have also learned to go on without their head coach, Mark Schultz.

    Schultz was recently released from the hospital, but spent the last three weeks there due to a serious case of cellulitis, a skin disease of the connective tissue. He nearly lost his left arm, and potentially, his life.

    What effect has this had on the wrestling team? According to Schultz, none.

    “I don’t think it’s really affected them, wrestlers are a pretty individual kind of people. I probably could have died and they wouldn’t have known,” says Schultz.

    The wrestlers don’t agree.

    “He’s a great wrestler, I mean, he’s an Olympic champion, so obviously he knows how to wrestle,” said wrestler Clayton Curtis. “He’s taught me moves that I can put into my match that have helped me improve tremendously.”

    Calling Schultz a great wrestler may be an understatement. In addition to being an Olympic Gold Medalist in 1984, he also has three NCAA championships at Oklahoma, two world championships, one in 1985 and 1987, and the World Cup in 1982.

    W.I.N. wrestling magazine named Schultz to America’s All-Time Olympic Freestyle Team and said, “Schultz may have been the most physically gifted wrestler in American History. He had it all … strength, flexibility, quickness, and great athletic skills.”

    Schultz came to BYU in 1991 and eight months later he and his wife were baptized into the LDS Church.

    Schultz said of his experience at BYU, “It’s great, I’ve loved it, I’m kind of hoping to stay on here, maybe they could use me in the P.E. department.”

    Assistant coach John Webb who is also an assistant principal at Springville High School, has stepped in while Schultz has been gone, but Webb is happy to see him recovering and coming back.

    “What I appreciate most about coach Schultz is that he has a wonderful presence. He knows what it takes to be an NCAA National champion, Olympic champion and World champion. Very few people know what that is like.”

    “Winning the Worlds in 1985. That was probably the most dominant I’ve ever been,” said Schultz of his most memorable experience.

    On the side, Schultz has started a grappling club and a personal fitness program with his wife. “We teach people how to get in shape,” said Schultz.

    Also, markschultz.com is a new Web site that deals in equipment, instructional videos, motivational speaking, personal training, summer camps and seminars.

    So, with the future of the wrestling program hanging in the balance, and Schultz’s future at BYU uncertain, Schultz still has plenty of options. And, like so many times before, Mark Schultz will come out victorious.

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