By Ray Hamill — One of the top collegiate wrestling coaches in the country will be on the North Coast for a clinic this week, as a result of the drive to get wrestling re-instated at Humboldt State.
Newly hired Stanford coach Rob Koll, considered one of the best in the business, is visiting to lend his expertise at a three-day clinic at The Club on Central in McKinleyville.
The clinic will take place in The Club’s new wrestling room, a recent addition to the facility, with Koll in town for a Tuesday night and Wednesday morning session, along with his assistant coach, two-time Division-I national champion Vincenzo Joseph.
“For him to commit to come up here, it’s quite an honor and privilege for the local wrestling community,” said McKinleyville High head coach Virgil Moorehead, who organized the clinic with McKinleyville Youth Wrestling. “This is a big deal. He’s one of the top three or four coaches in the country. These are rock stars.”
Koll’s trip to the area came about as part of a recent push to get HSU to add men’s and women’s wrestling.
Along with National Wrestling Coaches Association CEO, Mike Moyer, Moorehead had been in regular contact with former HSU Athletic Director Jane Teixeira about adding wrestling, before she stepped away from the position in late May.
“We thought they were going to move forward with it,” said Moorehead, who had already raised funds to help get the program started, as well as constructing the new wrestling room at The Club for the team to use immediately.
Moorehead says he has not yet spoken about the situation with HSU’s new department head, Cooper Jones, who just joined the staff last week, although he added that he believes the Jacks’ new priority is baseball and not wrestling.
There has been a tremendous growth in women’s collegiate wrestling in recent years, as well as a fast-growing local interest.
Last year, the Eureka girls placed third in the entire North Coast Section, and a growing number of local girls are now going on to compete in college.
After Teixeira stepped down, it was Moyer who reached out to Koll, a friend of his, to ask if he would come to the area for the clinic.
“He called me within two hours,” Moorehead said of Koll, who was more than happy to help out.
The Club will be holding additional youth wrestling clinics in the new room in the future.
The three-day clinic gets under way on Tuesday evening and runs through Thursday.