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Amateur Wrestling Alliance Convention a success in Dallas, June 18-21



AMATEUR WRESTLING ALLIANCE CONVENTION WAS A SUCCESS IN DALLAS, TEXAS, JUNE 18-21

The Amateur Wrestling Alliance (AWA) held its first combined convention, June 18-21, at the LeMeridien Hotel in downtown Dallas, Texas. The convention, previously called the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) convention, was held prior to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling which were at the Reunion Arena from June 22-24. Well over 100 high school and college coaches, leaders and vendors were in attendance.

The convention included clinics, educational presentations, committee meetings, social activities and many other wrestling-related programs. The Amateur Wrestling Alliance includes USA Wrestling (USAW), the NWCA and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (NWHF).

A highlight of the week was the closing banquet, which featured a keynote address by David Pottruck, co-CEO of Charles Schwab, Co. and a major wrestling supporter. Pottruck stressed the importance of the three organizations in the AWA working together for the future of the sport.

A number of NWCA awards were presented at the banquet. The NWCA announced its choices for High School and Collegiate Coaches of the Year. Bobby Douglas of Iowa State Univ. was named Collegiate Head Coach of the Year and Tom Brands of the Univ. of Iowa was named Assistant Coach of the Year. Jack Holloway of William Penn High School in Delaware was named High School Head Coach of the Year and Dennis Miller of Kearney High School in Nebraska was named Assistant Coach of the Year.

An important informational session on the new Amateur Wrestling Alliance was hosted, with specific information from the sport's leaders, as well as a question-and-answer period. Featured speakers were Scott Beck, the Chairman of the "Wrestling for the Next Millennium" campaign, Jim Scherr, the Executive Director of USA Wrestling, Mike Moyer, the Executive Director of the NWCA and Myron Roderick, president of the NWHF.

These leaders shared their vision for the new alliance and the direction of the sport for the future. The idea behind the Amateur Wrestling Alliance is to form a single brand identity for wrestling by sharing and leveraging assets, pooling resources and working toward one common goal. Information on the Wrestling for the Next Millennium campaign, which has now reached $7 million in pledges, was also provided.

The technique clinics, open to all coaches at the convention, featured 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kendall Cross, USA Wrestling's National Developmental Coach Mike Duroe and Stanford University head coach and Dave Schultz WC coach Chris Horpel.

A Title IX presentation was provided, featuring three experts on the subject from the wrestling community. Leo Kocher, the head coach of the University of Chicago and founder of the National Coalition for Athletics Equity (NCAE), presented his current view of the Title IX situation, as well as a detailed plan for a public relations program. Mark Martel, the attorney for the Neal v. Board of Trustees law suit, updated the status of the Cal-State Bakersfield law suit. Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling's Communications Director, gave an overview of the many on-going activities and organizations that are working to abolish proportionality. The presentation was designed to inform participants as well as provide the opportunity for feedback and involvement.

A Career Opportunities presentation was given by Chris Ritrievi, Director of Athletic Development at Michigan State University and Andy Noel, Athletic Director at Cornell University. Together they emphasized the importance of professional development in the non-technical areas of wrestling. Administration, leadership, relationship building and fundraising were among the areas they deemed important for a successful wrestling program, as well as success in other walks of life.

Another presentation entitled "What Matters Most, " was given by Frank Arnold, former assistant basketball coach to John Wooden at UCLA. This time management presentation integrated the use of Palm Pilot and Franklin Planner. It was highly received by conference attendees.

The NCAA Rules Commitee meeting was held, with Tim Pavlechko of the NCAA as well as NCAA Wrestling Committee Chairman Dave Martin as presenters. The Wrestling Committee Annual Report was presented, which included the 2000-2001 rule changes. In 2000, there were a total of 91 Division I programs, 41 Division II programs and 106 Division III programs. The number of athletes were 2,782 in Division I, 1,187 in Division II and 2,351 in Division III. Information on attendance, internet traffic, television ratings and championship schedules was also presented.

The 2000 NCAA Div. I Championships drew a record 97,231 fans in St. Louis, Mo. this year. The attendance at the Div. II Championships was 7,362 and the Div. III Championships drew 3,636 fans. Traffic on the www.NCAAwrestling.com web site included 4,267,301 page views.

The NWCA held its annual meeting at the conference. Elections were held for new members of the NWCA Board and three new members were added. Roderick became an affiliate member with the NWHOF; Bob Friedhoff, former chairman of XVAULT Corp., was chosen as an at large member as was Bob Dehaven, CEO of Patriot Harley Davidson and managing director of Robert C. DeHaven Enterprises.

The NWCA also voted to rename its Coaching Excellence Award to the Robert G. Bubb Coaching Excellence award. Bubb is the past Executive Director of the NWCA and former head coach at Clarion University. The award will be presented to the deserving coaches at the 2001 NCAA Tournament in Iowa City, Iowa.

Also discussed was the Automated Weight Certification Internet Calculator Program, which will allow coaches and trainers to comply with NCAA regulations and procedures for weight certification. College coaches must be NWCA members to access the program which is expected to be launched in September through TheMat.com, the official website of the Amateur Wrestling Alliance.

Other announcements by the NWCA included the combination of the ACC, CAA and the Southern Conference into a single wrestling weekend. The first multi-conference tournament will be held in March 2001 at the Univ. of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

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