Bobby Douglas enjoyed coaching U.S. women’s university team, learning new things about being a coach
Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling
You might think Bobby Douglas has done everything there is to do in wrestling. An Olympic athlete, Olympic coach and NCAA Champion coach, among so many other achievements, Douglas is one of the most prominent people in the sport of wrestling.
A Hall of Fame member, Douglas is currently the head coach at Iowa State Univ., a perennial college wrestling power. One of his top pupils was Cael Sanderson, who won four NCAA titles and an Olympic gold medal. There can’t be anything in wrestling that Douglas hasn’t done, right?
What Bobby Douglas had never done, until just a few weeks ago, is coach a U.S. women’s wrestling team at a major competition. In Izmir, Turkey this summer, he served as coach for the U.S. team at the World University Games. The best college women wrestlers in the world came together to battle for honors in this prestigious event.
The United States had a strong performance, with four bronze medals won from the five-athlete team. The field was very strong, with numerous World and Olympic medalists in the competition. Joining Douglas on the tour were coach Tadaaki Hatta and Team Leader Greg Strobel, both who also have extensive experience leading U.S. men’s teams.
When he returned, Douglas was not only a major advocate for the women’s wrestling program and the athletes on the team, but he realized how much he enjoyed coaching women athletes.
“The women did a splendid job,” said Douglas. “There was a logistical nightmare for the team, and they handled that. The handled the adversity of difficult travel. I was impressed by the way these ladies represented themselves and their nation. They are our future. They have gotten so much better technically and tactically. They have become so much more coachable.”
Claiming bronze medals for the United States were Sara Fulp-Allen of Menlo College at 105.5 pounds, Mary Kelly of the New York AC at 112.25 pounds, Marcie Van Dusen of the Sunkist Kids at 121 pounds and Alaina Berube of the New York AC at 138.75 pounds.
Fulp-Allen wrestles for Menlo College, Kelly for Northern Michigan, Van Dusen was a wrestler at UM-Morris and Berube competes for Cumberland College.
“Greg Strobel and Tadaaki Hatta worked with the ladies and their approach to wrestling,” said Douglas, “They both have raised daughters. Greg hit a grand slam in the administrative area. Tadaaki was more able to handl e the emotion and the stress than I was. There was some great chemistry with the team and the staff. The ladies flew the colors. Everybody should be proud of this team.”
As a coach with the Sunkist Kids, Douglas witnessed the development of women wrestlers, as many of the World’s best female athletes were members of the club. The WUG team displayed to Douglas that U.S. women’s wrestling has come a long way.
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