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Archie Randall has been involved in wrestling at all of its lev-

els. A high school and college wrestler in Texas, he moved to wrestling-rich Oklahoma and became one of its best coaches. He moved from youth, to junior high, to high school to college wrestling, creating champion teams and athletes at every stop. He is currently the head coach at Oklahoma City University, which has the national champion women’s team and a success- ful men’s team at the NAIA level. Randall has also been a long- time USA Wrestling leader, Oklahoma’s state chairperson and a USA Wrestling Board member for years. Randall is very active as an event director, bringing major events such as the National Duals, Girls Folkstyle Nationals, World Team Trials and others to Oklahoma. We visited with Randall after a record-setting Girls Folkstyle Nationals and University Women’s Nationals was held on his campus.

USA Wrestler: How did you get involved in wrestling and what did you like about it? Randall: I got involved when I was in ninth grade. I was a football player in El Paso, Texas. The head football coach was the wrestling coach. I played basketball and was good at it. I fig- ured I will go in and wrestle, and I would then start in football, too. I was 101 pounds as a freshman. When I got to the first practice, Coach Witt locked the door. What was that about? We had 30 kids in there. He said that practice was starting and you don’t leave until the end of practice. I just liked it. I did it for four years, but I also played football. I went to East New Mexico University as a tailback, but they changed me to free safety. I’m 5-foot-8, so that was not so good. At the end of the semester, I went to UTEP as a walk-on for wrestling. I stayed for a year before they dropped the program. They dropped it because they went into the WAC for football and dropped four sports. I could have transferred but I stayed at the school because I was mad about it. After I graduated, I started coaching wrestling in El Paso for a few years.

USA Wrestler: How did you end up in Oklahoma and coach- ing there? Randall: I went to work in Oklahoma in the oil fields. I was with the Franklin Supply Company. I was an outside sales man- ager, a district manager, and going up the ladder there. At the time, I was coaching Satellite Wrestling, a youth program. We ran through 180 kids a year. We were setting records there. I qualified 140 kids for the state meet. When the oil field business crashed, I talked to my wife and said I wanted to coach. She’s an accountant and said there’s no money in that. I said it was my passion and she supported that. I went and coached at Western Oaks Junior High School for six years. I broke every Junior High record. I had 13 kids in the finals one year at the Junior High States.

USA Wrestler: Tell us about how you built the program at El Reno High School. Randall: When I was hired at El Reno, the program was bad. My only goal at El Reno according the superintendent was to field a complete team. I was her first hire, so I wanted to do real

24 USA Wrestler

Oklahoma City’s Archie Randall has been successful as a coach at various levels of wrestling.

well for her. It started from there. I went on to win 21 state team titles and coach 56 state champions. I set all the Oklahoma records. In every level I’ve coached, your athletes have to out- work everybody if you expect them to succeed. As the coach, you have to work as hard as your wrestlers if you want their respect. My kids wrestled all year round. We wrestled freestyle and Greco-Roman too. They were so young and the program was so bad, they didn’t know the difference. We did that every year. The folkstyle guys don’t recognize this. Kids don’t want to wrestle folkstyle all year. They need a break. Freestyle season is fun. It is time to take them back to like being little kids when it was fun. I would have 20 or 30 kids in Fargo. When they would come back the next year, their confidence level is unbelievable. I had kids in Fargo who would go 0 and 2 and get a T-shirt, and they’d be state champions the next year. They perpetuate them- selves when you do it year after year.

USA Wrestler: Why did you get involved in USA Wrestling leadership in the state? Randall: First, I like the Junior Duals event. In the coaching

part, we had a time our state was in disarray. Kids weren’t get- ting to the national tournament. We had a USA meeting and they asked me to do it. Like everything I do, I go full bore. I try to surround myself with good people. That’s how I got Rance Stein involved. I got Mark Peck and Matt Holt involved, some of the veteran coaches. Now young guys are coming through the program and being leaders. When I started, I had a basket full of stuff, bout sheets and USA cards and I ran the tournaments myself. We grew it from there. Everything I do, I push it to the limit.

USA Wrestler: With your champion high school teams, who was your best wrestler? Randall. I had a bunch of them. I had had Jerrod Sanders, the James boys, many great champions. My favorite would be Tyrone Lewis. He lived with me much of his life. I found him in a

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