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Continued from page 25

and Ryan Churella, along with some tal- ented younger wrestlers, Eric Tannenbaum and Josh Churella. And we had a tough heavyweight with Greg Wagner. We had a group of guys who bought into what we needed to do to be successful. They would lay it on the line every afternoon in order to get better. We also had some really good leaders on that team, which makes a big difference.

USA Wrestler: Is there a style of wrestling that describes the Michigan wrestling program under your leadership, and how do you develop that? McFarland: I want my team to com- pete how I did, highly conditioned and highly aggressive, with that tough hard- nose style of wrestling. People talk about the Iowa style, and I’m of a similar philos- ophy. I don’t want to take time off, I want them to fight through adversity, and make a huge commitment to their wrestling. The great thing is that my coaching staff is on the exact same page about this.

USA Wrestler: Michigan takes great pride in its academics. How important is that aspect to the success of your pro- gram, and how can your wrestlers excel both on and off the mat? McFarland: We are not just going to recruit good wrestlers, we need to have the other side covered too. It will attract a certain kind of athlete who finds both important. We have some great academic support here. When it’s said and done, the bottom line is they need to get their education. The balance of academics and athletics is second to none here at Michigan. They can continue to wrestle if that is their goal here. But when they are done wrestling, they have their education and can go out and be very successful in their life. They can be great representa- tives of Michigan wrestling as the go on in their careers.

USA Wrestler: Very few teams have ever won an NCAA team title in Div. I wrestling. Can Michigan join that select group, and what would it take to put that together in today’s wrestling world? McFarland: I think we have a lot of things in place. We have an unbelievable coaching staff. We have an outstanding wrestling facility. With the Regional Training Center, a lot of blue-chip recruits can look at this place, and they know that they can pursue their international goals too. We have an awful lot to offer. We believe Michigan is a special place. I think we have the pieces of the puzzle pulled together. We believe we are going

to make another run for it.

USA Wrestler: Tell us about the deci- sion made by Michigan to bring highly respected coaches Sean Bormet and Donny Pritzlaff to the program as your assistant coaches. How did that happen and what impact have they already made?

McFarland: I felt that we really needed to re-energize our program and to get some new blood in our coaching staff. They were the first to come to mind. I have great respect for them both. Sean was a former student-athlete here. Sean and Donny are very close. We recruited Donny to Michigan and although he didn’t come here, we thought highly of him. I felt that both of them had high integrity and character and are great coaches. We were able to get them to come here. They have had a huge influence on our current athletes and on our recruiting for the future.

USA Wrestler: Through the Cliff Keen WC, Michigan has made a big investment in the U.S. national freestyle program as a strong Regional Training Center. Why is this so important to the Michigan pro- gram?

McFarland: We revamped our club and it has been great for the program. It is tremendous having these kind of guys here, like Jake Herbert, Tyrell Todd, Josh Churella and Mike Poeta. We had Andrew Howe training here for a year. Kellen Russell is going to stay and contin- ue wrestling. Andy Hrovat is helping coach the club. They inspire and help develop our current college team. They are attractive to top recruits who want to be World and Olympic champions some day. We wanted our kids to know that you can do everything with this program. Having older guys around college guys helps everybody involved.

USA Wrestler: What do you feel are key things that would make college wrestling more popular and successful? As the coach of a major program, how can you make a difference? McFarland: It has to start on campus.

You need to put out a good program with an exciting, aggressive style of wrestling. It is about being visible on your campus and in your local community. But ultimate- ly, people want to see a program that wins. You need to have a successful product. It starts with building the pro- gram on your campus, then building the sport in your state.





27 USA Wrestler

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