Wrestling.Life's Daniel McCune was lucky enough to be on the phone with Jason Welch when he was announced as the new head coach of SF State's wrestling program. Coach Welch was gracious enough to agree to a quick interview. The recording of the conversation is directly below this text and a write up of the conversation follows.
Reminder, this is Daniel McCune's first interview, he is not an interviewer, he is a teacher/coach, so please bare with the conversation but feel free to roast him in the comments.
For those of you unaware, Jason Welch is one of the best high school wrestlers ever to come out of California. His exploits are legendary. He also found great success at the college level for Northwestern University making the NCAA finals and earning 3 NCAA DI All-American honors. He went on to All-American in Freestyle before moving into coaching. Coach Welch is now the head coach of SF State University.
Coach Welch had just accepted an assistant coaching job at Northwestern, where he was extremely happy, but the call back to CA was too great. When the SF State job opened it became an opportunity that Coach Welch could not ignore. It isn't everyday that college head coaching jobs open in wrestling and especially not in the Golden State. This draw proved to be too much as Welch explains, "knowing this is a long term goal of mine, when this job came up I thought I have to jump on this and I do love Northwestern and I am so thankful for my time there... That said it is a dream of mine to coach college wrestling in CA." This will be Coach Welch's first official coaching job at the college level, and he is the head coach, but he does want people to know he is confident in his experience.
"I have been coaching since I was in high school, in a way, between camps and clinics, working with the kids clubs and helping out at the local kids club. Going forward in college I was always involved in summer camps and I was always involved with our Wildcat Wrestling Club coaching kids. Going forward, as a resident athlete at Northwestern, for the past 3 or 4 years I was in the room everyday. So it is not like I was just a workout partner, I was doing one on ones, I was helping the guys. I was also the head coach of a high school... I've been in the game a while now. Ideally I might have had a year or two to train or longer to receive that assistant coach time, but the fact is this opportunity is now." - Jason Welch
Coach Welch values enthusiasm, being positive, and being excited to be there. I think it is clear Coach Welch's youth and passion will be a lift for the SF State program. "It isn't about me, it is about them". Coach Welch also brings a level of technical expertise that we may not have seen at SF State in the last several years. A self confessed "technique geek" Welch brings current and cutting edge technique from his recent competition background and success at the senior level. "Not everyone has to wrestle like me, but I'm going to give the kids the knowledge to wrestle however they wrestle."
Personally, as a coach in the Bay Area, I feel that Coach Welch will give a shot in the arm to the local wrestling scene throughout the greater Bay Area. BAWA director Roberto Gonzalez has already been making solid progress increasing the areas wrestling opportunities but with Coach Welch in town and potentially having an RTC at SF State will we see a resurgence of great wrestling out of the Bay Area? I guess only time will tell. SF State is a "gold mine" says Welch. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.
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