These days, most wrestlers who win NCAA titles and represent the U.S. at the Olympics, then become successful college coaches, can trace their entry into wrestling in early grade school – perhaps even before kindergarten.
Then there’s Kerry McCoy, the two-time NCAA heavyweight champ and two-time member of U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling teams who is now head coach at the University of Maryland, who launched his illustrious mat career in seventh grade… relatively late by today’s standards.
McCoy first got noticed as a wrestler at Longwood High School in Middle Island, N.Y., where his accomplishments were later honored when he was welcomed into his high school’s Hall of Fame in 1998, and named the 2005 Friends of Long Island Wrestling Man of the Year in 2005.
As arguably the most accomplished heavyweight in Penn State wrestling history, McCoy built a 150-18 overall record, becoming a three-time Big Ten champ, a three-time NCAA All-American, and two-time NCAA champ, in 1994 and 1997. Those two years, he was named Penn State Athlete of the Year and Wrestler of the Year. The Nittany Lion big man concluded his collegiate career by winning the Hodge Trophy as best college wrestler of 1997, as well as being named W.I.N. (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine) Wrestler of the Year.
McCoy went on to even greater acclaim in freestyle competition, winning a silver medal at the 2003 World Championships in New York City in 2003, and gold at the 2003 Pan American Games. The Long Island native represented the U.S. at 120 kilos/264.5 pounds at two Olympics, placing fifth at the 2000 Sydney Games, and seventh in Athens in 2004.
McCoy launched his coaching career at Penn State, serving three seasons as an assistant coach before heading to Lehigh University, where he held a similar position for five years. He then left Pennsylvania to become head coach at Stanford University for three seasons. In 2008, McCoy took the helm of the University of Maryland wrestling program. Among his achievements: taking the Terps to three top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, three ACC titles and coaching six Terps to All-America status, while being named ACC Coach of the Year three times. McCoy was also named Maryland Coach of the Year in 2012.
Staff Writer, InterMat (http://www.InterMatWrestle.com)
Guest contributor, www.truewrestlinginsider.com