#76: Exclusive Interview with University of Maryland Head Coach Alex Clemsen

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Why Maryland?
On this special edition of the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast, Matt Dernlan sits down with newly named University of Maryland Head Wrestling Coach Alex Clemsen. Dernlan asks Clemsen why Maryland was the right choice for him to take his storied coaching career to the next level. Clemsen speaks about the close relationships he has with many of the instrumental administration and staff surrounding Maryland. He also mentions just how good of a school it is academically on top of being in the BIG 10 wrestling the best schools in the country. When you combine great people, great education, and great competition you can’t go wrong.
The Difference (6:42)
Dernlan asks Clemsen about the things that have jumped out to him immediately as the difference moving from an associate head coach position to head coach. Coming from a unique four-year position at Missouri, Clemson was empowered with a lot of responsibility and included in decision making that most coaches in that position wouldn’t be. This had made the transition to head coach seamless.
Learning from Legends (13:22)
Since Clemsen’s athletic career at Edinboro being coached by Tim Flynn and Lou Roselli where he was an All-American and 4x NCAA qualifier he has been surrounded by legends in the sport. Clemsen goes on to tell how Flynn and Roselli played a crucial role in shaping him as a young man and ingraining into him many of the principles he lives by today. He also speaks about his time at Oregon coaching under Troy Steiner. Overall Clemsen is thankful he’s had the opportunities to be around not just good wrestling minds but good human beings.
Recruiting (26:45)
The topic of recruiting is brought up and Clemsen gives his thoughts on the ongoing trend of recruiting kids at a younger and younger age. He doesn’t believe it’s healthy for a few reasons. One reason is pushing kids to compete more is not good for their bodies or minds. From weight cutting to injuries to mental fatigue, too many repetitions and competitions are not beneficial. Another unspoken about factor about competing more is the money and time required to travel to and compete in tournaments and showcase events. Lastly, the younger you recruit the harder it is to divide your scholarships into a team without holes in the roster. You may recruit a kid thinking they’ll be a 125 lbs wrestler but they grow and become a 144 lbs.
What’s to Come (35:09)
Clemsen talks about the task ahead of him at Maryland and all that he’s excited for. He speaks on the culture he is building, the type of wrestler he is recruiting, and what it means to be a Terrapin.
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171 episodes