Kevin Black Discusses Women’s Wrestling
This is the first entry of my bi-monthly blog on my role as a women’s representative with the National Wrestling Coaches Association. I am very proud to be associated with the NWCA and to have the honor to serve as a board member. The NWCA has been a part of many great moments and created a lot of tremendous opportunities in wrestling. Now, it once again has an opportunity to provide new opportunities in the avenue of women’s wrestling.
As the women’s representative for the NWCA, I believe one of my central roles is to unify our efforts with other great organizations such as USA Wrestling and the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA).
USA Wrestling took an initiative in 2002 to make women’s wrestling in our country an international power when the hired Terry Steiner as the USA Women’s Coach. Terry was previously an assistant coach at various prominent NCAA Division 1 wrestling programs, but moved his family to Colorado Springs in hopes of building Olympic Champions and World Champions. Terry and the women’s wrestling team had their “coming out” party at the 2003 World Championships in New York as many American wrestling fans saw their women achieve much success on the international stage. One year later, Patricia Miranda and Sara McMann became the first women in the United States to win Olympic medals in wrestling.
Overall, the United States is viewed as an international power in women’s wrestling circles and the women have benefitted greatly from the support of USA Wrestling, but there were many other players behind the scenes building women’s wrestling at the collegiate and grassroots programs prior to USA Wrestling’s involvement. Kent Bailo and the United States Girls Wrestling Association is the largest women’s wrestling organization in the United States and has held a national championship for all ages for twelve years. Kent started from scratch and built his organization like many other wrestling programs and organizations, with a lot of family involvement and support. The USGWA became extremely relevant when college programs used the USGWA National Championships as their number one recruiting avenue. Most recently, USA Wrestling has added national championships in freestyle (Fargo, ND) and Folkstyle wrestling (Oklahoma City, OK).
Current collegiate coaches Kip Flanik (University of the Cumberlands, Kentucky) and Carl Murphree (Missouri Valley College) have been recruiting top high school athletes from USGWA tournaments for years. Along with Lee Allen (Menlo College), Kip and Carl were very instrumental in bringing established varsity women’s programs into the Women’s College Wrestling Association, established in 2007. The University of the Cumberlands was the first WCWA team champions after winning multiple collegiate titles before the development of a collegiate governing body.
The main role of the WCWA is to serve college programs with established rules and guidelines for an official collegiate season. The objective of the WCWA is to have a product in place that can easily be adapted by the NCAA or NAIA in the near future as they seek “emerging sport” status.
I am fortunate, as a member of the NWCA, to be deeply involved in both USA Wrestling and the WCWA. This year, I will serve as a World Team coach in Herning, Denmark. I was a World Team coach in 2007 in Baku, Azerbaijan. I am also the current President of the WCWA. Together with my responsibilities with the NWCA, I hope to help unite the efforts between all three organizations to see women’s wrestling grow at the grassroots and collegiate levels while seeing the United States become the number one women’s wrestling country in the world!