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By JEREMY HINES
Two Indiana Wrestling Hall of Famers will be at the forefront of expanding the stateâ€™s college wrestling reach next season.
Steve VanDerAa will be Ancilla Collegeâ€™s first wrestling coach beginning in the 2016-2017 season. Steven Bradley will be at the helm of Marian Universityâ€™s first year program, also beginning next season.
â€œObviously being the first coach, nobody has been before me,â€ Bradley said. â€œThere are no footsteps to follow and not a lot of pressure. I get to create my own footsteps. Itâ€™s a good thing. When Iâ€™m all done, many years from now, hopefully I will have set a standard that other people will want to strive to acheive.â€
Bradley was a three-time state champion wrestler from Beech Grove High School. He has coached at the college level for 10 seasons. The move to Marian was exactly the kind of job he was looking for. It enables Bradley to be closer to his family.
For VanDerAa, who coached Winimac High School for 20 seasons, he couldnâ€™t resist the chance to get back into the coaching game.
â€œIâ€™ve officiated the last couple of years, but Iâ€™ve really missed coaching,â€ VanDerAa said. â€œI canâ€™t wait to get back into it.â€
VanDerAa is the first lay coach to be inducted into the Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame. He has a coaching record of 404-96 and says all but six of his career losses came at the hands of schools larger than Winimac. He has helped coached Indiana legends like Angel Escobedo and Alex Tsirtsis.
Both coaches are excited about the chance to build their programs from the ground up.
â€œThatâ€™s the most exciting part,â€ said VanDerAa. I have a say in how weâ€™re going to put the wrestling room together. Weâ€™re ordering all new equipment and when we are recruiting we get to tell them that they are the first and they are going to be the foundation of our program.â€
Bradley said recruiting has been relatively easy from the start.
â€œItâ€™s been nice,â€ Bradley said. â€œIâ€™ve receive a lot of interest already. There are a lot of people contacting me and talking about the school. Iâ€™ve started talking to kids. The interest has been amazing at how many people in the first few weeks have sent emails, calls and text to get information. They love that there is another choice out there.â€
Bradley sees wrestling rising in popularity, especially at the small college level.
â€œThe interest is increasing across the country,â€ Bradley said. â€œWe give kids another option. They can stay close to home and compete. I think itâ€™s a good thing Indiana has more options. It will help Indiana wrestling as a whole. It will help high school kids. The more kids going to college and wrestling, the more young kids will see that and want to follow behind.â€
Both Bradley and VanDerAa have similar characteristics they look for in a recruit.
â€œAcademics are important,â€ VanDerAa said. â€œBut Iâ€™m also looking for athletes that want to be part of our charter program. I want kids dedicated to the sport. I want guys that will do hard work, follow directions and be model young men for the sport.â€
Bradley is also looking for hard workers.
â€œThey have to be able to work hard,â€ Bradley said. â€œWe need kids with integrity. We want kids that want to do well academically and kids that want to do well on the mats. I want kids that constantly want more for themselves and push themselves towards their goals.â€
Ancilla College is a part of the National Junior College Athletic Association, while Marian is a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
- by Y2CJ41
INDIANAPOLIS - Former three-time Indiana state wrestling champion and Beech Grove standout Steven Bradley has been named the first-ever head wrestling coach at Marian University, director of athletics Steve Downing officially announced on Thursday.
"We are excited to have Steven join our staff," said Downing. "We believe he will bring energy to the department and will build the program exactly how we want it built. Steven will bring in quality student-athletes who will perform on the field and in the classroom."
"I am very excited about this opportunity to create and enviroment that breeds success on and off the wrestling mat," said Bradley. "I look forward to having a positive influence on the lives of these young men on a daily basis. This wrestling program is a great addition to the high-quality athletics at Marian University as well as to Indiana wrestling as a whole. I would like to thank President Elsener and Mr. Downing for hiring me and having faith in me to run this program with the utmost integrity."
Bradley brings a wealth of experience within the wrestling world. In his 10 seasons as a collegiate coach, he has helped guide 33 all-americans, 73 national qualifiers and three national champions.
In his first head coaching job, Bradley spent three seasons at Lincoln College in Illinois. From 2012-14, he earned back-to-back regional coach of the year accolades after guiding his team to a pair of team regional championships in 2013 and 2014. In his three seasons, he coached 12 NJCAA All-Americans, 26 national qualifiers, two national champions and had a 21-9 record in dual matches. In his first season, he guided the team to a third-place finish at the 2012 NJCAA National Championship. He was also the director of the Lincoln College Fitness Center during his time as head coach.
Bradley spent 2008-11 as assistant coach at Lincoln before being elevated in 2012. During his time as an assistant, he worked with 10 all-americans, 28 national qualifiers and one national champion.
His first college coaching stop was as assistant coach at the University of Indianapolis from 2005-08. In his four seasons as an assistant at UIndy, he worked with 11 all-americans and 19 national qualifiers.
In 2008, Bradley was inducted into the Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame as a wrestler.
Bradley began his collegiate wrestling career at Lincoln College and was a NJCAA national runner-up in 2000. He graduated from Lincoln in 2000 and continued his studies at UIndy where his career was cut short due to injury. He took up coaching with the Greyhounds and earned his bachelor of science in 2005. He completed his master of coaching education from Ohio University in December of 2013.
He resides in Indianapolis and will guide the Knights into their first season as a NAIA program beginning this fall.
- by Y2CJ41
INDIANAPOLIS - The Marian University department of athletics is proud to announce the expansion of the department with the addition of men's wrestling beginning with the 2016-17 season of competition, director of athletics Steve Downing announced on Thursday.
"We are proud to continue the expansion of our department," said Downing. "We have added women's soccer (1998), women's golf (2004), men's football (2007), men's and women's bowling (2010) and women's lacrosse (2015) in the past two decades and the addition of men's wrestling just makes sense. It's an emerging sport across the nation and we are looking to bring in the top quality student-athletes who will not only compete for championships, but also be strong students in the classroom."
Beginning in the fall of 2016, the Knights will compete for the NAIA national championship as an independent member.
Men's wrestling is the 24th sport within the department of athletics.
- by Y2CJ41