Good South Bend Tribune Interview with Coach Hassemanhttp://www.southbendtribune.com/sbt-high-school-wrestling-mishawaka-healing-starts-with-hasseman-20120711,0,2538862.column
Bryce Hasseman understands the predicament. The 30-year-old son of a wrestling lifer refuses to be intimidated.
“If a man in this situation isn’t a little nervous, there’s something wrong,” Hasseman said Tuesday, the day he was approved by the School City of Mishawaka. “I’ve never backed down from a challenge, though.
“The past is the past. I’m only focused on the future. Everyone has a clean slate. I don’t know anybody; nobody knows me.”
Hasseman’s father, Bob,
has been the head wrestling coach at Franklin (Ind.) High for three decades. A state champion at 160 pounds as a senior in 2000, Bryce went on to wrestle at Northern Illinois, then finished his career and earned a degree in exercise science at Bloomsburg University.
His coaching philosophy, with a foundation anchored from years as a mat rat with his dad, was enhanced through a couple years under wrestling icon John Smith at Oklahoma State.
“I want to win, but I want to win the right way,” Hasseman said. “My wrestlers don’t showboat; they won’t be punks. You earn respect by winning wrestling matches. My job will be taking the team and making men out of them.”
The no-nonsense approach didn’t just come by accident.
“When it came to my dad, you always knew he was the boss,” Hasseman said. “He still made it fun, though. His best advice to me was, ‘Just be yourself. You might be hard, but you have to be fair.’”
Can’t ask for more than that in a demanding sport.
Hasseman’s assignment as a physical education teacher will be his first at the high school level. However, his experience in strength training with world class athletes at Oklahoma State and the U.S. Olympic Training Center provides an enviable background.
He grudgingly used the word “retired,” when it came to his own involvement as a competitor. Three shots at the Olympic Trials netted a third-place finish (with one spot available on the team) in 2008, and a wife.
Angie McGinnis was a volleyball player at the University of Florida when the two met at the Olympic Training Center. A setter, she was an alternate for the U.S. team in 2008.
The two turned near misses into Mr. and Mrs.
Bryce worked hard for a shot at the 2012 London Games. In tip-top shape heading into the late April Trials, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder suffered a blow to his chances when he sustained a torn ACL. He opted not to have surgery. It didn’t stop him from competing, but he lost in the first round.
“It bothered me,” Hasseman admitted of the injury. “Wrestlers typically aren’t the smartest athletes, but we might be the toughest. I hate to go out like that.”
While juggling a full-time teaching gig and the charge of one of the most high-profile wrestling programs in Indiana, competition might take a backseat.
Besides working with club-age wrestlers at Oklahoma State, the bulk of Hasseman’s time on the mat has been spent with collegiate athletes.
“The fundamentals of wrestling are the same (between high school and college),” he said. “I enjoy developing an athlete. I’ve had a walk-on (at Oklahoma State) develop into a third-place finisher in the NCAA. Attitude and technique are important.”