By Gary Abbott
Brent Metcalf of Iowa City, Iowa has been hired as National Freestyle Developmental Coach by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States.
Metcalf will work under National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick as part of the USA Wrestling national freestyle staff. He will work remotely from Iowa City through May, when he moves to Colorado Springs, Colo. and assumes full-time duties at the USA Wrestling headquarters.
“It is a challenge I am excited about. It is something I have been doing for the last seven years, working to make the United States the best in the world in freestyle wrestling. I will be coming from a different angle, the developmental angle. The work we have done at this level is proving itself with our recent results. I am excited to be a part of this,” said Metcalf.
“We are excited to welcome one of the country’s great competitors and a man of high character to the USA Wrestling family. I am confident Brent will bring a unique skill set and attitude to our program. We are also eager to welcome his wife Kristen and his boys Chase and Cole to Freestyle Team USA. There’s no doubt USA Wrestling was made better today by this hire,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.
“As a head coach, one of the most important things that you do is build a culture with your team and program. The staff is a huge piece of that. There are a ton of great people in the United States. I have respected Brent Metcalf for a long time. He is a fierce competitor. We all know his record on the mat. Going back into the age groups with the Developmental job, which is important to me, he was a record-setter with six Fargo titles. His record speaks for itself. On top of that, he is a great person, a family man, honest and trustworthy, and he works very hard. He is a grounded individual. Those are all characteristics we want to promote with our developmental athletes. He brings a lot to the program and I am excited to start working with him on a daily basis,” said National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick.
Metcalf was a member of four U.S. Freestyle World Teams in men’s freestyle, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Canada, and claimed World Cup gold medals in 2014 and 2015 in Los Angeles, Calif. Other major international events he won included the 2014 UWW Golden Grand Prix Finals in Azerbaijan and the 2011 Olympic Test Event in England. Metcalf won a silver medal at the 2013 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia, considered one of the toughest competitions in the world.
Metcalf qualified for the U.S. Freestyle National Team for six straight years from 2010-2016. He won U.S. Open titles in 2014 and 2015. Metcalf placed second in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He was also second in the 2012 Pan American Olympic Qualifier and third at the 2009 Pan American Championships. Metcalf competed on the 2006 U.S. Junior World Team.
He was a two-time NCAA champion for the University of Iowa, winning his titles in 2008 and 2010. He won the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation’s best college wrestler in 2008. Metcalf was also second at the 2009 NCAA Championships, making him a three-time NCAA finalist, competing under head coach Tom Brands. The Hawkeyes won three NCAA team titles with Metcalf on the roster.
His college career started at Virginia Tech, where he was a redshirt in 2005-06. When head coach Tom Brands left Virginia Tech to take over the Iowa program, Metcalf joined him in Iowa, and lost a year of eligibility when Virginia Tech did not release him.
Metcalf was a high school star at Davison High School in Michigan. He won four Michigan state titles, finishing with a 228-0 record and 156 pins. He also led his team to four state team titles.
He was a record-setting wrestler in USA Wrestling’s age-group programs. Metcalf won six ASICS Junior National titles, three each in freestyle and Greco-Roman, joining Georgia’s Sean Hage as the only six-time Junior National champions in history. He was also a 2002 Cadet National Greco-Roman champion and freestyle runner-up.
“I was a part of that development system. The program which Bill Zadick has planned includes getting international experience early on. Earlier in my career, I didn’t have that opportunity, so I am envious. I was in college when I had my first international tour. Before they get to college, these guys have wrestled many times overseas, including on Cadet and Junior World Teams. This is big, giving them the opportunity beyond Fargo and competing in the USA. With that experience abroad, you put yourself out there against the world’s best and see yourself winning at the world level,” said Metcalf.
Metcalf will coach with USA Wrestling’s age-group men’s freestyle World Teams, serve as a coach for the freestyle resident athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and serve as an assistant coach with the athletes on the Senior national team.
“Freestyle wrestling is something that from day one I have been most passionate about. To be in that realm is something I am very excited about. I like the collegiate system. But growing up in the sport, freestyle was where my passion was. My family is excited about the move to Colorado. In this position, you are also in the biggest stage in wrestling, the World and Olympic championships. It doesn’t get any better than that. My entire life I have geared my life towards being part of the World and Olympic championships, and now I get to be a leader for those who follow. There is a good thing going on, and Bill Zadick has some really good ideas. There are great things we can do to help prepare these guys. It is already showing in the success at that level. We have to keep it going and take it to another level,” said Metcalf.