Wrestling Alumni and Fan Interaction: The Army West Point Way


Military West Level head coach Kevin Ward (Picture/WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Increase your hand if you’re subscribed to some web site or firm and also you get automated emails. What share of these do you even learn? Do you simply delete them with out studying? Is that this actually one of the best ways to succeed in out to prospects? To me, it appears old style. Many wrestling coaches nonetheless do that to their loyal fanbase. An e-mail blast to a whole lot or 1000’s of followers with little or no, if any, communication forwards and backwards. There needs to be a greater approach to maintain wrestling alumni and followers concerned. What is the subsequent “factor?” Coach Ward and his crew at Military West Level are as forward-thinking as they arrive. Their alumni-run podcast entitled “BHAW Radio” is the proper concept.

Earlier than we get to the podcast, what does “BHAW” imply? BHAW is Military’s group motto. Should you’ve been inside their wrestling room not too long ago, you may see it written out on the partitions: “Brotherhood Coronary heart Angle Warrior.” Are there any 4 phrases that higher describe the Military West Level wrestling group? Most likely not. This motto was created just a few years in the past, after speaking with academy sports activities psychologists. It has been this system’s motto ever since, even after Coach Ward took over this system. It is a uncommon factor to do as a result of, more often than not, a brand new coach is employed, and so they introduce or create their very own group motto with the group. Coach Ward purchased into “BHAW” instantly.

The podcast sprung up through the starting of the COVID outbreak in March of 2020. Hosts Brian Rowan (class of 2009) and Jordan Thome (class of 2013) met with Coach Ward and launched him to the concept. He was on board from the beginning. He liked that it was one thing new and thrilling that not many applications are doing. One of the best half in regards to the podcast is that Brian and Jordan haven’t any affiliation with the college presently. They volunteer their time to do that – exhibiting how a lot they help this system and actually consider in what they’re doing. Listening to only one episode, you’ll be able to actually hear their ardour. After speaking to Brian, he talked about that Coach Pat Popolizio’s podcast at NC State was an inspiration behind this concept. Virtually all wrestling followers understand how Coach Pop is on the vanguard of introducing new concepts to the game in many various avenues. I actually assume extra groups will begin to do that in a similar way.

Throughout the season, Coach Ward is a typical visitor on BHAW Radio and likes to debate previous outcomes and upcoming duals. There may be simply one thing about seeing and listening to the pinnacle coach speak about these items, in comparison with an e-mail blast. It actually helps showcase his persona and the thrill he has in direction of his program when you’ll be able to see and listen to it for your self. Once I talked to Coach Ward about BHAW radio, he emphasised how the podcast offers followers “a extra in-depth look into our program and goes on behind the scenes.” Plus, it’s refreshing to listen to what alumni need to say in regards to the present state of this system. A lot of the time, they’re fairly sincere about emotions – each constructive and detrimental. It performs very properly into what Coach Ward wished out of the podcast – “an effort to construct extra neighborhood round our program.”

BHAW radio is greater than a podcast, nonetheless. It is a approach to join alumni from varied generations. Throughout the low season, since there’s not a ton of wrestling to speak about, BHAW can have visitors seem on their podcasts. Many instances, these visitors speak about their tales about a variety of subjects. These visitors get to debate their time at Military West Level, success tales after commencement, why they determined to attend West Level, amongst a number of different issues. Typically, there’s very minimal wrestling mentioned. You possibly can solely think about the quite a few probably unimaginable visitors this particular college has to supply. It’s a good way for alumni to listen to how this system has modified over the a long time. The listeners can actually get fascinating tales in 45 to 60-minute chunks at a time. Personally, I consider that is the proper size for a podcast.

One episode I extremely advocate testing is the 9/11 particular (episode #15 on their YouTube channel). Brian and Jordan introduced just a few of the group captains from the 2005 class. This was the primary class to finish their total four-year profession on the academy after the tragic 9/11 assault in 2001. Listening to this one makes you bleed crimson, white, and blue. One other nice episode is the story of Bob Steenlage. If , that is episode #16 on the YouTube channel. Bob was a Vietnam veteran who wrestled at West Level. He additionally was the primary 4x Iowa State Champ and an excellent wrestler within the Nineteen Sixties. His story is solely unimaginable.

I’ve all the time had the assumption that it takes a particular athlete to wrestle on the Division 1 stage. Athletes who attend the army academies are (as the youngsters say nowadays) “constructed completely different.” In all seriousness, the classwork, plus practices, plus further actions they should do, takes somebody very severe about what they need in life. This makes it tougher to recruit, because the variety of prospects is considerably restricted. They work exhausting at every little thing, plus they are a ache within the butt to wrestle! I all the time hated wrestling guys from these colleges. I knew I used to be in for a battle each time, irrespective of who it was.

BHAW is barely 45 episodes deep proper now. It is nonetheless constructing momentum however appears to be gaining some steam. Coach Ward confirmed to me that the response has been “unimaginable” and that they “will certainly maintain it going.” Why would you not? It is a phenomenal concept that the game wants. Co-host Brian acknowledged the last word finish objective of the podcast is to ultimately construct it right into a networking software to incorporate former, present, and future Military West Level wrestlers. Think about one central location the place alumni can look to rent a candidate they belief with a standard curiosity in Military wrestling. One other constructive that would come from that is that it may very well be a terrific recruiting software. Potential student-athletes, and their mother and father, can watch episodes and see the success tales of former wrestlers. It is a priceless addition to assist entice recruits to West Level.

It is totally potential that I am out of the loop, however I have no idea of many applications that produce a podcast like this. If there are podcasts like this on the market, I can’t think about there are various. I truthfully consider this may very well be the longer term in the case of connecting alumni of assorted generations. I see this as a simple manner to assist construct up pleasure for any program, and maintain alumni concerned with the group as a lot as potential. Each fan base has alumni keen to place within the work to assist create this content material. Why is each program not doing this; particularly since podcasts are “so scorching proper now” (sure, that is a Zoolander reference). I might like to see each program begin a podcast like this.

As I discussed earlier than, you must take a look at just a few of those episodes. They’re entertaining, sensible, and doing good issues for the game of wrestling. I am hoping the podcast craze catches on to all wrestling applications!

BHAW Radio YouTube Channel


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