COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States has a new freestyle wrestling coach. Great Falls native and four-time Montana high school state champion Bill Zadick will lead the program after the upcoming Olympic Games.
“Of course my excitement level was very high,” Zadick told MTN Sports on Wednesday. “I love wrestling. I’m a wrestling junkie. It’s been a huge part of my life. I started at a young age and was very serious about it. I fell in love with the sport early.”
Zadick learned of the news Tuesday evening. He is currently an assistant with the national freestyle team working with coach Bruce Burnett, who is considered one of the most successful coaches in Team USA history.
“I know the gravity of the situation. Like I said, I’m very excited to have a job but I’m also very humbled because I understand the responsibility that goes along with it,” Zadick said. “I’m optimistic and look forward to the opportunity. I’m eager to get to work.
“As a competitor you chase big goals and big dreams. When you transition into the professional side as a coach you don’t lose that competitiveness. AT least I haven’t. You just channel it in other ways.”
Zadick has worked closely with some of the top American wrestlers since 2009 and was a volunteer assistant at the University of Iowa in 2003 and 2004.
During his time at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Zadick has run into other Montana wrestlers vying for spots on Team USA.
“I run into Barrett (Stanghill) and Toby (Erickson) down here at the training center quite a bit,” he said. “Montana is my home and it always will be. I love being around Montana people and we always share that affinity for our home, no matter what town you’re from.”
Zadick admits he is unable to keep up with the Montana high school wrestling scene as much as he would like, but he does get a chance to return to the Treasure State and meet some of the top athletes Montana has to offer.
“My brother and I started a camp a few years ago – the Zadick Brothers wrestling camp – and it’s an opportunity for me to be at home and help the state of Montana in the sport,” he said. “We have a great tradition for the relatively low population, Montana has always been a great wrestling state. The sport has given me and my family a lot and if there’s a way for us to give back and be a positive influence, that’s not only a passion but a responsibility.
“I’m excited and I do pay attention. There are a lot of young kids and great coaches at the club and high school level that come to the camp and you get to see those kids and I track them afterward and watch their performances at regionals and nationals.”
Zadick’s brother Mike was also a four-time state champion at Great Falls High. Mike is currently a volunteer assistant coach at Virginia Tech where the up-and-coming Hokies finished fourth in the NCAA championships.
“We have a very close family and very supportive family so we talk frequently,” Zadick said of his brother Mike. “It’s exciting to hear about it and see what’s going on so, yeah, I’m happy for him.
“As a national coach, from a professional perspective, it’s great as well because it adds depth and parody to our sport in the college ranks. The NCAA pipeline is our largest developmental structure. That’s where all our future world and Olympic team members come from so it’s great to see other schools building programs. On a personal level, I love my brother as much as I love anybody and I just want the best for him.”
Bill and Mike Zadick will host their annual Zadick Bros. Wrestling Camp on the campus of the University of Great Falls beginning Saturday, June 11 through Thursday, June 16. Oklahoma State head coach and two-time Olympic champion John Smith will also be one of the instructors.
Zadick says the camp is a great way for Montana athletes to learn new techniques and improve on and off the mat.
“The sport of wrestling is a small fraternity and it truly is a family sport,” he said. “I’m excited to be involved in Montana wrestling and continue to help the young kids.”