ABOVE: Sarah Bollinger, new women’s wrestling head coach, shakes the had of an opponent during a match. (Courtesty photo)
Matt Shelton, athletic director, announced the hiring of Sarah Bollinger as head coach for the women’s wrestling team on Tuesday.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have found Sarah,” Shelton said in a press release. “She brings a wealth of experience, both as a student-athlete and as a coach at the NAIA level, and embodies the Builder Spirit that we always look for in a head coach. I’m excited to see where she takes our newest program.”
Bollinger brings a list of credentials to Southwestern. At Missouri Baptist, Bollinger was three-time All-American and looks to pass on her own experience to her athletes.
“The biggest thing with being able to compete in college and succeed as well with coaching is building confidence,” said Bollinger. “Knowing that I’ve done it before so I can coach other people to do the same thing.”
Bollinger helped produce six All-Americans and one national champion in her three-year stint as an assistant at Missouri Baptist. Along with experience coaching at the college level, Bollinger also has six years of coaching experience USA Wrestling High School National Team, where she has produced 62 All-Americans, and a pair of national champions.
The former assistant said she learned the ins and outs of how to run a program from her mentor and former coach Brian Jackson.
“He’s been great in showing me how to run a program,” said Bollinger. “A lot of people don’t realize it’s a lot like running a business. It’s not just knowing your sport, there’s a lot of business to do with it.”
The opportunities of a new program and the growth of the sport will draw athletes to Souhwestern’s newest sport, she explained.
“A lot of high school girls don’t know that there’s so many opportunities in college,” said Bollinger. “There’s definitely more people looking than spots open in college, so there’s a big pool to pull from.”
Bollinger is excited for the challenges that come with starting a new program, and ready for the difficulties that come with it.
“I’m really excited that I get to start up and do everything myself, I get to pick the gear, the singlets, the mats, I’m just really excited to really build my program from my personal experiences,” she said.
Coach Bollinger and Southwestern’s first ever women’s wrestling team will be coming to a mat near you this fall.
Cale Eirich is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at email@example.com.