Coach’s Corner: Wrestling Coach Derek Sweet

Khadija Ahmed, Staff Writer

His athletes think very highly of him. He has a great impact on them and inspires them to love the sport. “I think he is a great coach and even better person who wants the best for everyone on the team whether it’s on or off the mat.

How did you discover your interest in wrestling?
My father was the head coach for my alma mater, so I started wrestling at four years old; I began managing the Varsity team after that and never looked back.

What are your personal achievements in wrestling?
I had a five-year Varsity Wrestling career and was able to re-write the record books for most wrestling statistics at my high school. I was also the very first person to qualify for the state wrestling tournament in the history of my high school, and was then recruited to wrestle at Ithaca College.

How long have you been coaching wrestling at this school?
I have been coaching wrestling for Three years.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a farm-town in upstate New York where there are currently more cows than people!

What other schools have you previously coached at?
Washington-Lee High School in Arlington.

What are your strengths as a coach?
I feel I have the ability to adapt the year’s overall plan and goal to the strengths and weaknesses of that year’s current wrestlers – no two seasons are exactly alike. I also value my assistant coaches and their opinions on how to approach certain situations – you can only be as good as your weakest link, so we value all opinions.

What are your best and worst memories in coaching?
My best memories always deal with taking kids from knowing very little about the sport to watching them grow into the program and eventually having tremendous successes later on in their career – it makes it all worth it. My worst memories always come at the end of the season – you always wish you could have done more to help the success of that individual or team.

How do you handle the discipline of players?
We clearly outline our expectations at the beginning of the year, so if our wrestlers aren’t abiding by those team-made rules, we then take action.

What advice do you have for your players regarding the balance of athletics and academics?
We readily encourage our kids to stay after with teachers, especially if they are struggling in a particular subject, and to bring us a pass once they return to practice. We also offer in-house tutoring from individual to individual – there’s always someone who knows a lot about something, you’d be surprised.

What other sports are you interested in?
Volleyball, baseball, hockey, cycling and bowling.

Tell me about yourself! Do you have a spouse, any children or pets?
Personally, I am currently working towards a Sports Administration role, and am an avid Buffalo sports fan – GO BILLS!