Penn State Wrestling

Is Penn State wrestling legend Kerry McCoy finished with coaching? McCoy talks future plans

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A look at the dominance of Penn State wrestling over the years.
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A look at the dominance of Penn State wrestling over the years.

Kerry McCoy stepped down as Maryland’s head wrestling coach in March — and, if the three-time Penn State All-American never coaches again, he’s OK with that.

In fact, especially for his next gig, a non-coaching role is preferred.

“Right now, I think coaching is more on the backburner,” McCoy recently told the CDT, while in town for the Emily Whitehead Foundation’s fifth annual “Tee Off for T-Cells” charity golf tournament.

“Helping out by running camps and clinics and things like that are things I will definitely keep in mind. But, right now, I’m looking for the next step and being in a more administrative role or doing something where I can reach a little broader audience than just the 30-40 guys per year. That has such a huge impact, but I want to make sure I can help on as big a scale as possible.”

McCoy resigned as the Terrapins’ wrestling coach after spending 11 years with the program but struggling to meet expectations after the transition to the Big Ten. The three-time ACC Coach of the Year, who guided the historically mediocre Terps to four national top-20 finishes, recorded a dead-last finish in the Big Ten in three of the last five years.

For now, the 1997 Penn State grad is simply enjoying family time. He always made it a point to vacation with his family — a wife and two children, an 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter — at Disney World but, this year, he was able to be “present” the whole time. In the past, he said, he’d usually have to spend early mornings or late nights making calls, sending emails, writing letters and recruiting.

This offseason? Family time has become a lot more prevalent. Whether it’s Friday Movie Night, or bike rides with his son, he’s enjoyed that quality time. And that’s a big reason why he’d prefer to move on from the coaching ranks.

“It’s not like I’m just going to walk away from the sport of wrestling,” McCoy added. “Being involved in an administrative role as a career — looking at stuff for the USOC, looking at stuff for USA Wrestling; clubs and clinics, stuff like that — there’ll always be some type of connection.

“But it won’t be the day-to-day of going to practice, recruiting, things like that. But it could be an administrative position where you’re overseeing a program, or it’s an administrative position where it’s helping raise money for a program. There’s a lot of things you can do.”

McCoy doesn’t doubt that his future is bright. He’s been in a similar spot before, when he took a step backward before leaping forward. As a college freshman, he lost 17 bouts — culminating in one of the worst losses of his career, when he gave up a 4-0 lead late in the national duals and lost.

Recently, he started transferring his old matches from VHS to digital — about 200 videotapes in all — and he re-watched that match. “My coach came after me and he stopped and grabbed me,” McCoy remembered. “And he said, ‘You’re this close.’ That really captured my experience at Penn State ... and that’s what really stuck with me because I’ve always had people throughout my life who’ve helped build me up. That’s what I want to give back.”

McCoy rebounded from that freshman campaign and went on to win two national championships while earning the 1997 Dan Hodge Trophy. So, while some might doubt McCoy’s ability to move on to bigger and better things right now, the 44-year-old Penn State grad isn’t too concerned.

“I can go and find something just to do something but, my whole life, I’ve always been service-oriented, tying to help, trying to serve, trying to make things better,” he said. “So I can just go out and get a job as a window-washer — I mean, it’s a great opportunity and career — but am I going to have the impact I’m capable of having?

“I’m not going to say that I’ll never ever coach wrestling again. But, right now, the direction is to do something that’s going to give me a little more flexibility, a little more opportunity to spend time with my family — and impact people on a greater scale.”

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