There are, says Springfield College wrestling coach Jason Holder, definite differences between heading up a program in college and high school.
The nuts and bolts of teaching technique at the college level, for example, is a bit more advanced, and more time must be devoted to monitoring athletes off the mat.
“Parents can be a burden in high school, but they also can help with things like diet and time management,” said the 34-year-old Holder, the former Timberlane standout from Danville. “In college, the head coach has to keep an eye on things like that.”
Despite the differences, and great experiences from wrestling for Carl Adams at Boston University and as an assistant with 21-year Springfield coach Daryl Arroyo, Holder retains a basic philosophy from his days with the Owls.
“I take an incredible amount from Timberlane,” said Holder, a two-time New England champion for the Owls. “What they do is incredible.
“The main thing is the overall system and how everyone expects to win, and they do everything to make it happen. That’s something we’re working for here.
“The other thing is that (head coach) Barry (Chooljian) and (assistant) Dan Donovan understand that you have to change with the times. They’re always looking into new programs, finding new ways of doing things. They have an open mind and are open to suggestions. Despite their success, they’re always evolving. That’s something I want to take away from them.”
Holder seems to be well on his way to following the model in his second year as head man at Springfield, a school with a great wrestling tradition. In his first year, the Pride had a 14-3 record and captured the New England Wrestling Association Duals and were ranked 21st nationally. Two of his wrestlers were All-Americans and Springfield came within a point of winning the NEWA title.