Building A Program Is Hard Work
WHEELING – Sean Doyle is a busy guy.
Not surprising, considering he is building a brand new wrestling program at Wheeling Jesuit from the bottom up, but it’s the things he doesn’t have written down in his already overstuffed agenda book that make the first-year head coach run up and down the stairs of the McDonough Center a dozen times a day.
”(Thursday) I came in, and for three hours, I was doing things I wasn’t expecting to do because of things that are coming up,” Doyle said.
One of those upcoming events is the Cardinals’ first home wrestling match in school history Nov. 8.
While he’s not preparing for the inaugural meet, he’s checking in with the team’s professors to see how midterms went or he’s talking with advisors to make sure schedules are set up right, or he’s showing recruits around the new facilities, one thing that was actually on his agenda for Thursday.
”It’s a lot,” he said. ”But if you understand that this is a process and we’re going to have to work through this, you can eliminate the frustration and view it as working toward an end.”
That end, Doyle hopes, is nine months of hard work coming together to make the first season of wrestling at Wheeling Jesuit a successful one.
”Everything’s a go. We’re not waiting on anything,” he said. ”Our equipment is in, same with our warm ups and our competition mat. A lot of things have come together and we’re ready to start a season.”
That includes the team, which is made up of 23 freshmen and four transfers.
”They’re extremely excited,” Doyle said. ”We have kids from seven different states that made a commitment to come here and build this program and help it grow.
”We’re more than excited would be a good way to phrase it.”
Doyle hopes the community is, too.
The former Wheeling Central and Wheeling Park coach is trying to make the match much more than just a regular duel meet. Doyle wants it to be an event.
One way he’s doing that is by having a high school wrestling showcase right after the meet at the McDonough Center.
”The showcase was intended to help people come onto our campus, see the facilities and watch us wrestle our first match and really build awareness in the area,” Doyle said. ”Recruiting is about awareness. We want the valley kids to know we have a program at a great institution where they have the resources to become a successful adult.”
Among the Cardinals’ schedule is the Midwest Classic in Indianapolis, Ind., which Doyle says will be the team’s first real test, as well as dueling with West Liberty before the OVAC semifinals on Jan. 18 at WesBanco Arena.
”Obviously a local rivalry will be established there, which will be nice,” Doyle said.
”We just have a lot of good competition. We’ll have five home dual meets. We’ll make it well known when we do have home meets because we do want to really focus on building community support for the program.”
A program that Doyle has come to cherish since the day he took the job last December.
”Being in the wrestling room is the favorite part of my day,” he said. ”On any given day we’ll have 22-23 guys in there, depending on injuries, who just love wrestling. To be in a room with a lot of guys who want to be great, you definitely feel the impact of what you can teach them and help them with.”
The Cardinals will begin the season in Berea, Ohio, at the Baldwin Wallace Open on Nov. 2.