Competing on the world stage is nothing new to Cary Kolat and Coleman Scott.
They are wrestling icons, U.S. Olympians, former NCAA champions and NCAA Division I head coaches.
Now, they are coaches for the United States Women’s World Team and the U.S. Men’s World Team, respectively.
The native Greene Countians are enjoying the build up to the world championships in Paris Aug. 21-26.
Kolat, a four-time undefeated PIAA champion at Jefferson-Morgan High School and a two-time NCAA champion for Lock Haven University, is co-coach of the emerging women’s team with fellow legend, John Smith, who is head coach at Oklahoma State and a four-time NCAA champion.
Terry Steiner, a Hall of Fame wrestler from Iowa, is the National Women’s Wrestling Coach.
“The training is the same for the most part,” Kolat said. “There are some differences. The females hang on each word. The ‘why’ is more important to them. These females are outstanding.
“Female wrestling is flourishing and growing. The NCAA is looking at women’s wrestling as an emerging sport. They are exciting. They are ready to go, excited to go to France and compete in the world championships. John Smith is coaching; enough said right there. I’m just excited to be plugged in and help.”
Kolat is entering his fourth season as head coach at Campbell University, guiding the Camels to the 2017 Southern Conference Championship. Campbell sent a school-record five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis last season and Nathan Kraisser became the first All-American in program history.
Scott, now the head coach at North Carolina, is a three-time PIAA champion from Waynesburg High School, an NCAA champion while at Oklahoma State University and Olympic bronze medalist. He is coaching with Sammy Henson, West Virginia University head coach and another legendary wrestling figure. Bill Zadick is the head coach.
They are handling the men’s team for the United States, which will compete in Paris Aug. 25-26 in AccorHotels Arena.
“It’s great for me personally,” Scott said. “It’s a great opportunity to expand my mind. It gives me the chance to be around the best wrestlers in the world and the best coaches in the world.
“It’s kind of crazy that Cary and I are doing this. We have a rich tradition and history in our area and state. This gives us a chance to be the best we can be. I expect to learn and do my best, maximum effort.”
Kolat was brought into the fold of the United States’ women’s team by Steiner.
Kolat, who finished in 9th place in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia, after a controversial early-round defeat, coached in the Pan-American games a few years ago and when the women’s team was a bit short-staffed on coaches, he stepped up and helped.
“Terry knew about that, and found out that I had a good rapport with the women and asked me to coach this team with John,” Kolat said. “The females do not get the amount or same coaching as the guys because it’s just an emerging sport. They haven’t been as exposed to things. But they are very talented, willing to work and learn. This is all new to them and they deserve senior level experience coaching.
“I think women’s wrestling has a very bright future.”
Kolat said that he and Scott coaching the national teams is “unique” and “different.”
“We’re from the same patch,” he added. “That is something that may have never happened before.”
Kolat and Scott have been helping at the team’s Colorado Springs facilities. Both will be traveling to Paris in the next couple weeks. The U.S. men’s team will travel to Germany prior to the World Championships.
“As a competitor, you really look forward to this,” Scott said. Some things take time and a lot of work. Right now, it’s all good.”
The last time, the U.S. men’s freestyle team won a championship was 1995 and the only time the women’s freestyle team won the crown was 1999 in Boden, Sweden. Russia has dominated the men’s freestyle championships while Japan has ruled in the women’s freestyle.
It’s been a great year for Kolat.
In June he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. That came on the heels of a breakthrough season for his Camels’ wrestling program, which won the Southern Conference championship and crowned its first NCAA All-American.
In three seasons at Campbell, Kolat has grown the roster from 14 wrestlers to 60.
“It wasn’t too hard getting to move the program upward bound,” Kolat said. “The real challenge is to get to the highest level and stay there. We are chasing the Power 5 conferences in recruiting. We can win at Campbell and we are battling. We have administrative support and I got lucky with the staff. We did some things quicker than I thought.”
Scott is entering his third season at North Carolina and had his first All-American in 2015. The world team roster includes Thomas Gilman, Logan Stieber, J’den Cox, Nick Gwiazdowski, Zain Retherford, James Green, Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder.