Coach Loukides

Sgt. Raymond Bunker, left, and Jason Loukides, right, speak to 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson during the World Team Trials Challenge tournament that was held in Raleigh, N.C. in May. 

Coach Loukides discusses All-Marine Wrestling Team and training All-Marine wrestlers 

Sport: Wrestling

Team: All-Marine

Quick facts:

• Has been the All-Marine Wrestling Team head coach since 2014

• Served in the Army for seven years

• Wrestled for the All-Army Team

• Had two All-Marine wrestlers compete at this year’s World Wrestling Championships

Q: HOW DID YOU BECOME THE ALL-MARINE WRESTLING TEAM HEAD COACH?

A: I started off as a head coach for a Division I program at UNC Greensboro. They dropped our program. We had a couple guys that stayed and trained in the Olympic styles, and we had some success. Then the job opened up in the Marine Corps. I applied, interviewed and was able to get the job.

Q: WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING TO THE WORLD WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS IN KAZAKHSTAN THIS YEAR?

A: It’s the best in the world. Wrestlers are intense, disciplined, hardworking – kind of like Marines, so when you get them together and everyone is competing for the world title, it’s an impressive sight. It’s something to see.

Q: WHAT DOES THE ALL-MARINE WRESTLING TEAM MEAN TO YOU?

A: For me, these guys deserve everything you can give them, so it’s an opportunity for me to give them everything I have. They deserve a world class experience and to reach their goals.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN AN ALL-MARINE WRESTLER?

A: They come already prepared as far as discipline, so we are looking for a certain athleticism, flexibility and strength. They don’t have to have much of a background in Greco. It’s not a common style. Most people in America wrestle folkstyle, so we are looking for people with athletic talent that we can train in the Olympic styles.

Q: WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT SGT. JOHN STEFANOWICZ AND SGT. RAYMOND BUNKER, THE TWO WORLD TEAM MEMBERS?

A: Those guys are incredibly tough people. Bunker is special because even during those hard times, his belief always transcends that. He thought he was going to be good, and I believed he had the talent, but if I was the only one to believe, it wasn’t happening. (His belief) is a skill that he has.

Stefanowicz is just a hardnosed, tough guy. He’s one of the toughest people that I’ve had the opportunity to be around. He’s a battler. When he gets in his matches, if he is wrestling another skilled person, if it becomes a fight, he always wins that. He is not going to let down the team and his teammates. When it gets hard, he is the person you can count on.

If you’d like to nominate an area coach for a Coach’s Corner Q&A, email cshomaker@camplejeuneglobe.com.