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