Jody Strittmatter has to walk a fine line in his profession.
The former Iowa wrestler still loves the Hawkeyes, but as the director of a highly regarded club program in Pennsylvania, Strittmatter has to think about each potential recruit.
“I want what’s best for the kid,” said Strittmatter, 34, a two-time all-American and two-time Big Ten champion at Iowa. “I’m not saying we will or won’t have a kid go to Iowa. … I stay out of the recruiting process. Our job is to get the kids better in the room.”
Strittmatter’s Young Guns Pennsylvania branch was recently named the No.<TH>1 club program in the nation by the flowrestling website.
“It was very surprising,” Strittmatter said of the honor. “But it was nice for our kids to get recognized.”
Strittmatter, a former pre-med student, took his studies seriously, and he tries to instill that quality in his wrestlers. He has students from age<TH>5 on up to high school, with four locations in the Keystone State.
“We’re not trying to develop wrestling only,” he said. “It’s the total package — good grades, having a lifestyle of doing things the right way all the time. That’s why we have so many kids in college right now and they’re having a lot of success.”
Strittmatter and former Hawkeye teammate Eric Juergens started the club in Michigan after college. A year later, Maquoketa native Juergens moved back to Iowa to set up a Young Guns branch, while Strittmatter headed for his home state.
Nico Megaludis (Penn State), A.J. Schopp (Edinboro) and Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State) are just three examples of former Young Guns currently making noise on the national scene. Cam Simaz, an NCAA champion last season for Cornell, was one of the first wrestlers Strittmatter worked with in Michigan