From the land of lobsters, Shark and Tuna Tournaments and state wide road trips on a half tank of gas comes wit, wisdom and common sense from the big Bear in Providence, Rhode Island.
What makes you smile the most about Brown University, and why?
“We have a tradition at Brown University that first year students walk through the Van Sickles Gates in the Fall to start their college journey and walk out the Van Sickles Gates when they graduate. They say it is bad luck if you don’t walk through the gates a second time. It always brings a smile to my face when they graduate.”
You’ve had teams in the past with outstanding individual talent [Jonathan Viruet, Ian Butterbrodt, AA Ophir Bernstein, Justin Staudemeyer]. Who has stood out for the Bears this year?
“We have a really young team this season that has seen a season of growth and development throughout the year. They are excited and ready to compete this weekend at the 118th E.I.W.A. Championships.” [pre-tournament co-favorite Cornell will host]. As to the Bears, look for Brown 141lb Timothy Levine, 17-12 with 3 straight w’s coming in, to make some noise. Also, don’t count out stellar efforts from fellow Bear middleweights 149lb Ricky Cabanillas and 157lb Jack Bokina.
How do you and your staff identify and bring in the rare type of student athlete it takes to succeed in the Ivy League?
“We do a lot of homework on the front end to learn about their academics, attending competitions throughout the country to evaluate their wrestling ability and building strong relationships. Throughout this process we learn more about them and who they are as a person. We are seeing a lot of student-athletes that are really valuing their academics and keeping their grades up so they have an opportunity to pursue an Ivy League degree. This is making our job a little easier these days. We have a well-rounded coaching staff that can meet the needs of every student-athlete we recruit.”
Your staff has a combined nine AA awards from three different schools on their resumes. Does this suprise potential recruits and impress potential donors?
“[We] added Jesse Delgado, (2X National Champion, 3X AA for Illinois) and T.J. Dudley, (National Finalist and 3X AA for Nebraska) to our coaching staff this past Fall. Combined with Coach Darius Little (AA, NC State) now in his 4th year on staff, [those hires] have really opened up many doors for recruiting the top talent to Brown University and igniting our alumni base. It has also brought another dimension to our wrestling room with training and improvement.”
You coach at one of the few schools where there is an endowed position for the Head Coach. What extra pressure does that bring?
“We have a strong alumni base that is very supportive of Brown wrestling. Our goal is to fully endow the program and we are really close. We received another big gift this year that we plan to announce this Spring. The gift will endow another position and put us one step closer to fully endowing the program.”
Besides more wins, tournament placings and NCAA qualifiers, what metrics are you using to measure success for the Bears this season?
“We are constantly measuring success for our team on the mat, in the weight room and in the classroom. Always pushing to make them better in every area of their lives.”
Can you give us a clear analysis of the turmoil within the Ivy League these past two years and how Brown successfully navigated it?
“Last year was challenging but [even without competition] we grew as a team. This year we are very grateful for every opportunity we have to put on the Brown wrestling singlet and step on the mat to compete.”
When people think of Rhode Island they think of seafood and hearty New England cuisine. Where do you send your visitors for good food?
“If you’re looking for seafood we suggest Hemenways right near campus. We also suggest Federal Hill which is referred to as “Little Italy” with some amazing Italian food. It also doesn’t hurt that Johnson and Wales University (with a Division III wrestling program) in downtown Providence is one of the top culinary colleges in the world. New restaurants are opening up every year.
Last words, your words…why come to Brown University?
“Come to Brown for the opportunity to win a National title, become an NCAA AA, and graduate with a degree that will set you up for the rest of your life. This isn’t a four year college decision but a decision that will open up doors and opportunities for the next 50 years! Make your mark and leave your legacy at Brown wrestling.”
Thank you, Coach Beckerman. Hope to see you in Point Judith or Narragansett some fine summer.
See you sometime soon!