WINCHESTER -- Men’s wrestling, the newest addition to Shenandoah University’s athletic offerings, now has a head coach.
Tim McGuire, who spent the past six seasons as the head assistant coach at the University of Chicago, was officially announced as Shenandoah’s first-ever wrestling coach on Tuesday afternoon.
The hiring comes three weeks after the school officially announced that it would add wrestling as the 22nd intercollegiate sport starting in 2020-21.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” McGuire said on SU’s campus on Wednesday. “My initial draw was the potential and the chance to start my own program here, something I always wanted to do. And as just this kind of the culmination of different things that I’ve done to (build) my wrestling resume, I became real confident this is what I wanted to do and where I’d have success.”
Shenandoah University officials were no doubt looking for a certain something in their future wrestling coach, whom Athletic Director Bridget Lyons said last month would play an integral part in building the program from the ground up.
In a news release, Lyons said Shenandoah needed to make sure that its first head coach was “equipped” to handle that task.
“Tim is more than prepared to build our program,” Lyons said in the release. “He was a successful collegiate wrestler and has been a DIII assistant for one of the top programs in the nation.
“We were so impressed with his vision when we first met with him and knew that he was the perfect person to get us started.”
McGuire said on Wednesday that he didn’t sell many particulars about himself during the interview process, only his vision for what he hopes is a program built on integrity and a winning culture powered by student-athletes fully invested in improving every day on and off the wrestling mat.
McGuire noted that when he thought about how he’d want to start a program, he considered things like what type of program he’d want to build, where he’d want that program to be located in order to attract student-athletes, what type of support he would want to garner and what type of facilities would be available.
“As I’m painting out what I really wanted to develop, short term and long term, with the program, I just think it coincided with what they were looking for,” McGuire said.
“The vision is bringing in a full-level commitment. People have different levels of what they consider hard work and different levels of commitment, and I would say mine are gonna be extremely high. And so with that, bringing in kids that are striving to be elite in all aspects of their life. I think if you’re striving to be elite, to be the best wrestler that you can, and then all the sudden you’re slacking off in school (and) at some point all the sudden that schoolwork starts to interfere with (things) on the mat. Same thing in personal life. So striving to be elite so that when guys graduate they’re the best employees they can be along with being the best fathers they can be, and husband and friend and community (member). It’s kind of a whole package. I just think that’s really what champions are.”
McGuire, a 39-year-old from the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, comes from a successful NCAA Division III program at the University of Chicago that has been coached for the past 40 years by Loe Kocher, who was elected to the National Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in July.
During McGuire’s six years on the coaching staff, the Maroons had four DIII All-Americans, five national tournament qualifiers and five academic All-Americans. Chicago won University Athletic Association (UAA) tournaments in 2018 and 2019, and the Maroons’ coaching staff won UAA Coaching Staff of the Year awards in both seasons, according to the news release.
McGuire, who wrestled for three seasons at Marquette University before the school dropped the sport after his junior season in 2001, said he’s competed and coached under Hall of Fame coaches at every level.
“I probably have almost like a little old-school vibe to me and that’s coming from having older coaches when I was growing up,” McGuire said. “My thing with hard work and preparation that we talk about all the time, both of those I believe include a lot of thoughtfulness in order to be effective and efficient in the manner of which you’re doing that. And where you start to see qualities like integrity and transparency, that can be used to describe me as a coach a lot, those are things that should come from confidence. If I’m nervous about something, if I’m well prepared or I know that I’ve outworked the other person, that’s when I’m gonna gain that confidence. And if you’re confident in what you’re doing then you really don’t have any trouble being transparent to what you’re doing. If you need to hide it, then you have to second-guess what you’re doing.
“I’m probably really straightforward. I demand a lot as far as hard work and I demand a lot when it comes to commitment, what level that you’re committed with the team.”
McGuire, who started youth wrestling programs in Chicago and Milwaukee and also lends his coaching services to the Barbados national team, according to the news release, said he plans to be heavily involved in the local wrestling community.
“That’s really how I am as a coach, I like working at all levels with wrestling and enjoy the wrestling community as a whole,” he said. “Even now coaching here, I’ll still be out here coaching with some of the youth clubs, going to those tournaments and then definitely get involved at the high school level and college. I think that combination of one community going through with their wrestling is important here.”
McGuire added that the local area’s strong wrestling tradition became apparent to him as the hiring process went along.
“That got me more excited,” he said. “Even my family members that would follow it, as we found out more about great high school wrestlers that are returning now for their junior or senior years, some very strong high schools around here, the level of commitment and excitement that are coming around not just the coaches but the wrestling community here in Northern Virginia and specifically in the Winchester area, that’s got me really pumped up. That was a bigger surprise than I even knew. I knew wrestling was growing and being strong here, but this is a great community to where adding in this college wrestling, I think we can really make this a hotbed and kind of a wrestling hub.”
While establishing a foothold in the local youth and high school scenes could certainly help in regard to recruiting, McGuire said his top goal is to get young wrestlers to reach their potential no matter where they end up after high school.
“I want everyone to become the best wrestler that they can,” he said. “My job then is to build an enticing program that’s a winning program so that kids do want to come and stay here.”
Last month, Lyons said Shenandoah’s head coach would help shape the wrestling program’s path as far as conference affiliation (the Old Dominion Athletic Conference does not currently sponsor a wrestling championship) and other important steps to ready the program for competition in 2020.
McGuire said some of those initial steps include readying facilities that will house the wrestling team, including Shingleton Gymnasium, where the Hornets will practice.