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Tom Ryan is one of the most accomplished coaches in the sport of wrestling today. As the coach at Ohio State University, he’s created an absolute powerhouse. The things that he’s been able to accomplish are truly astounding.

  • 2015 NCAA team champions
  • Five-time NCAA team runner-ups
  • Seven top-three NCAA team finishes
  • 12 individual NCAA titles
  • 22 Big Ten champions
  • 53 All-Americans
  • Two-time NCAA Head Coach of the Year
  • Three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year
  • Four-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber
  • Three-time NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder

Tom wasn’t always a superstar coach though. At a young age, he decided his passion lay in basketball, but when he was cut from his middle school team, he was devastated. As a small guy, football was out of the question. So he laced up his wrestling shoes and stepped on the mat and instantly fell in love with the sport.

He got a scholarship to wrestle at Syracuse University, but then one day he decided to risk everything to reach the next level. So he packed up his car up and headed for the University of Iowa. He walked onto the Iowa wrestling team under legendary coach Dan Gable. “I got beaten on mercilessly,” he explains how he didn’t even score any points on the guys in the room at first.

In this episode, Tom talks about the immense impact that Gable had on his life and wrestling career. And the faith that he put in Gable’s teachings that allowed Tom to go from walk-on to NCAA runner-up.

I asked Tom about the difficulties of shifting from wrestler to coach when he first started. “I was a trainwreck,” he says. But he learned many lessons in his early days and eventually became the elite coach he is today.

The toughest test of his life came when he lost his son Teague at age five. An experience that brought him to his knees. He talks about how his life was changed by such a traumatic event.

Tom Ryan’s new book Chosen Suffering is available and tells his story through his wrestling career to coping with the loss of his son. Tom has had a life full of experiences and has come out with a wonderful perspective on life. I really enjoyed speaking with him!

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