Childs ends storied 35-year career
After an illustrious 35-year hall of fame career, Drexel University's head wrestling coach Jack Childs has decided it is time to hang up his whistle.
Childs will retire at the end of this season, having led his men into battle over 700 times.
He has compiled a record of 421-270-9, which is good for the most active victories in Division I, and in 22 of his 35 seasons on the bench at Drexel, he has posted at least 10 wins. So, this begs the question: why now?
"How many coaches get to go out on their own terms in their own city?" Childs answered.
Childs, a 2006 inductee of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, was named East Coast Wrestling Association Coach of the Year four times.
Childs is also a member of the Northeastern Region Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, the East Stroudsburg Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Athens (Pa.) Area High School Hall of Fame. Although he has enough hardware to fill a trophy store, the accolades are not what the humble coach is most proud of.
"The number of young men that I have been able to coach and educate, not just on the mat, but in life, that have graduated and become successful professional and family men - that is my proudest accomplishment," Childs said.
A graduate and three-sport star of East Stroudsburg University, Childs knows that he could not have accomplished so much without the support of some special people.
"My parents nurtured me, not just in athletics but in life," Childs said. "My college coach, Clyde Whitman, taught me about the sport, how to train and, more importantly, how to work with the individual team concept.
"The most important person in my life is my wife, Anne. She is my confidante, a mother and teacher extraordinaire, and without her, I would not be the man I am today."
The impact these people made on Childs is similar to the impact he has made on the young men he has coached.
"I would hope they see me as fair, competitive, appreciative of what they have given to the sport and, most importantly, see that I have coached not just wrestling, but life," he said.
Childs' career may be extended slightly longer as the Dragons prepare for the CAA tournament.
"The team is preparing with intense, short practices," Childs said. "We hope we can peak for the championships and that this will carry over for those that qualify for the NCAA's in March." When this season officially ends, Childs will have some newfound free time on his hands.
"Anne and I have three grandchildren that, I'm sure, will take up a lot of our time," Childs said on his plans for retirement. "We also love to travel, and now we'll have the time to be able to do that.
"The most difficult part will be the close, everyday association I have with 'my guys' will no longer be there."
He does, however, leave Drexel with his men in mind.
"I want them to have a younger coach to give a new and vibrant look to Drexel wrestling," he said.
In his final goodbyes, the coach has many to thank.
"I would like to thank Drexel, the administration, Dr. [Eric] Zillmer, Nick Gannon, my fellow coaches, my assistants - Eric Ring and Harry Zander - for giving me the opportunity to coach at Drexel for 35 years," Childs said.
Childs will be forever missed, and never replaced at Drexel University. The coach sums up his 35 years at Drexel best in simply saying, "It's been a grand ride."
Story by Joe Ciminera, Staff Writer, TheTriangle.org, the website of the independent student newspaper at Drexel University