PLAINVIEW, TX - Wayland Baptist University has announced the hiring of Johnny Cobb as head coach of its new men's and women's intercollegiate wrestling programs. Cobb, a two-time Texas Coach of the Year while at Amarillo's Tascosa High School, is a member of the Texas Wrestling Ring of Honor and the Texas chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla.
Dr. Greg Feris, Director of Athletics at Wayland, said that there were a variety of applicants for the position, but ultimately it was Cobb's passion and knowledge, plus his long history of success in the state that led to his hiring. "Coach Cobb was a valuable resource in the university's discussions and ultimate decision to begin an intercollegiate wrestling program at Wayland. He has been a pioneer in the sport of wrestling in this part of the state, and it just makes good sense that we bring him on board to continue that pioneering spirit as the first coach of our wrestling teams."
A native of Amarillo, Cobb was a three-time District Champion at Tascosa High School in the mid-60's, losing only one high school match in three years of competition. He went on to wrestle at Oklahoma State University until injuries put a premature end to his collegiate wrestling career.
One of the founding members of the Panhandle Amateur Wrestling Association, he also founded the first kid's wrestling program in the Panhandle of Texas at the Maverick Boys Club in 1971. His teams won both elementary and junior high team state championships titles and over 50 elementary and junior high individual state titles.
Cobb took over as wrestling coach for both the boy's and girl's programs at his alma mater in 1988. Between 1990 and his retirement in 2008, Cobb's teams won three state championships and finished in the top ten 15 times. Twenty-one Tascosa High wrestlers earned individual state titles under Cobb's tutelage, 28 were national qualifiers, and one, Brandon Slay, won the 2000 Olympic Gold Medal.
"We are extremely excited about what Coach Cobb brings to the position and to the university," added Feris. "His first hand knowledge of high school wrestlers and their coaches will be a big plus as we begin the recruiting process. I have no doubt that the Wayland teams Coach Cobb places on the mat will not only be a positive representation of the university but will also be a competitive force to be reckoned with from day one."
Feris said that although Cobb won't officially be under contract with the university until March 1, he will begin recruiting immediately.
"My job starts today," said Cobb at a press conference announcing his hiring. "I am going to have some help, some excellent help, not only in an assistant coach, but I am going to draw on the expertise of the quality, quality coaches in this area to help make this program our program – the community's program.
"Now, I'm an old rascal, but there is still some fire in the furnace and when we jump into this program, it's not going to be just mediocre. We're going to build some character in the kids we have and we are going to be competitive, and I'm going to predict right now that we're going to be competitive in our first year.
"Believe me, I know the difficulties involved in starting up a first-year program, but I'm going to ask the kids to set the goals right when they come in, and that bar needs to be high. If they don't make some of those goals it's going to be with an effort that they can live with the rest of their lives. Simply put, my philosophy is that we are going to strive for excellence here and we are going to do it with integrity."