Q&A with Bill Grant, The Founder of the Monterey Clinic of Champions

Bill Grant – Clinics founder

This year marks the 40th Annual Monterey Clinic of Champions being held this weekend at the Embassy Suites in Pacific Grove, California. The pioneer behind this long-established clinic is California and National Hall-of-Fame recipient Bill Grant of Monterey. Within the national wrestling circles, he is considered by many to be among the top promoters of wrestling in the Golden State and abroad. To my knowledge, I am not aware of any other wrestling clinic in the country that has been in existence as long as the Monterey Clinic of Champions. It’s not difficult to surmise that it’s among the top two or three in the country, if not number one. Personally, I have had the opportunity to attend this clinic for the past twenty plus years, both as a coach and assistant to his staff running the event. I attended my first Monterey Clinic back in 1994 while coaching at Livermore High School. I’ve been hooked ever since.

The list is very long, but since the first clinic in 1977, Bill has been instrumental in inviting the top clinicians from around the country and world, the “who’s who” in wrestling. These clinicians include the world’s elite such as Dan Gable, the Beloglazov brothers, Sergei and Anatoly, Cael Sanderson, Rulon Gardner, Jordan Burroughs, and John Smith to name a few. Below is a list of the clinicians throughout the forty-year history.

OLYMPIC & WORLD TEAM MEMBERS

John Smith – 2X Olympic Champion & 6x World Champion

Jordan Burroughs – 2012 Olympic Champion & 3x World Champion

Rulon Gardner – 2000 Olympic Champion, 2x Olympic medalist

Steve Fraser – 1984 Olympic Greco-Roman Champion

Dan Gable – 1972 Olympic & World Champion & Legendary Coach, University of Iowa

Bruce Baumgartner – 5x Olympic & World Champion, 13 World medals

Mark Schultz – Olympic & World Champion, 3x NCAA Champion *OW

Cael Sanderson – Olympic Champion, 4x Undefeated NCAA Champion

Kevin Jackson – 1992 Olympic Champion, 2x World Champion

Kendall Cross – 1996 Olympic Champion, NCAA Champion, Oklahoma State

Tom Brands – 1996 Olympic Champion, World Champion

Kenny Monday – 1988 Olympic Champion & World Champion ‘89

Brandon Slay – 2000 Olympic Champion

Henry Cejudo – 2008 Olympic Champion

Terry Brands – 2x World Champion & 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist

Zeke Jones – World Champion & Olympic Coach & Arizona State Head Coach

Kurt Angle – World & Olympic Champion, NCAA Champion, Clarion University

Jeff Blatnick – 1984 Olympic Champion

Randy Lewis – 1984 Olympic Champion

J’den Cox – Olympic & World Bronze Medalist, 3x NCAA Champion, Univ. of Missouri

Gene Mills – 1980 Olympian, 2x NCAA Champion *OW

Eric Guerrero – 2004 Olympian & 3X NCAA Champion

John Azevedo – 1980 Olympian/NCAA Champion

Dremiel Byers – 2002 Greco-Roman World Champion, 3x World Medalist

Jim Scherr – Olympian, 2x World Medalist, NCAA Champion, Univ. of Nebraska

Cary Kolat – World Silver Medalist

Sammie Henson – 1998 World Freestyle Champion, Olympic Silver ‘00

Robby Smith –  National Greco-Roman Champion & 2016 Olympian

Matt Ghaffari – 1996 Olympic Greco-Roman Silver Medalist, 3x World Medalist

Kerry McCoy – 2003 World Silver Medalist & 2X NCAA Champion

Jake Herbert – 2009 World Silver Medalist & 2X NCAA Champ

Bobby Douglas – 2x World Medalist and ASU & ISU & Olympic Coach

Randy Couture – Greco-Roman World Team/NCAA All-American, Oklahoma St.

J Robinson – 1972 Olympian & University of Minnesota Head Coach

Bill Grant (far right) with Sergie Belaglosov – 8x World & Olympic Champion (Soviet Union) and attending coaches.

NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS & ALL-AMERICANS

Pat Smith – 4X NCAA Champion, Oklahoma State

Ricky Bonomo – 3X NCAA Champion, Bloomburg University

Marty Kistler – 2X NCAA Champion *OW, University of Iowa

Pat Milkovich – 2X NCAA Champ & 4X NCAA Finalist

Rocky Bonomo – 2X NCAA All-American, Bloomburg University

Wade Schalles – 2X NCAA Champion *OW, Clarion University

Troy Steiner – NCAA Champion & Fresno State Head Coach

Adam Tirapelle – NCAA Champion, University of Illinois & Clovis HS Coach

Les Gutches – 2X NCAA Champion, Oregon State

Dan Chaid – NCAA Champion, University of Oklahoma

Rob Koll – NCAA Champion & Cornell University Coach

Greg Strobel – NCAA Champion *OW & Lehigh University Coach

Gus DeAugustino – NCAA Champion & N. Allegheny HS, PA

Ray Brinzer – 2X All-American, University of Iowa

Kevin Dresser – NCAA Champion, VA Tech & Iowa State Coach

Pat O’Donnell – NCAA All-American, Cal Poly, SLO

Cory Baze – NCAA All-American, Oklahoma St, Pan-Am Champion, 2x Jr. World Silver medalist

Donald Brown – NCAA All-American, University of Oregon

Dave Nelson – NCAA All-American, San Francisco St., GR World Cup medalist

Jeff Blatnick – 1984 Greco-Roman Olympic Gold Medalist

INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC AND WORLD MEDALISTS

Anatoly Beloglazov – Olympic Champion & 3x World Champion (Soviet Union)

Sergei Beloglazov – 2x Olympic Champion & 6x World Champion (Soviet Union)

Momir Petkovic – Olympic GR Champion, 4x World medalist (Yugoslavia) & USA Olympic Coach

Ivan Ivanov – World Greco-Roman Silver Medalist (Bulgaria)

Yojiro Uetake – 2x Olympic Champion (Japan) & 3X NCAA Champion, Oklahoma St.

Sorin Balaianu – Romanian National Champion

OLYMPIC & WORLD COACHES

Bruce Burnett – USA Olympic Coach

Pavel Katsen – USA Olympic Coach

Joe Seay – Olympic Coach & Cal-State Bakersfield Head Coach

Fresno State Head Coach Troy Steiner demonstrates technique

COLLEGIATE COACHES

Brian Smith – University of Missouri Head Coach

Lennie Zalesky –  NCAA All-American, Univ. of Iowa, Cal Baptist Univ. Head Coach

Allen Abraham – San Francisco State University Coach

Vaughan Hitchcock – Cal Poly, SLO Head Coach

Jim Miller – Wartburg College, Iowa

CLUB COACHES

Sean Bormet – Overtime Wrestling Club

Mike Krause – Shamrock Club-Detroit Catholic Central HS

Mike Krause – Shamrock Club

Gene Mills – NCAA Champion/Olympian

NATIONAL LEVEL HIGH SCHOOL COACHES

Jeff Buxton – Blair Academy HS, New Jersey

Troy Tirapelle – Buchanan HS Coach, California

Dale Bonsall – Renegade WC, Pennsylvania

Wayne Branstetter – Poway HS, California

Brad Hildebrant – Skutt HS, Nebraska

Mike Hagerty – Blue Springs HS, Missouri

Dicky Howell – Ceasar Rodney HS, Delaware

Mitch Hancock – Detroit Catholic Central, HS

John Heffernan – St. Edward HS, Ohio

Russ Cozart – Brandon HS, Florida

Louie Benitz – Wisconsin Rapids HS

Dave Crowell – Nazareth HS, Pennsylvania

Rick Caldwell – Waverly Shell Rock HS, Iowa

Scot Davis – Owattona HS, Minnesota

Ken Gabriel – Century HS, North Dakota

Darold Henry – Pleasant Grove HS, Utah

Roy Hall – Davison HS, Michigan

Steve Dunlap – Broken Arrow HS, Oklahoma

Scott Goodale – Jackson memorial HS, New Jersey

Jim Jackson – Apple Valley HS, Minnesota

Keith Lawrence – Granby HS, Virginia

Billy Martin – Granby HS, Virginia

Eric Mausser – Franklin Regional HS, Pennsylvania

Kenny Nelson – Midwest HS, Oklahoma

Mike Polz – Sandburg HS, Illinois

Steve Powell – Easton HS, Pennsylvania

Tony Russo – Newberg HS, Oregon

Dave Riggs – Massillon Perry HS, Ohio

Dick Rhodes – Bald Eagle Area HS, Pennsylvania

Eric Siebert – Sandburg HS, Illinois

Jim Street – Butte HS, Montana

Brad Smith – Iowa City HS

Steve Sanderson – Wasatch HS, Utah

Brad Schaeffeer – Apple Valley HS, Minnesota

Bill Wick – Mt. Carmel HS, Illinois

Kim Tirapelle – Dietician at Fresno State University

Bill Grant is an accomplished coach and mentor, coaching state level wrestlers from the Oakland City and Central Coast Sections. In addition, he is the founder of The Northern California Wrestler. The Northern California Wrestler was first distributed to coaches and fans via regular mail during the fall of 1975 and expanded to cover the entire state a few years later, thus becoming the California Wrestler (aka, TCW). During the early part of the new millennium, the TCW entered the World Wide Web and today has become one of the most visited wrestling state websites in the country. In the midst of the busy preparation of this year’s clinic, I had the opportunity to ask Bill a few questions about the clinic’s history and goals for the future.

Q&A with Bill Grant

TCW: This year marks the 40th Annual Monterey Clinic of Champions. Can you explain what the main driver was behind your decision to run a wrestling clinic starting in 1977?

BILL GRANT: My first year coaching at Monterey High and we needed a big fundraiser and to expose our kids to high powered wrestlers, and top high school & college coaches. 

TCW: Please explain how your clinic transformed from a small local wrestling clinic for high school wrestlers to one of the most prominent clinics in the country featuring many of today’s national and world level wrestlers?

BILL GRANT: We wanted to have a clinic that coaches could meet each other from various parts of the state, change wrestling stories and could bring their coaching staff together to start the season. One of our assistant coaches had  a wife that worked for the Pebble Beach golf administration. You’d be surprised how many clinicians perked their ears up when we said they could play Pebble Beach…and join us for our clinic!

TCW: What are some of your greatest memories of past clinics?

BILL GRANT: Cael Sanderson had won his 4th NCAA Championship and he brought and autographed hundreds of Wheaties boxes for all the coaches…We didn’t tell anyone that Roulon Gardner would be joining us (a couple of months after he won his gold medal), so when all the coaches were sitting down for lunch, Roulon walked in and the place went crazy with a standing ovation for about five minutes!

TCW: What has been among your greatest challenge(s) running a clinic of this caliber? 

BILL GRANT: Keeping my fingers crossed until their airplane touches down on the tarmac!

TCW: Over the years, you have had many famous clinicians, who stands out in your mind the most inspiring? Feel free to name more than one.

BILL GRANT: Their mystique and incredible technique = Anatoly and Sergei Beloglazov.

TCW: Who else has been an integral part to the success of the running of this top-level clinic?

BILL GRANT: The brains of the outfit definitely has to be my wife Vickie, who is incredibly organized and just a great human being, and one of my best friends and former coach at San Francisco State – Allen Abraham who I always wanted to emulate as a coach.

TCW: Now that you have reached your 40th Anniversary, what are your future goals for the clinic?

BILL GRANT: Would like to make it to the 50th and then think about it…