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
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
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
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
Sean Bormet – Overtime Wrestling Club
Mike Krause – Shamrock Club-Detroit Catholic Central HS
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
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.
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…