WHERE ARE THEY NOW
By Randy Novak
Monday, February 21, 2022
I was able to catch up with Daryl Weber – remember this guy? One heck of a wrestler, one heck of a coach.
Randy: We have your bio but tell me a little about your college days – you were an All American at three different weight classes but tell me how you ended up at 142 pounds – that was a huge weight cut!
Daryl: It was my Sophomore year and I was wrestling 158 for the first half of the year. The team was struggling a bit and after we lost a match on the road to MN the coaches decided to pull Joe WIlliams out of redshirt in an effort to strengthen the lineup. We wrestled off the following week and I came out on the short end of the stick. Lincoln McIlravy was at 150 and was much more proven than I was so a wrestle off at that weight was out of the cards for me. Sitting on the bench wasn’t an option for me so I set my sights on getting down to 142. I mapped out the weight loss strategy with the coaches and stuck to the plan. The rules were different back then and the first time I made 142 was at the Big Ten’s. The second day of the tournament was pretty rough after a 12lb cut after the first day of wrestling and barely making weight at the last call of the night. I ended up taking sixth and qualifying for the nationals. At nationals I drew a pigtail match against the seventh seed. After going to OT I got the pin in that first match. I then went on to finish sixth.
Randy: You won an NCAA title as a senior – and if I remember correctly you beat the defending Champ Marcus Mollica in the semis and then beat March Branch in the finals – who had one a previous NCAA title – what was your mindset going into that tournament – you had lost to Mollica a couple times previous.
Daryl: I felt pretty good about becoming an all-american my sophomore year after losing my spot and getting back in the line up. My junior year I was All-American again but was very disappointed with my performance at nationals. I felt I was as good as anyone in my bracket and the only reason I didn’t win was my confidence and mental strength. I continued to work hard at my skills between my Jr and Sr year but I became obsessed about developing the mental strength and routine to perform at my highest level in competition. Heading into the Big Ten’s I felt I had developed the routine and mental traits that allowed me to represent myself the best I could in each match. So the focus was to use the mental skills I developed to stay relaxed, confident and give my best performance. Like I mentioned, I knew I could win nationals if my mind was right so that’s what I focused on rather than how credentialed my opponents were.
Randy: Is there a loss from high school, college or post collegiate that you think about on occasion?
Daryl: I don’t know if I think about them a whole lot but these are the losses that I feel lead to big strides after them.
- My losses at districts my freshman year. I didn’t make it to the state tournament and it pushed me to train hard the entire off-season with the Wahawk Wrestling Club and lead to a 3rd place finish the next year.
- My last loss at Big Ten’s my freshman year. I made the lineup about halfway through the year and then didn’t make it to NCAA’s. That haunted me all off-season and I believe gave me the determination I needed my Sophomore year to get to 142 after losing my spot.
- All my losses at NCAA’s my Jr. year. Like I mentioned, that put me on an obsessed mission to master my mental routine and learning to consistently get in a space where I could represent myself to my highest level each match. Without developing mentally it would have been hard to move up a weight class with 2-2x NCAA Champs and win.
Randy: You were on some great college teams at Iowa and as you described earlier you cut a LOT of weight to make 142 – who on those teams was bad at cutting weight or always complaining about it – every team has that guy.
Daryl: They say misery loves company and Mike Mena and I were often commiserating the year I went down to 142. Mike Mena was incredible… he would struggle to make weight at times but when he got under the lights he was electrifying.
Randy: Who was the one guy you didn’t look forward to wrestling in practice?
Daryl: In my younger years, it was the Steiner brothers. They would throw the legs in and torture me but they would always stick around after practice to help you and work with me outside practice any time I asked. Lincoln McIlravy could either be the most fun to wrestle or miserable. If you didn’t show up ready, he would make it miserable but he was so offensive, when I was able to scrap with him it was a lot of fun.
Randy: Your little brother Lee had a size advantage on you – How old were you when you said “size matters” and you didn’t wrestle him anymore?
Daryl: Well, I was a little older so I never stopped wrestling him until we both were done wrestling. It was great to be at Iowa the same time as him. I have a lot of great memories from training and being a strength coach with the teams he was on.
Randy: What do you think of collegiate wrestling today? In my mind it looks like freshmen are more ready to compete on a high level today vs 20-30 years ago? Do you agree?
Daryl: I totally agree. There are so many high level coaches running clubs and coaching high school that kids today are much more experienced by the time they get to college than overall when I was in college.
Randy: High School coaching was a big part of your life – tell me about that job, the hours you put in and how rewarding it was. Why did you retire from that?
Daryl: I loved working with young wrestlers and watching them develop physically and mentally. Watching middle school and high school wrestlers develop confidence, dedication and pride that they would carry with them for their lives was extremely rewarding. I had been in the sport of wrestling for a long time and had aspirations outside the sport which led me to step down from coaching.
Randy: What differences do you see in the collegiate clubs now vs when you competed? The HWC right now vs when you were there?
Daryl: I think there’s much more opportunity for post grads to continue with their international wrestling career and support themselves than when I was doing it.
Randy: Can you share some info about your personal life? Where do you live, what do you do?
Daryl: I still live in Christiansburg, VA with my wife, Azi. I work for a fintech company and co-founded a small business with my brother.
Randy: What does Daryl Weber do for fun? What are your hobbies?
Daryl: When I am not working, I like to get out golfing as much as possible. One of the things I look forward to the most is the annual fishing trip to Canada with my brother, Dad, relatives and friends. My wife and I like to travel as well and we try to see family as much as we can.
Randy: Thanks Daryl for taking some time and GO HAWKS!
Daryl Weber’s Stat Sheet
- 2008 Inducted into the Iowa High School Wrestling Hall of Fame
- 1997-2000 Competed Internationally in Freestyle
- Placing in over a dozen International Freestyle Competitions
- 1998 Sunkist Open Champion
- 1998 U.S. Open Runner-up
- 1996 NCAA Champion
- 1996 Big Ten Champion
- 1996, 1995 & 1994 NCAA All-American
- 1991-1996 Wrestled under Dan Gable for University of Iowa
- 1990 & 1991 Iowa H.S. State Champion
- 1989 State Place Winner (3rd)
- 1988-1991 Wrestled for for Don Bosco HS in Gilbertville IA posted a record of 128-19-1
Christiansburg High School Head Coach 2007-2015:
- 9 straight VA AA Team State Championships (14 in a row total)
- 42 State Champions
- Over 90% of Graduates went on to wrestle in college.
- 2007-2015 Head Coach Christiansburg High School
- 8 straight State Championship Teams (07-08-09-10-11-12-13-14-15)
- 42 Individual State Champions
- 33 State Place Winners
- 2014 VA State Wrestling Coach of the Year
- 2013 Dapper Dan Team USA Coach
- District Coach of the Year (07-08-11-13-14-15)
- Region Coach of the Year (07-08-09-10-11-12-15)
- 2010-2011 VA Coach of the Year Western Region
- 2008-2009 Virginia Coach of the Year by NWCA
Other Coaching Experience
- 2000-2006 Assistant Coach Christiansburg HS (CHS was Runner-up one year and State Champs 5 of those years.)
- 2000-Present Head Coach of Hawkeye East / VA Elite Wrestling Club
- 2000-2001 National Assistant H.S. Coach of the Year
1997-2000 Strength and Conditioning Coach University of Iowa