Wrestling coach takes position at Boise State

Julie Mana-ay

Multimedia Editor


Photo by gorunners.com
Photo by gorunners.com

CSU Bakersfield wrestling coach Mike Mendoza resigned from his position on Friday and has agreed to take the head coach job at Boise State University.

After working at CSUB for over 14 years, Mendoza decided to depart from his alma mater and join the Broncos as head coach for their wrestling team.

He met with Boise State on May 16 for the position.

Mendoza has served as CSUB head coach for six years, after previously acting as assistant coach for eight years and wrestling as a CSUB student for five years (1996 to 1999).

The decision to leave CSUB was bittersweet for Mendoza and leaving his team was the hardest part.

“It’s something I didn’t want to do. I don’t like doing it,” said Mendoza. “The hardest part of leaving this program is leaving these guys and… leaving the relationship with the community.”

Red shirt sophomore Bryan Battisto said, “He’s not just in charge of our wrestling, he’s in charge of our emotional development as a human being, as a person. It’s like losing a parent. It’s someone you look up to. It’s hard.”

CSUB redshirt-senior wrestler Reuben Franklin isn’t worried for the wrestling program and believes Mendoza made the right choice by accepting the head coach position.

“Frankly, Mendoza is making a good move,” said Franklin. “He is going to be able to focus on coaching and developing good wrestlers rather than worry about keeping our program alive.

“He’ll be at a school that will enable him to reach his potential, whereas at Bakersfield he does not have all the tools that should be available to him.”

Franklin credited the good people associated with the wrestling for its success.

“Mendoza cultured quality men, not just quality wrestlers, and if the new head coach maintains the expectations Mendoza had, the program will continue to grow and have success, despite a lack of resources,” said Franklin.

Mendoza is unsure as to what his timeline here at CSUB is but is expecting the transition of moving over to happen within the next few weeks.

Mendoza assured that the search for a new head coach would begin immediately and that the program won’t just be abandoned.

“This program won’t be left with nobody here, and the door locked,” said Mendoza, who added that an interim coach would likely be hired before finding a new coach for the position.

Although Mendoza is emotional about having to leave his team at CSUB, he also feels excited for the new opportunity and is ready to embrace the change that comes with it.

“I think any time you have a change in atmosphere, you’re going to grow and change from it,” said Mendoza. “I’ll be stressed in other ways as a coach. Anytime you change your environment, you’re going to grow, so I expect it to be a growing experience.”

CSUB Athletics Director Kenneth Siegfried said he thinks this will rally the supporters to fund the program.

“Mike’s unbelievable,” said Siegfried. “He’s going to be missed and he did a great job, but I have been upfront with our supporters and they are ready to keep moving this program forward.

“I think it’s going to ignite it. Not from a competitive standpoint, but from getting the program completely funded, which is what we would love to do and the community seems to be behind us.”