Nebraska’s Manning enjoys ride with Burroughs

Updated: September 27, 2011

By Mike Finn

This has been quite a year for Jordan Burroughs, who captured his second NCAA championship this past winter and won the FILA World freestyle championship a couple weeks ago.

It was also a great time for Nebraska head coach Mark Manning, who was in Burroughs corner in Philadelphia last March for the NCAAs, in Cleveland for the U.S. Open title in April, in Oklahoma City for the World Team Trials championship in June and finally in Istanbul, Turkey, where Burroughs left with a gold medal on Sept. 18.


Nebraska coach Mark Manning (right) helped Jordan Burroughs capture his second NCAA championship last March and earn WIN Hodge Trophy.

During this period, Manning was usually the first person Burroughs embraced in celebration during an unbeaten college folkstyle and international freestyle season.

“There was no difference in how I felt,” Manning said of those moments. “I’m just happy that Jordan reached another one of the goals that he set. He made this a (World championship) goal a couple years ago. In the spring, I got to see him make the U.S. team. Then he really worked hard this summer developing his freestyle and making some adjustments; going over to Ukraine and Poland (for tournaments). Just to see him (win gold) was great, but it was no different.

“I’m excited to see him do it on the international scene on the biggest stage so far.

We will be looking for more next summer in London (for the Olympics).”

This was indeed great timing for Manning that Burroughs, a native of Sicklerville, N.J., accomplished these feats while he continues to train with Manning and Nebraska assistant coach Bryan Snyder in his college home of Lincoln, Neb.

This will be a historic year for the Cornhuskers, who begin their first season as members of the powerful Big Ten Conference.

“It’s good for our team,” said Manning, the Vermillion, S.D., native, who will begin his 10th season as the Huskers’ head man. “Anytime you have someone win an NCAA and World championship, it helps our guys believe. Jordan worked out with the team last week for three days (after winning the World title).

“It was a testament to Jordan and good to see him as the same old Jordan Burroughs. It shows you his character and tells me where his mindset is. It’s a good thing for our university while we go through these challenges.”

The Husker coach was also there to hug Jordan Burroughs when he won the 163-pound FILA World freestyle championship in Istanbul, Turkey on Sept. 23.

Manning, who returns just 11 of last year’s 43.5 NCAA points this winter, believes he has a team that will also soak up Burroughs’ success.

“We have some good young men working their tails off,” Manning said.

“I’m excited about seeing Jordan move forward. I’m exciting about the young men in our program.”

Promoting international freestyle success has become an important factor for college coaches looking for big-name recruits.

“Not every young man has the goal to be a World and Olympic champion or it may die out once they get to college,” Manning said. “He might have that desire after college and some young men do it after college.

“But the way that competition is now, it might not allow him (to wait). He has to get involved in the game early on because it will be hard to make a team and reach his goals if you are not involved early on.”

Many of the top Big Ten schools have developed wrestling clubs, including the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in State College, Pa., and the Ohio Regional Training Center in Columbus, Ohio, which produced four World Team members.

Manning, who plans on working with former Husker Craig Brester and Missouri All-American Raymond Jordan this year, believes what he has established in Lincoln has also created a positive experience for future freestylers.

“The Regional Training Centers can sometimes be misleading because young men are there trying to reach their individual goals and are not always going to be around the college guys,” said Manning, who has been involved with USA Wrestling since 1992 when he served as the Cadet World Team coach. (Recruits) thinking that some of these international guys are going to be around your weight class will determine how good they are going to be is truly up to that coach.

“Good college coaches are the ones who are going to impact how well (recruits) are going to do on the college scene and moving forward to develop themselves as future World or Olympic Team members.

Those guys who are training (for the international competition) need to focus on being the best freestyle wrestler they can be and will not be in the room every day. They’re going to be out at the Olympic Training Center (in Colorado Springs) or going to be traveling the world trying to develop themselves.

“People get misled how much a regional training center is going to impact their son’s future as a college wrestler. If he can only wrestle with that guy three times a month, he’s not going to have much affect on them. Some people think if a team has five guys training, their son is really gong to be impacted by those guys. That is not the fact.

“The reality is that they might see them working out but won’t be working with them every day. Those World and Olympic Team guys who are really serious are going to be focused on themselves and they should be.”

The rest will be left to coaches like Mark Manning.