Bill Zadick named USA Wrestling’s next National Freestyle Coach

Updated: June 1, 2016

Bill Zadick of Colorado Springs, Colo., currently an Assistant National Freestyle Coach with USA Wrestling, has been named as the next National Freestyle Coach for USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport in the United States.

Bill Zadick

Bill Zadick

“To be named USA Wrestling’s Freestyle National Coach is a great honor. It is humbling, and I feel a tremendous responsibility to the United States and to USA Wrestling and to the athletes. I love freestyle wrestling. I cut my teeth in freestyle as a young kid, coming up through the developmental ranks. It has always been a huge passion for me. It is an important component to the American wrestling system. I am a patriot. I love red, white and blue and I want us to be the best wrestling nation in the world,” said Zadick.

He becomes the fifth full-time National Freestyle Coach for USA Wrestling, following Lee Roy Smith, Bruce Burnett (two terms), Kevin Jackson and Zeke Jones. USA Wrestling conducted an in-depth interview process, which included input from an advisory committee of respected wrestling leaders.

“I am proud of the process we went through to select our next National Freestyle Head Coach,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director. “It included virtually all of the appropriate stakeholders in the process. Bill will lead this program with character and dignity. We are confident that the best is yet to come for Team USA.”

Zadick will assume the duties after the current National Freestyle Coach Bruce Burnett completes his tenure after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Burnett, who was the National Freestyle Coach from 1992-2000, was rehired in May 2014 to lead USA Wrestling’s freestyle national program through the Rio Games.

“We had great candidates and it was a difficult decision,” said Les Gutches, USA Wrestling Associate Executive Director for Programs and Strategy. “When it came to the final three candidates, we were impressed by all of them. As part of the interview process, each of the coaches had to lay out their four-year plan and vision. Bill nailed it, with great detail and insight. Bill has had the benefit of working around three National Freestyle Coaches, Bruce Burnett, Kevin Jackson and Zeke Jones. He comes from the Iowa program where he was coached by Dan Gable and the Brands brothers. He has done a good job pulling the collective wisdom of these and other coaches and developing his own philosophy.”

Bill Zadick first joined USA Wrestling in the position of Resident Coordinator and Assistant National Freestyle Coach in January 2009. He was a liaison between the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the resident athletes in all three styles and was also part of the national freestyle coaching staff.

Zadick was promoted to the position of National Freestyle Developmental Coach and Assistant National Freestyle Coach in September 2010. He oversaw the programs intended to improve the quality and quantity of men’s freestyle athletes prior to the Senior level, working with age-group World Teams and programs.

During his four years working with the USA age-group teams (2011-2014), the USA won eight Cadet World medals, nine Junior World medals and 10 medals at the University Worlds or University World Games. Included were Cadet World champions Adam Coon, Zain Retherford, Aaron Pico, Spencer Lee, Mason Manville and Mark Hall, Junior World champion Kyle Snyder and University World champions Tyler Caldwell and Tyrell Fortune. In 2014, the U.S. age group World Teams reached new levels of success in freestyle, with the Cadets placing third in the World, the Juniors placing second in the World and the University team winning the World title.

In 2015, Zadick’s duties as Assistant National Coach were changed, where he focused upon the athletes and teams on the Senior level, working directly with National Coach Bruce Burnett working with the elite Senior athletes in all areas. He was part of the coaching staff at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships, where the United States won three medals, led by World champions Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder. The USA also won the medal count at the 2015 Pan American Games with six medals, led by champions Brent Metcalf, Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder and Zach Rey.

Prior to joining USA Wrestling, Zadick served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Iowa wrestling team for two seasons (2003-04).

“We want the United States to be the best wrestling nation in the world in all styles. Of course, my focus will be on freestyle. It will take a lot of work. We are going to need all hands on deck. We have a lot of great wrestling minds within the United States, and it is going to take a coordinated effort and inclusion of all those people to move us forward. With Russia, Iran, the former Soviet republics including Georgia, Azerbaijan and others, there are a lot of really strong wrestling nations that are well organized and well funded. We will need to be the same and even more so for us to make up ground, win more medals and improve. We will not only have to work hard, but we will have to work smart. We will need to be smarter about our sport, technically, tactically, scientifically and areas outside of that. We will need to draw on all of the resources within the United States borders to make us better,” said Zadick.

Zadick was one of the nation’s best wrestlers on the youth, college and international levels before his coaching career started.

Zadick reached the top of the freestyle wrestling world in 2006, when he won a World gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 pounds in Guangzhou, China. His younger brother Mike won a silver medal at 60 kg/132 pounds at the 2006 World Championships, making them the first U.S. brothers to reach the World finals on the same year since Tom and Terry Brands in 1993.

Zadick also competed in the 2001 World Championships, placing seventh. He was a runner-up at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2000 and 2008. He was a three-time U.S. Nationals runner-up (2003, 2006, 2008) and a two-time World Team Trials runner-up (1999, 2002). Zadick won a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Championships, and won the Sunkist Kids International Open in 1997 and 1998.

He won a NCAA Div. I title for the Univ. of Iowa in 1996 and was a two-time All-American, competing for the legendary Dan Gable. Zadick won a Big Ten title and posted a career record of 87-13 with 16 pins. Zadick earned a B.A. in art from the University of Iowa in 1996.

Originally from Great Falls, Montana, Zadick won four high school state titles for Great Falls High School (1988-91). He was active in USA Wrestling’s age-group programs as a youth and through college.

Zadick was a U.S. Olympic Training Center Resident athlete from 2004-2008, where his freestyle career flourished on the mat.

“He was a World champion as an athlete. It came through loud and clear that he has the support of the athletes. They respect him and his accomplishments and his abilities as a coach. We have momentum at this time. As a national freestyle program, we go into the Rio Olympic Games after winning three medals with two champions in 2015. Bill is the guy who can continue this momentum and increase it,” said Gutches.