By Chris Detwiler — STAFF WRITER
This year’s Hofstra Pride wrestle-off competition was preceded by a very special event.
Ohio State heavyweight senior Kyle Snyder and head coach of the Ohio State wrestling team Tom Ryan paid a visit to the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex last week.
Hofstra wrestling head coach Dennis Papadatos talked about what having these big names on campus means for this program.
“[Ryan], being a former coach here and [Synder] being an Olympic Champion, World Champion, National Champion … is great for the Long Island fans and it’s great for the program. It was definitely exciting to have them here,” coach Papadatos said.
Ryan was the head coach of the Hofstra wrestling program from 1995 to 2006 where he racked up a 109-83-1 overall record in his 11 years as head coach. During his tenure at Hofstra, he led the Pride to six consecutive conference titles.
Now at Ohio State, Ryan holds a 135-49 dual meet record through 11 years in Columbus. He has led the Buckeyes to two Big Ten Championships in 2015 and 2017 respectively and an NCAA Championship in 2015.
Snyder is ranked as the #1 pound-for-pound wrestler coming into the 2017-18 season. He has accomplished more than some wrestlers dream about, as he has two NCAA National Titles, two World Championships and an Olympic gold medal. He is the youngest American wrestler to ever win an Olympic gold medal.
To achieve these accolades, Snyder has had to balance schoolwork, collegiate competition and international competition – no easy feat – but Snyder seems to have it all figured out.
“It’s just time management. Basically, as long as I stay up to date on the work and I communicate with my professors, I’m able to compete overseas, compete with the Buckeyes and get done with my academics,” Snyder said.
With such an unbelievable list of accomplishments, one would think Snyder has reached the pinnacle of his career. Unfortunately for Snyder’s competition, it does not seem that way.
“I want to see how good I can get at [wrestling],” Snyder said. “I haven’t reached my peak as an athlete so that’s my motivation to pursue.”
Without great coaching, Snyder would not be as successful as he is. Tom Ryan, his coach at Ohio State, has helped mold him into the wrestler he is today. Ryan, who has earned many coaching accolades during his years at Hofstra and Ohio State, shared some of the reasons why he has been such a successful coach.
“Love, passion, surrounding yourself with people that love what they do,” Ryan said. “Put yourself in a position to be around the right people.”
One enormous responsibility of the coaches is to recruit top prospects from high schools or other colleges. This is no easy task, but Ryan successfully recruits top wrestlers to his program. Even though Ryan himself has an enormous impact on recruits, he has some help from the Ohio State wrestling program itself.
“Mass attracts mass. People want to be involved in successful organizations. Everybody wants to know that the place they’re going to can bring them to where they want to go,” Ryan said.
Bringing in two of the top figureheads in collegiate wrestling puts Hofstra wrestling in the spotlight once again, which is where coach Papadatos wants to be. With the return of heavyweight Michael Hughes and many other wrestlers who redshirted last year, expectations for the team are high, and coach Papadatos is up to the task.
The Hofstra Pride wrestling team continues their 2017-18 season next Saturday in Troy, New York for the Northeast Duals.