Collected wisdom: Oklahoma State wrestling associate head coach Eric Guerrero

“Some men break, and some men break records. You just really have to decide which one you want to be when tough times come in your career.”
by Trent Shadid Published: June 21, 2014
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Oklahoma State wrestling associate head coach

Age: 37

Residence: Stillwater

No matter how accomplished a wrestler may be, it takes a lot to stand out as a member of the Oklahoma State program.

Eric Guerrero certainly does.

The Cowboys’ associate head coach was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater over the weekend. Guerrero won three consecutive NCAA titles from 1997-99 at Oklahoma State and was a 2004 Olympian. He has been on John Smith’s staff since 2000, initially joining as strength and conditioning coach.

My first wrestling season, at 8 years old, I went 0-12. But I was lucky to be around some very motivating people. My father (Sebastian) was very instrumental in that process, and I was very lucky to have my youth coach Albert Perez. He was exactly what I needed as a young athlete, because he was very much in line with how my father and my family did things.

It was hard sometimes, because they were always very honest with me. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it helped me a lot and it was always followed up with love. I always left practice knowing that my coach cared about me.

My dad is one of 10 kids, six boys, and they all wrestled. So it was predetermined from an early age that we were all going to wrestle. I’m one of 52 grandchildren and I’m pretty sure all the boys, at some point in their life, have tried wrestling. It was a very natural progression where you knew you were going to wrestle, which was perfect.

I grew up in a very urban environment in San Jose, Calif., and that’s obviously a little different than Stillwater. Luckily when I got here I found out very quickly that school and wrestling were the only things that mattered here at Oklahoma State. Take care of your homework, go to class, and practice.

There wasn’t a lot of time to be homesick. There wasn’t a lot of time to focus on anything other than getting better.

You kind of just live in isolated world. I think I was fortunate to grow up in a time where there was really no Internet influence when I got to school in 1996.

I never had cable or anything like that my entire time in college. You don’t really get those influences from the outside world like you can today. It was your own little intimate world and for me that was school and wrestling.

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by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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