I know I have written about my wrestling career, the success I have had, and some of the people who helped me reach my success.
I want to take this opportunity to write about the person who had the biggest influence and impact in my life, Neal Nutter.
Yes his brother Nick Nutter, who I wrote about in my last blog, was the first person to take me under their wing and believe in me; but make no mistake about it, Neal was as much apart of that and more. He has been there for me in every turn and aspect of my life, sometimes maybe even when he didn’t want to be. Other than my parents, Neal is the person I turn to most in my life. So I want to take this opportunity to write about his impact on my life and say thank you.
When I transferred from Cloverleaf to Buckeye before my junior year, I had only tasted minimal success in wrestling. Once I got to Buckeye my whole perspective of wrestling changed. When I was at Cloverleaf no coach ever worked with me, they never thought I would amount to anything. I grew up with two coaches for parents. So I knew when a coach believed in me and when they didn’t.
Neal was the first coach to work with me. Every single day he pushed me and never let me settle for less then my best. For me as an athlete, and even just as a person, that meant more to me than I can put into words. When someone believes in you, works with you, and pushes you like that, you do not want to let them down. He instilled a confidence in me I had never had before.
After my junior year, Neal accepted a job to be the Assistant Wrestling Coach at Ashland University. He was a big reason why I accepted a scholarship there after my senior year. Neal left Ashland before I got there though, accepting a head coaching position at Cloverleaf High School. Even after I transferred and left Ashland, I always came to him for advice and workouts. Every summer of my college career I would beg Neal to workout with me, show me moves, show me how to improve, and what I needed to do to be an All-American. I’m sure sometimes it was reluctantly, I’m sure I even annoyed him from time to time, but he was there for me.
After college I still had the desire to compete. There was only so many open tournaments I could go to, but that still did not feed the fire I had inside me. So again, I turned to Neal. He was coaching young men in MMA at a gym that he and his brother Nick had opened up. So Neal talked me into joining and giving MMA a try. Neal was my trainer, my coach, and my manager. He led me to a successful 3 year MMA career, going 7-0 in that time span.
I know as a coach I have to be myself, but I have learned so much about being a coach from Neal. I always try to find something positive in every kid on the team, even when other coaches have written them off. That’s what Neal did for me, and if I could do that for just one kid, then I have made a difference. You never know what people, a student, or an athlete are capable of until you give them a chance. So thank you Neal! I want you to know that you are a big part of where I am today and the man I am today.