Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

Sickles wrestling coach approaching career milestone

Sickles wrestling coach Terry Brockland stands to achieve a milestone dual-meet victory mark Saturday.

Brockland will take his Gryphon team into a 10-team meet at Robinson, needing just five wins to reach 250 dual-meet wins.

But it's not a mark that will have Brockland popping open champagne

"I didn't even realize until myself and the other coaches were talking at the beginning of this year and Steve (Cortese) asked when we would get to 200," Brockland said. "We counted up all our dual-meet wins and saw that we were close to 250."

• • •

Brockland has certainly put his time in. He formerly taught and coached track at Buchanan Middle School, then a junior high with a football program, and he credits then-football coach Steve Randolph with forming the foundation of his coaching philosophy.

"He (Randolph) never cussed, never raised his voice at the kids," Brockland said. "He'd tell them to run six perimeters and then talk to them after — I try to follow that philosophy."

Brockland wrestled in high school at South Miami High, so it fell to him to start the Sickles wrestling program when he moved over in 1997 and became the school's first and only coach.

"Whatever was best for the school was best for me," Brockland said.

The calm demeanor and team-first mentality have followed Brockland wherever he has been. James Harris, Sickles' current athletic director, was Brockland's student at Buchanan.

"He's (Brockland's) not only skilled at being a coach, he's a great role model for the kids, too," Harris said. "He (Brockland) really knows what it means to be a student athlete."

• • •

The student athletes flourish in the tiny wrestling room adjacent to the gymnasium. Problems with academic ineligibility seldom arise. Many of Brockland's current wrestlers are honors students; some are in advanced placement classes.

Oluwabunkunmi Olusanya, a 2008 graduate, was a state qualifier and AP student before being admitted to Howard University. Olusanya's two younger brothers graduated or will graduate from Sickles — Adedeji in 2010 and Adekunle this summer.

"You learn a lot of discipline here, along with sound techniques," Olusanya said. "He's (Brockland) always bringing in good technicians to help out.

"You don't feel like someone's raining down on you; he's (Brockland's) not the type to curse or yell," Olusanya added. "Any time new coaches come in they take that same approach, too."

Brockland has a couple of assistants who bring loads of expertise to the room: Steve Cortese, a state high school runner-up in New Jersey, and Jeff Urban, a two-time NCAA qualifier at Missouri. Both boast of Brockland's positive attitude, and the can-do atmosphere has produced success across his career.

It took his first nine seasons to build up the 100-win milestone. But Brockland cites a thicker dual-meet schedule and a peaking program for closing the last 150 wins in just the past seven years.

The 2012-13 team is a young team, according to Brockland, but not without depth and potential state qualifiers. Junior Andrew Martin (145 pounds) and senior Vincent Brown (138) are the Gryphons' best shots at state final bids. Martin is currently 24-1 and Brown is 23-2.

"He (Brockland) pushes us hard but it pays off," Martin said. "I'd be nowhere without him."

Brockland, along with former pro wrestler Jerry Briscoe, runs the Guardian Wrestling Club out of Sickles, and it provides a steady stream of talent.

Also, Brockland's son, Adam, now 9 years old, could come through Sickles and the wrestling program. Brockland said he will "definitely stick around for that."

Who knows what win total Brockland will be approaching by then. Chances are he probably won't even notice. When asked what he planned to do when he hits 250?

"Probably just roll off of one mat and get off to the next one," Brockland said.

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