For six years Wayne Briggs, head coach of men's wrestling, has been coaching with Dixie State University, and it's clear to see where he developed his passion from.
Briggs has been coaching for 22 years and his love for wrestling stemmed from and early age.
“I’ve wrestled all my life, pretty much,” Briggs said.
Briggs wrestling career started in high school in California, where he placed twice for the state championship. He then went on to study at the University of California Los Angeles, on a full ride wrestling scholarship, where he studied and wrestled for one year before leaving to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.
After returning home, he gave up wrestling for almost 10 years before moving to St. George. He then began working as an assistant coach for Snow Canyon High School, and continued there for 10 years.
Briggs then decided he wanted to do more than coach — he wanted to teach. He went back to school at DSU to earn a degree in educaton, which led him to a job at Beaver Dam High School where he taught Spanish and business, all while coaching football and wrestling. Briggs worked there for two years before making his way to DSU to coach wrestling.
The wrestling team at DSU is a club sport so there are no scholarships for the athletes, however Briggs said that, that hasn't stopped the number of athletes from growing over the years. With 20 wrestlers on the team, he said this is one of their biggest years yet. Briggs also said being a club sport changes nothing about the way he coaches or how much time and effort he and his wrestlers put into their training.
Over the course of his six year employment at DSU coach Briggs has helped the team continue to grow, while simultaneously earning the respect of his athletes.
Raymond Kapongo, a junior business major from the Congo, is a wrestler on Briggs’ team and said he has great admiration for his coach.
"I love his coaching style,” Kapongo said. “I also love that he pushes us to the limit."
Briggs passion for wrestling doesn't end when he steps off the mat. Briggs' wife Ellen Briggs said her husband is the most generous man on the planet and helps his wrestlers on and off the matt.
"He is willing to give up all his spare time to help anyone that needs him," said Mrs. Briggs. "He opens his classroom really early in the morning so that he can help those students that are struggling. Along with the title of coach, he is also a teacher, counselor and friend to those that are lucky to know him."