The California Baptist University wrestling team is coached by John Petty who was a coach at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.
Petty began coaching at CBU in 2009 when he lead the wrestling team to a 14th place finish at the 2009 NAIA National Championships and had three wrestlers place in the top eight. In addition to the 14th place finish that season, the Lancers were ranked number 9 in the NAIA top 20 poll.
Petty graduated from Fresno State University in 1991 and earned his bachelors degree in business administration. Later on he earned his masters degree in kinesiology from Fresno Pacific University in 2006.
To Petty, wrestling is a training field in which his athletes are learning things that will help them later on down the road, even after they graduate from college.
“Many of the players are living in the fear of knowing that once they leave college they are going to be held responsible for their futures and it is important to establish good habits now,” Petty said.
Discipline is a key factor in wrestling and Petty teaches his men how to be both disciplined and leaders.
“My favorite thing about coach is that he is a good Christian and backs up his beliefs with actions both during practice and outside of practice and he is a great person to look up to,” wrestler Caleb Gerl said.
Being a well rounded coach that is disciplined, has a relationship with God and someone that players can look up to, is key to being a good coach at CBU and Petty is doing a great job exceeding those criteria.
“Wrestling is more of a ministry because I get to help these young men grow spiritually when they are being put under attack,” Petty said.
Petty said that the wrestler’s journey to becoming a good athlete and a good man is what brings him joy when coaches his players. Character is something that Petty holds in high esteem and tries to instill in these young men because it will make them not only better athletes but better students, husbands and future employees.
“He is a tough, great coach but most importantly he is an ‘iron sharpens iron’ kind of coach,” Gerl said.
Petty strives to see his players perform to the best of their ability and reach their full potential. Wrestling is a disciplined sport in which players train twice a day and must make weight each day. The training is so intense and the wrestlers put so much effort into training for a seven minute match that there is not enough time to make mistakes in this sport.
“You’ll find out what you are all about in a sport,” Petty said.
Wrestling prepares his players most importantly for life because they are taught good habits in which he hopes they take outside of college, athletically, academically and spiritually.