Wrestling coach’s heroic actions send message to fellow coaches, students

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Derek Moore shows brave courage in saving woman from robbery.

California Baptist University assistant wrestling coach Derek Moore made headlines when he helped prevent a robbery in Daytona, Florida, Aug. 6. The news coverage from ncaa.com and calbaptist.edu brought attention to CBU, it’s wrestling program and it’s highly successful and now heroic, coach.

The CBU wrestling coaches were checking out of their hotel after attending a conference and sent Moore to bring the car around. While in the parking lot, Moore responded to cries for help from a woman whose purse had been taken. The CBU coach pursued and tackled the robbery suspect.

“We went out there looking for him. He wasn’t in the parking lot,” said Leonard Zalesky, head coach of wrestling. “We walked over to an area right in front of the hotel and that’s where he was with a couple other coaches.”

Nicholas Fiegener, junior business administration major, was impressed with his coach’s initiative.

“I would say that is more of a moral, personal thing,” Fiegener said. “Wrestling definitely teaches discipline and the confidence to do something like that, but I think when it comes down to it, I would say it’s more spiritual to take the initiative and to run down a criminal.”

“That’s kind of the character that is built in through the sport of wrestling,” Zalesky said. “Derek probably learned some of that. Some of that is intrinsic, but the sport yields that mentality and behavior.”

Zalesky said he believes the character shown by Moore is consistent throughout the program.

“Quite honestly, almost all my athletes would have done the same thing,” Zalesky said. “Wrestling kind of has that mentality. They are going to try to protect, especially a woman who had her purse stolen.”

Moore’s heroics seemed to send a message to his athletes.

Nolan Kistler, senior criminal justice major, said he first heard about the incident through Twitter. While hiking with Moore over the summer, he was able to ask his coach about the event.

“He was so nonchalant about it. For me, I feel like I’d have a big head, like I went full superhero on this guy,” Kistler said. “He didn’t really go into too much detail, but it was just kind of humbling because he really didn’t have a big head at all about it.”

Zalesky also noted that the publicity from this event could be good for his team.

“Something of this nature, like the Superman story, I think is always good to hear no matter what sport – that there are citizens that come to help people who are in trouble,” added Zalesky. “I’m happy it was a wrestler and I’m happy it was a wrestler on staff.”

Moore is in his first year on the Lancers’ coaching staff. He was a two-time Pac-10 champion and captured an NCAA championship while being coached by Zalesky at UC Davis.

The Lancers will kick off its season Oct. 28 with a scrimmage in the Van Dyne Gym.

About Cullen Holt

Asst. Sports Editor

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