Gary Mayabb (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Gary Mayabb of Kansas City, Mo. has been hired for the new position of Manager of Greco-Roman Programs by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States.
Mayabb, who has been nationally respected as a wrestler, coach and referee, will work in USA Wrestling's National Teams Department, along with National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland and other staff members. He will focus on improving USA Wrestling's performance in Greco-Roman wrestling at all levels while growing the sport in the United States.
"I have been involved in Greco-Roman for several decades, coaching it at the development level, and leading a lot of tours. I have always enjoyed that. I'm looking for this to become a WIN-WIN. I have some experience to offer, coming through the USA Wrestling system and working with a state association. I have been brought to USA Wrestling camps by Matt Lindland or Steve Fraser, which helped me develop as a higher level coach and leader. I want to grow Greco-Roman. I love it, and this is a great opportunity for me," said Mayabb.
Mayabb has been a highly successful coach and leader within USA Wrestling's national and state-level Greco-Roman programs, as well as a championship coach at the high school and youth levels. He has been involved in wrestling at all of its levels throughout his 40-plus years in the sport.
"Gary has been a high-level Greco-Roman athlete. He has been a part of USA Wrestling volunteer coaching pool since I was an athlete, which is where I first got to know Gary. He has been a head coach, an assistant coach and an administrator. We are building a program and an American Greco-Roman system together. He brings the knowledge, experience and wisdom of a Head Coach, and is someone who sees my vision and is willing to execute my overall plan and strategy. Our goal is to ultimately get our team to where we believe it can be, consistently the best team in the world," said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland.
He has coached eight times as an USA Wrestling age-group World Team Coach in Greco-Roman, working at the UWW Cadet, UWW Junior or University levels. Most recently, he coached the 2016 UWW Cadet World Team in Tbilisi, Ga. Among the nations he has led tours include Bulgaria, Finland, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Guatemala and Greece. Mayabb was also head coach of 1989 UWW Cadet World Festival Championships team, leading the USA to a second place team finish.
He has also served as Greco-Roman coach of Missouri USA Wrestling every year since 1986, working with their Cadet and Junior National Teams. Mayabb has also coached at the club level in his community.
Mayabb was USA Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman Coach of the Year in 2003 and its Cadet Greco-Roman Coach of the Year in 2014. He was also the Southern Plains Regional Developmental Coach of the Year in 2003. Mayabb is a Gold Certified coach within USA Wrestling's National Coaches Education Program, the highest level of achievement in the program.
"It will have to be a global approach," said Mayabb of his new position. "There are things that can be improved at each level and in every area. There have been some patterns of success which we have had in the past, with athletes coming from Div. I and Div. II into Greco-Roman. At the same time, we are seeing athletes that are becoming World champions and Olympic champions at a younger age. We are going to improve how we train our National Team at an earlier age and how we identify our National Team. An American wrestler is typically a freestyle wrestler. If we can grow Greco, one of the largest areas we can expand is working with the freestyle wrestlers, and as they get older, instead of specializing just in freestyle, we can get them to stay longer in Greco, allowing us to develop a broader pool of athletes. I think we will need to do a better job identifying athletes earlier than normal, maintain relationships and position ourselves to give them opportunities."
He has a long career in education, starting his career in 1985 and working as a teacher or coordinator at high schools in Missouri for 32 years. He is currently at Staley High School, where he has served as both a coordinator and a teacher. He began his career as a teacher at East High School in Excelsior Springs, and also has taught for Belton High School and Oak Park High School. He has instructed classes in history, psychology, physiology, economics and leadership. He has received numerous awards for his teaching abilities, including a Teacher of the Year award in 2015.
As head coach at Oak Park High School, Mayabb's teams won six Missouri state high school titles, including becoming the only program to win five straight team titles. His team also won 11 district team titles and eight Suburban Conference team titles. Included were 38 individual state titles and 96 state place winners, including four four-time individual state champions. His teams were ranked nationally six different seasons.
Mayabb launched a new program at Staley High School in 2008, and helped develop the team into a state power. His program has placed second in the state two times and third once. The team featured six individual state champions and 38 state placewinners. During his high school coaching career, Mayabb has been NWCA Region Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2005, and State Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006. Mayabb has also won six other Missouri Coach of the Year awards. He has placed more than 50 athletes into college wrestling programs and 74 athletes have gone on to coaching careers.
He has made coaching presentations at state-level coaches clinics at 14 different states, and also has led a number of coaching presentations at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
As an athlete, he was a 1990 U.S. Open runner-up in Greco-Roman, and qualified to compete in four U.S. Olympic Team Trials series (1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992). Mayabb was nationally ranked many times on the Senior level. In college, he was a two-time caption for the wrestling team at the University of Central Missouri, where he was an NCAA qualifier and the MIAA Conference Most Outstanding Wrestler in 1983.
Mayabb has also coached numerous other sports on the high school level, including serving as a head coach in diving, soccer and strength and conditioning, as well as assistant coaching posts in wrestling, football and track and field.
He is a national level collegiate-style referee, having worked 16 college national tournaments, including four at the NCAA Div. I level and 12 at the NCAA Div. II levels, as well as working 12 Big Ten Championships. Mayabb officiated high school level for two years, before starting his high school coaching career. He started officiating freestyle and Greco-Roman in 1980, and has been an active international-style referee on the local, state and regional levels throughout his career.
Mayabb is excited about the opportunity to work on USA Wrestling's national staff, and to focus specifically on the Greco-Roman program.
"It is truly an honor for me, but this is also a great opportunity for me. I want continuous growth. I want to become better each year. I will be blended with a whole group of people who are like-minded warriors for a long time, who understand this level. I will have to grow, but I hope with my experiences, I can bring some areas of growth myself. What a great situation to be with people who have done this their whole life and be able to share with that," said Mayabb.
Lindland praises Mayabb not only for his abilities and his experience, but also for the qualities that made his so successful in all aspects of his life.
"Character first. I want to work with men of integrity. I want someone who is already a great leader. Athletes are first in my coaching style and I want to work with people who put athletes first. Our job is to make these guys better men and in turn they will become better at wrestling as a result. Gary and I share a similar philosophy. I know that he will treat all our young men with the same level of respect and dignity. I look for an individual who is honest and humble. There were a ton of great candidates for this position, but Gary really stood out from the rest," said Lindland.