CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former University of Iowa NCAA champion and Linn-Mar four-time state champion Jay Borschel has been satisfied with his return to wrestling.
After a couple years away from the sport, Borschel’s passion was too much to ignore, so he entered the world of coaching and is in his first season as a volunteer assistant on the Northwestern coaching staff. The Wildcats finished eighth as a team, crowning one champion in 157-pounder Jason Welch, at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships on Sunday at the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall.
He has embraced his new role.
“It’s been good,” Borschel said. “I really truly enjoy it. It’s good to take the opposite look on thing from being an athlete and competitor. You take the same mentality of everything into this, but it’s completely on the flip-side.”
The 26-year-old said he has learned patience, working with wrestlers and realizing there are limits to what you can do. He said he does his best to prepare his wrestlers and instilling the necessary attributes that can lead to success.
The administrative duties are new as well.
“The to-do list is never really completed,” said Borschel, a two-time All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier who won a Big Ten and national title as a senior in 2010 for the Hawkeyes. “I know with anything it’s going to take a lot of work, especially coaching in a sport like this. I guess I never really appreciated what my coaches I had experiences with have done.”
Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano, a former coach at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, has been pleased with Borschel’s contribution to the program. Pariano said the Wildcat wrestlers can gain a lot of insight from Borschel.
“He’s current in the technique,” Pariano said. “He is a good guy to have in the program in many facets. He leads by example and leads a great life.”
Pariano has witnessed Borschel’s growth during the course of this season. He has seen Borschel adjust to the stress of matches of 10 wrestlers compared to just having to deal with one as a competitor. Pariano praised Borschel for developing an ability to be stern with wrestlers and command respect, which is tough for a young coach.
Borschel has been exposed to some of the sport’s top motivators, including Hawkeye head coaches Dan Gable and Tom Brands. He has had to form his own skill in that area.
“I feel like I’m good at seeing someone and reading their body language, hearing what they’re saying and interpreting that then helping them get what they need,” Borschel said. “You have to treat everyone as an individual. You have to help them along to get what they need.”
He balances that with his unique personality that endeared him to so many at Iowa and Linn-Mar.
“He has both dynamics,” Pariano said. “He is the fun-loving guy that is a really intelligent and quirky guy, but then he also has that hardened side to him. That side enabled him to win many, many matches and a national title.”
Borschel, who resides in Evanston, Ill., plans to begin a new responsibility soon. His wife, Jillian Perry, is pregnant, and the couple is expecting a baby “in the next three weeks” and could conflict with NCAA Division I Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Wrestling won’t be the priority.“I don’t have a choice,” Borschel said with a laugh. “I want to be there (for the birth).”