Youth coach honored by National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Scott McDoniel has boosted participation through Golden Eagle club


Scott McDoniel, of Highlands Ranch, was named the 2019 youth coach of the year by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame-Colorado Chapter selected.

McDoniel is the head coach for Golden Eagle Wrestling Club, which he founded in September 2014 with 22 wrestlers, half of whom left before the season ended, according to a news release.

“We had to evaluate why kids did not stick with the sport. This is one of the hardest sports for kids since there is no team to help you if you make a mistake,” McDoniel said in the release.

Since that first season, McDoniel has worked to improve wrestling participation. This past winter season, the Golden Eagles had 107 wrestlers, including its first girls team of eight wrestlers, the release said.

In addition to having a traditional wrestling program, McDoniel implemented two additional programs for wrestlers. The Golden Eagle Wrestling Club offers an introductory program for kids desiring to try the sport, and the Olympic development program is for more advanced wrestlers desiring to progress to the international style of wrestling.

“What makes us a little different is how we approach the sport with our kids. We are more interested in developing our wrestlers vs. throwing them into competitions,” McDoniel said in the release. “We looked at other forms of martial arts and how they retain their participants and decided to implement similar aspects into our club.”

The Golden Eagle Wrestling Club uses a band system for advancing its wrestlers. Wrestlers will start at an entry-level color band and can be promoted based on developmental progression, practice attendance, positive behavior and character development, and competition experience.

“To be honest, I had no idea if it was going to work. However, the kids love it,” McDoniel said in the release. “It provides them something to work toward without gauging their success on wins or losses. It is a little more work on me to keep track of who and when to promote but it is worth it to me if I can keep kids on the mat and coming back.”

McDoniel will be recognized at the 21st annual Hall of Fame honors banquet May 11 at the Colorado Springs Marriott Hotel. The banquet will begin at 4 p.m.

To purchase tickets, and for further information, go to


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