I am writing this to publicly thank former Head Wrestling Coach Clar Anderson, one of the finest men I know.
Being a Duke wrestler is hardly glamorous; in fact I would be surprised if half the student population even knew there was a program. We put ourselves through grueling practices, during which the average person would lose anywhere from three to six pounds of water (I averaged five myself), then we restricted the amount that we put back into our bodies for the purpose of making weight. I truly don’t miss studying thirsty. We didn’t travel first class; in my time at Duke, 10-hour rides in a 15 passenger van, dehydrated and hungry, were common. Our practice facilities were way too small, and as for support at our matches—well, let’s just say Cameron Indoor looks deceivingly large when it’s completely empty. The vast majority of the time we stepped onto the mat, it might as well have been David versus Goliath.
Coach Anderson asked two things from us—to fight hard on the mat, and to be good people off it. What we quickly realized was that Coach was preparing us for something much greater than a seven minute match—he was preparing us for life. I still remember him saying that we would be more prepared to handle life’s challenges than most athletes, given what we put ourselves through. I can honestly say, for myself and many others, he was right.
I don’t know where I would be if I had not been a Duke wrestler for Coach Anderson. My first job on the trading floor of an investment bank was the result of a Duke wrestling connection, and I try to bring the same intensity that I brought under Coach to work every day. The city to which I relocated is where I met my wife, and now I have two children. I formed lifelong friendships (half of my wedding party were wrestlers).
It has not been an easy road. I have fallen many times and have experienced failures and setbacks. But I get up and keep fighting because that is what Coach taught me to do, to never give up. And when the market closes each day, I go home to my beautiful wife and children. Coach, thank you for what you have done for me. You changed my life forever, and my family and I will forever be indebted to you.
Frank Cornely, Trinity ’06, 2x ACC Champion
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