Childs reaches another milestone
Issue date: 1/23/09 Section: Sports
Seems like a fitting nickname - especially after his latest milestone.
Childs earned his 400th career Division I coaching victory after his team defeated Sacred Heart 34-9 Jan. 17 in Fairfax, Va. His 400 Division I wins are tops amongst active Division I coaches.
"The mark probably meant more to my team because they wanted to get it more for me I think," Childs said. "It's a milestone really, but it's just another win on the long trail we've had here."
Childs took over at Drexel in 1976-77, guiding the program to its first winning season in nine years. He finished second to Iowa coach Dan Gable for the Amateur Wrestling News Rookie Coach of the Year Award. From there he began turning the program around. His record as coach of the Dragons is 400-237-9.
Now in his 33rd season, Childs believes his durability is the main reason he was able to reach the 400-win plateau.
"Looking at my position at Drexel and in the wrestling world, I don't consider myself the best coach. It's just longevity," Childs said. "But to go with that you have to have pride in what you do and love for the sport and love for the community that you're in … Drexel certainly has rewarded me with that and has fostered that for me. And I hope I've fostered that with my team and the community."
Overall, Childs is second on the NCAA all-time career wins list, having amassed 489 collegiate victories combined during his tenure at Stevens Tech and Drexel. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla. as a Lifetime Achievement Recipient April 6, 2006.
But while Childs has had a lot of success throughout his career, he has seen a change in the attitude in his athletes over the years.
"Now, [my athletes] realize they're not just out for the fun of the sport. It's grueling … the weight loss … the practice hours. When I first started it was a social event, and I didn't change my stance on working them hard. I think the attitude of the wrestlers that come in today is that they know what they want. And those that don't, they find out within the first couple weeks it's not for them."
Since he started at Drexel, Childs has always looked at himself as more than just a coach.
"It's not just coaching," Childs said. "I look at myself as an educator [once a physical education teacher at Drexel]. I look at it as a teacher not just in wrestling, but hopefully I'm teaching them something about life."
Upon reflecting on his accomplishment, Childs said: "It's been a good ride. There's no one else that's gotten 400 wins so that makes it kind of special."
He's not worshiped like "JoePa." He's not revered like Mike Krzyzewski. He doesn't have a SportsCenter commercial like Pat Summitt. And he probably won't be portrayed in a multi-million dollar movie production anytime in the near future.
However, that's just fine with Childs - he's as close to a coaching legend as there is at Drexel.