Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida became the first four-year school at the NAIA or NCAA level to field a wrestling program in decades when it launched this past season. On Episode 253 of the Short Time Wrestling Podcast, we visit with Javier Maldonado, the head coach of the Fire.
Maldonado was an NCAA qualifier for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga during his college years and was active on the freestyle and Greco circuit dating back to his years at Kissimmee Osceola High School outside of Orlando. After teaching and coaching for five years at his alma mater, Maldonado had a unique opportunity to present itself — becoming the head coach at one of the NAIA's newest programs in a state devoid of scholarship-level wrestling.
We'll talk with Maldonado about the school's brand-new wrestling facility, his trip to the Olympic Trials with his athletes and becoming the model program for other schools in Florida to start intercollegiate wrestling.
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