New Volunteer Assistant Coach, New Season: Badger Wrestling Hopes for Breakout Season
Nov 2, 2016
Finally, after a long summer break Heritage Hall is bursting with life as wrestling season is officially back. With a new season comes a fresh start as the Badgers look to leave a mark on the ultra-competitive Big Ten Conference. As with every new season, comes a change or two.
Camden Eppert is the newest coach (volunteer assistant) added to the Badger Wrestling staff for the coming season. Eppert intends to bring a new energy to the Badgers. The Purdue alum, fresh off a four year Big Ten wrestling career, is happy to be back in Division One.
“I loved my time coaching Division Three (Wabash College: Crawfordsville, Indiana), but I’m happy to be back on the big stage,” Eppert said.
It seems as if the Badgers are happy to have him as well. They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse after Duke University offered him a position.
“When I met Camden, I could tell he understood the sport of wrestling. He can talk about certain kids’ styles and I was attracted to how well he loved and grasped the sport,” Badger Head Coach Barry Davis said.
Eppert comes to Wisconsin with high hopes for his guys. The four-time Indiana high school place winner, and two-time Indiana State Champion did not have the college career he was hoping for, never quite reaching All American status, one of his biggest goals.
“It sucks to not accomplish something you want so bad,” Eppert said. “I want these guys to know that no matter what I will be right there with them helping them accomplish their goals. I’ll always be in their corner, they know that.”
Eppert believes strongly in the visualization and mental process as much as technical skill, something instilled in him during his time at Purdue under Head Coach Scott Hinkel.
“I always told my guys that the mind is the strongest weapon. It needs to be the strongest muscle in the body. You can be as physically in shape as you want, but you’ll never accomplish what you want unless your mind is in shape to do it,” Coach Hinkel said. “Camden has always been the guy that’s done everything right, even after battling a devastating hip injury.”
Apparently Camden continues to do everything right. He lives and breathes the wrestling lifestyle. From eating and training habits, to inside the practice room, he does everything the guys do.
“If Coach Davis says that we’re running to Picnic Point today, I run out there right alongside them, or I do it the morning before,” Eppert said.
It seems as if his willingness to compete and train right along with them is something the Badger wrestlers appreciate and enjoy too.
“He constantly pushes us to work harder. I think it is something that is typical of most college coaches, but Camden takes it a step further by going through the work with us. It’s very motivating to see your coach right next to you pushing himself just as hard as you do,” Redshirt Junior Gabriel Grahek said.
Anyone that has worked with Camden has pointed out his love of the sport. According to Eppert himself, his love of wrestling runs deep.
“It’s the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. It always has been since I started. It’s the first thing I think about in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I close my eyes at night,” he said.
Coach Barry Davis sees his passion inside the room.
“He’s a great fit for our guys. His love of wrestling and work ethic is something we like to have in the room,” Davis said.
Camden not only hopes to leave his mark in the Badger practice room, he hopes to extend it to a career. He has a desire to learn so he’s spent days picking the brains of the top coaches in the nation.
“I just want to pick their brains. Tell me what they know, and continue to learn every day. In fact, I’m having lunch with [Head Badger Hockey Coach] Tony Granato today. He’s such a trademark name and phenomenal coach, I want to know what he knows.”
‘Cam’ also hopes to show his guys that he will fight for them. In times of adversity he will be in their corner.
“You know when [Iowa Coach Terry] Brands sits there and yells from the corner? I’ll yell back. I’m not afraid to go toe to toe [with him]. Not for my guys.”
Eppert is excited for the season to officially begin. With a new Volunteer Assistant Coach and a new season to look forward to, the Badgers are bound to have their best season yet.
With Camden joining the staff, who knows what is possible? Fans will get their first glimpse of Eppert in the corner, as competition officially begins this weekend at the Stevens Point Open Saturday, November 5, starting at 9am. Be sure to look for Isaac Jordan and Connor Medbury at the NWCA All-Star Classic this Saturday as well.