MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Tim Flynn’s credentials in every aspect of collegiate wrestling are impeccable. That is why he was hired in April of 2017 to lead the Mountaineer wrestling program.
As a collegiate wrestler at Penn State, Flynn posted a record of 105-32-2. In 21 seasons as Edinboro’s head coach, Flynn compiled a dual meet record of 223-95-5.
In two seasons as West Virginia’s head coach, the Mountaineers are 8-26 with consecutive four-win seasons.
“I probably underestimated how hard it would be to get a winning culture in place,” Flynn said. “And I think we have it now. Even though we didn’t have a great year in wins and losses, there’s a really good feeling in the pavilion. This program is going places.”
Certainly, Flynn’s first two seasons in Morgantown have produced individual success stories. In 2019, five Mountaineers qualified for the NCAA Championships. This season, Coal City native and Independence High School graduate Noah Adams was undefeated at 197 pounds.
“I’m a competitor and I want to win. As much as I want to produce great young men and have people get jobs and graduate, I came to West Virginia because I want to win and I want to win at a high level. So it was really hard.”
Flynn is confident improvements in recruiting and culture will start to show quickly. Eleven of West Virginia’s twelve starters are expected to return in 2020-2021.
“It was a long year. We had a lot of young guys in the lineup. We had a couple pretty solid dual meet wins. But with our young team, we are building for the future.”
Perfect season for Noah Adams
It is understandable if Noah Adams thinks about what could have been. After posting a 19-15 record as a redshirt freshman, Adams went undefeated as a sophomore at 197 pounds, winning all 32 matches. 13 of his wins came by pin, technical fall or major decision. He became the second Mountaineer to claim a Big 12 tournament title.
Flynn says subtle improvements in several areas helped Adams become one of the most improved wrestlers in the country.
“It isn’t one thing. He got a little bit better in his conditioning, in his strength, on top. He got better on his speed. It was a little bit in all of these areas that made this big, giant step.”
Adams was seeded second in the NCAA Championships, which were eventually canceled by the pandemic.
“We were pretty confident most of the year that he could compete for a national championship, based on how he was wrestling against big time guys and how he was performing at big time tournaments.
“He would have done well.”
Adams still has two more years to compete in a West Virginia singlet but Flynn says his contributions to this point can’t be overstated.
“If Noah Adams doesn’t win another wrestling match, he has already kick started our program with the season he had. Recruits look and say that I can win at a high level there. And that wasn’t maybe happening before.”
Caleb Rea making strides
Weir High School graduate Caleb Rea posted a second consecutive winning season at 141 pounds. Rea went 17-15 as a sophomore with a win over Oklahoma’s Dom Demas, who went 26-4 this year and was seeded fifth in the NCAA Tournament.
“We saw a lot of improvement from Caleb. First of all, he had one really fantastic win when he pinned a returning All-American when we wrestled Oklahoma.
“The biggest improvement I saw is his weight management. In the first year, his weight was going way up and way down. He really kind of kept it at a steady level and it showed in his performance. He had a lot more consistency this year.”