2000 Johnny K. Eareckson
Memorial Wrestling Award

The MSWA's Johnny Eareckson Memorial Bull & Oyster Roast was held Sunday, Nov 5, at Michael's Eighth Ave in Glen Burnie. Coach Jones was presented the award for our championship youth league team while Coach G was presented the Johnny Eareckson Award by Joe Palumbo. Below is an excerpt of Coach Gabrielson's prepared speech to the Maryland State Wrestling Association, at the cerimony.

"I want to thank the large number of individuals who gave me their support these many years. I have to admit that although it's the first time in 15 years that I haven't been to the tournament in Millersville this weekend, it's also nice to say that I didn't have to go.

Quite a few people over the years have asked me what I think being a coach means. Coaching to me is much more than simply someone who teaches moves or runs practices. A coach is a motivator, either directly or indirectly by association. A coach is a helper. He helps his team members get to practice, get to tournaments, arranges the means or opportunity to get wrestlers to major events, finds other places to wrestle, writes letters, calls college coaches, mentors both wrestlers and parents, and suggests things that will help develop various aspects of the wrestler's ability. Notice I say suggests. Successful coaches suggest things and then help motivate the wrestler to do the things suggested.

Training kids to wrestle is easy. My hardest job has always been to train the parents. Once the parents get over their personal concepts, ideas and have learned the details of what to look for, the rest isn't really that difficult.

I think coaches who complain about getting beat or parents who complain about why their kids don't win really need to look within as in this sport nearly everyone who works hard enough and with enough dedication can be successful. Harder work results in better success. All I can say is that I was an active year-around coach for nearly 31 years in only one sport. Reaching the highest level takes a complete commitment. I've always felt this was more than just a seasonal commitment on both my part and the athletes. If they put in what it took to be successful and then so did I.

In closing I want to say that although I might not be involved with wrestling to any extent in the future, I'll continue to follow what happens in the sport I love. I also want to take this opportunity to say thanks to my college coach, Dr Warren Boring for helping me become a successful coach myself. Today he also receives an award, his induction into the California chapter of the National Wrestling Hall-of-Fame. Thank you all for this year's Johnny Eareckson Memorial Wrestling Award."