The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Coaches volunteer to build character and program

Panthers' certified message therapist Martin Steiner.
Panthers’ certified message therapist Martin Steiner.
Associate head coach Walter Ulrich is in his 13th year on the Panthers' staff.
Associate head coach Walter Ulrich is in his 13th year on the Panthers’ staff.
Panthers' assistant coach Lawrence Seanz.
Panthers’ assistant coach Lawrence Seanz.

When the seven coaches of the City College wrestling team stand next to the mats, they each call out directions to the wrestlers. But of those seven coaches, only head coach David Pacheco and assistant coach Lawrence Saenz are paid.

But even Saenz, who receives a stipend of $4,000 for the season, gets so little for his expertise, according to Pacheco, “that he’s basically still volunteering.”

The other five coaches—associate head coach Walter Ulrich and assistants Todd Dilbeck, Matt Sanchez, Martin Steiner and Kevin Tao—are all volunteers.

Pacheco says the volunteer coaches are essential to the wrestling program at City College, and without them, the team wouldn’t have won the state championship in 2013.

“Some of them can only come out twice a week,” said Pacheco, “but having their expertise and their eyes on the guys is so important.”

In addition to their experience coaching the Panthers, some of the coaches also attended City College as wrestlers.

Saenz, who works primarily with the upper weight classes and takes care of team technology, was a part of the state championship winning team at City College in 1996. He was also on the 2013 coaching staff when the Panthers wrestling team won the state championship.
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After City College, Saenz moved on to wrestle for San Francisco State University and is now an IT manager full-time for Mariani Nut Company. According to Saenz, he has worked with the wrestling team for seven years and says he views it as a way of giving back.

“Why do I coach? It’s because I love the sport,” said Saenz, “and there were guys here that did it for me.” According to City College wrestler A.J. Locke, the experience that the coaches have helps the athletes in many different ways.

“Each one of them has a different way of how they do things, and it’s all beneficial,” said Locke. “Every single coach has a different insight on what they like to do, and as a team, we get to pick the knowledge from each one of the coaches and kind of mold our own style of wrestling.”

All the volunteer wrestling coaches work full-time. Dilbeck, who mostly works with the middle and lower weight classes, has a master’s degree in sports psychology, which he utilizes during his full-time job as a sports and exercise consultant.

Dilbeck said he considers the “holistic payoff” of being able to coach the school’s athletes and help guide them on a life path of success to be a suitable alternative for a traditional paycheck.

Ulrich has volunteered for the Panthers wrestling team for 18 years. Besides coaching a team of college-age wrestlers, he is also a sixth grade teacher at Fairbanks Elementary School in the Twin Rivers school district. Ulrich is the main technique and conditioning coach at City College and says he loves the work that he does for the team.

“You get to hang out with college studs and try to show them some technique and get them strong and get them ready for the season,” said Ulrich “And [you are] probably teaching them life lessons in the process. It’s really cool. For two, sometimes three years, you get to help these kids grow to become adults.”

Though they are considered volunteer coaches, all of them are treated equally among each other, according to Pacheco.

“[Last year] I got coach of the year, and my No. 1 assistant [Ulrich], got assistant coach of the year,” said Pacheco. “When we got our rings, all of them say ‘coach of the year,’ because without each other, we’re not as good. So I’d take a million of them [coaches] if they wanted to come out.”

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