Ashnault finds way to stay involved
Rutgers assistant wrestling coach John Leonardis asked Billy Ashnault to read off the names.
“Dan Seidenberg? Mickey Simmons? Kenny Theobold?“ Ashnault asked into the telephone, seeing who appeared at the team’s required weight room session. “Nick Visicaro?”
It is one of the many responsibilities Ashnault has taken on as the Scarlet Knights’ director of wrestling operations.
“We needed somebody in that spot that could take a lot off of our plate and allow us to concentrate on wrestling and film and let him focus on paperwork, donors,” said head coach Scott Goodale.
Ashnault’s other responsibilities include assisting the coaching staff with paperwork, contacting other teams and alumni, setting up fundraisers and arranging travel for away matches.
But his role with the team has taken some getting used to, Ashnault said.
It is not a surprise, since Ashnault represented the team in the NCAA Tournament less than a year ago, when he wrestled for Rutgers as a 141-pounder.
After he went 3-2 in the national meet, Goodale offered Ashnault his current position.
Ashnault said he is grateful for the opportunity.
“The experience overall is great, and the potential of the program made me want to be a part of something special and help guys do the things in my past that made me successful,” Ashnault said.
While Ashnault said he would like to get into coaching at some point, it is not his role this season.
Because of NCAA regulations, only four coaches are allowed to work with the wrestlers. So while Goodale mixes it up with redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith, Ashnault is either off to the side or running around the training facility filing paperwork.
“It certainly is hard because he is friends with the guys,” Goodale said.
That does not stop Ashnault from lending the team pointers when it comes to taking advantage of their opportunities.
It comes with the territory.
“I just went through the same stuff these guys are going through on a daily basis,” Ashnault said. “I know the ins and outs of the Rutgers campus, so that helps out too. And I’ve been there, done that. They can never say I didn’t do that when I just did it ten months ago.”
For now, Ashnault remains in an administrative role. Though Goodale said Ashnault has the ability to coach somewhere in the future, he is glad Ashnault has a role with his program.
“I just felt he is the kind of kid we want in the program based on what he did here the previous three years he was here,” Goodale said. “Everything he was trying to do, I just feel he lives the right lifestyle. He is a good person and he trained his butt off.”
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