Teague's Team

An inside look at the academic and athletic success of the AU wrestling program.

Teague's Team

Photos Courtesy of AU Athletic Communications, Graphic created by Shannon Scovel 

The AU wrestling team rests on a tradition of academic and athletic excellence, an atmosphere aided by head coach Teague Moore over his past four years at American University. 

In Moore’s first year at AU in 2011-2012, the team finished with a 3.32 team GPA, the third highest GPA in Division I wrestling. The Eagles repeated this academic performance last season, earning third again with an average team GPA of 3.358.

Moore prides himself on the academic success of his team and requires any athlete with less than a 3.25 to attend study hall hours in the library. In the 2011-2012 season, Moore coached five athletes on the NCAA All-Academic team, the highest of any single program in the nation. To earn recognition on the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic team, athletes must accumulate at least a 3.20 GPA, earn NCAA qualification and win at least 60 percent of their individual matches. In 2013-2014, American ranked ninth nationally in team GPA with a cumulative team GPA of 3.21. The team has ranked in the top thirty for the past four years with the program. Overall, the team team has had a top-ten team GPA in eight of the last nine seasons. AU has had five athletes recognized as All-Americans and six athletes named Academic All-Americans in Moore’s tenure at the university. 

“Coach Moore clearly understands that success in the classroom and success on the mat are not mutually exclusive, but rather, complementary of one another,” AU Athletic Director Billy Walker said. “He recruits student-athletes who are the fight ‘fit’ for our program, and then develops them both athletically and academically while they are here.” 

Recruiting athletes who believe in Moore’s system poses a challenge, he said, and AU’s status as a private institution with a high tuition in a non-wrestling crazed region makes the process even more difficult. However, Moore said AU’s culture and emphasis on academics attracts different athletes than traditional state schools, and those who embrace the academic and athletic standards set forth by the program experience more success. 

“You’ve got to understand what the institution is about, and then go out and seek the right guy,” Moore said. “I look for recruits that are going to hold their academic standards at the same level as their wrestling. We want guys who are going to be national champions and All-Americans, we also want to have the highest GPA in college wrestling.” 

Eleven seniors have graduated under Moore’s wrestling program since 2012, and each of them has found continued success in the workforce or on the mat. 

“When they get into the real world, I feel like these guys are going to have a big advantage over their counterparts when they go into a company,” Moore said. ‘I feel like what they’re committing to [the social and academic lifestyle], is going to help them rise above the rest.” 

Keithen Cast, a 2014 graduate and medical student at Oklahoma State University said Moore’s program taught him the value of hard work, self-discipline and time management.

“Wrestling under Teague changed my concept of what ‘working hard’ meant,” Cast said. “Now, when I look at the countless hours of studying and the insane workload of medical school, it doesn’t seem that bad. I’ve been on a much more difficult grind before.” 

"Coach Moore clearly understands that success in the classroom and success on the mat are not mutually exclusive, but rather, complementary of one another." -Dr. Billy Walker

Moore expects his future graduates to have similar success, and six wrestlers on the roster currently take graduate classes, including two transfers, Tyler Scotton and Mitchell Wightman. The graduate students also help the younger members of the roster learn the culture of the program and provide leadership and maturity for the current team, Moore said. 

“When they’re [freshmen] talking about how hard [their] classes are, you’ve got six guys that are doing grad work, so it keeps them in line,” Moore said. “It keeps them honest. And there’s that maturity factor that they can tell the younger guys to focus their time in this class on these things. When other coaches see our profile and see we have this many [six] guys doing grad work, a lot of them are blown away.” 

The 2014-2015 season marks the first time in Moore’s tenure at AU that he has a full roster of his recruits, athletes who have committed to his social and academic system fits into his physically demanding program. However, a roster full of athletes focused on academic success and social discipline has not compromised the expectations for the season. With redshirt senior David Terao and senior John Boyle nationally ranked in their weight classes, Moore anticipates the program will have its best season in his time at AU. 

“From top to bottom I feel like this is the first year we’ve [got a] really strong not only starting lineup, but we have some depth throughout the program now in [the] ten weight classes,” Moore said. “We’ve got guys throughout our lineup that are certainly capable of getting to the national championships and capable of being All-Americans.

vsalandro@theeagleonline.com

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