Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is known for its co-op program, which is ranked among the best, if not the best in the nation, and is also known for its academics. In fact, this year marks the eighth year in a row Drexel has been named a Top 100 University by U.S. News & World Report.
The wrestling program, currently lead by fifth year coach Matt Azevedo, is making some noise as Drexel had its first-ever EIWA champion and sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament this past season. Coach Azevedo wrestled at Arizona State and Iowa State in college and was the 2008 U.S. Open National Champion.
Joining Coach Azevedo is Zack Sheaffer, a former heavy weight All-American at Pittsburgh and assistant coach at Clarion University, and Jimmy Sheptock, a two time All-American and NCAA runner up at Maryland. Rounding out the staff is Joe Stanzione, a former wrestler at Cornell, who helps with nutrition and diets at Drexel in addition to working with the light weights.
(from Jeff High)
Interview with Coach Sheaffer
I had the opportunity to talk to Assistant Coach Zachary Sheaffer about Drexel Wrestling…
What separates Drexel from other wrestling programs?
- Drexel is very different from every other Division I wrestling program in the country. Drexel is extremely academically competitive and we are the only wrestling program in Division I to have a “Cooperative Education program” or Co-op. The “Drexel Co-op” is a unique experience where our student-athletes will work full-time throughout the spring and summer in their field of study. Students receive college credit and get paid full-time for their work. The average salary for a student on Co-op here at Drexel is around $16,000 per Co-op. The Co-op is a great experience and helps our student-athletes build a resume and relationships with employers.
Describe the Drexel Facility…
- We just completed the finishing touches on our new wrestling room and we just built a new locker room last year. There aren’t many programs that can get a new locker room and wrestling room in back to back years! On campus we are lucky, our campus is exploding with new buildings coming up all over the place! In the past four years our campus has completely changed, the new president is really making big changes. It’s an exciting time to be a Dragon!
Describe the wrestling fan base at Drexel…
- Typically we average around 500-600 people per home dual meet. We work hard to put people in the stands. Every year we pick one of our duals to “sell out” our gym. We get a great mix of students, alumni, and parents; it’s a loud and exciting environment.
What sets a recruit apart from the rest of the pack?
- We target recruits who are great wrestlers, but also great students. Getting to know who your recruiting and their work ethic is one of the most important things in recruiting. Showing a strong commitment to academics is usually a good indicator of work ethic.
What should a high school freshman/sophomore do if he wants to wrestle in college? What about Drexel specifically?
- One of the most important things you can do early in high school is get out to national events (i.e. NHSCA Nationals, FLO Nationals, Cadet/Junior Nationals, Freakshow, Super 32, etc.). This increases your visibility to college coaches. Not every high school team gets the opportunity to compete at the big high school tournaments throughout the year so this is a good way to get out there and be seen. Another big area that tends to get overlooked is academics. Staying on top of your schoolwork is almost just as important as wrestling. It doesn’t matter how good of a wrestler you are if you can’t get out there and wrestle because of academics.
Drexel University Promo Video