Big Ten

Jack Medley Thriving In New Role With Michigan Wrestling

Jack Medley Thriving In New Role With Michigan Wrestling

Two-time NCAA qualifier Jack Medley has found a new role at Michigan, serving as the Wolverines' director of wrestling operations.

Dec 20, 2023 by Mark Spezia
Jack Medley Thriving In New Role With Michigan Wrestling

On March 20, four days after concluding his college career with a round of 16 finish at the NCAA Championships, Michigan's Jack Medley took to Instagram to express profound gratitude for his time in Ann Arbor. 

"These past 6 years being able to represent the block M has been one of the greatest honors of my life," he wrote. "I've made friendships that will last a lifetime and I am ever grateful for my teammates and coaches, love you guys. I wanted to be a great example of just how far you can go with hard work, consistency, and persistence. I look forward to giving back to this sport that has given me so much. New Chapter."

At the time, Medley had no idea what form the new chapter would take or where it would take him. 

Turns out, all the two-time NCAA qualifier had to do was stay put. 

On Sept. 5, Medley was named the program's Director of Wrestling Operations, a role entailing many duties. 

Among them are assisting head coach Sean Bormet and his staff in the management of day-to-day operations, assisting with administrative duties and organization of recruiting activities, coordinating team travel logistics and developing and executing plans for increased ticket sales, year-round community outreach and grass-roots marketing.

Unsurprisingly, he has transitioned smoothly to serving the program in a new capacity. After all, juggling multiple responsibilities has never been an issue for the highly organized and driven Medley, who earned a Master's in business management and a Bachelor's in sports management during his time in the classroom.

"I've been fortunate to fill this new position that was created to provide all kinds of support for the program that I really love," said Medley, who is also coaching at Dark Horse Wrestling, a nearby youth club. "It means a lot to me that our coaches have so much faith in me and afforded me this outstanding way to remain here and give back to an institution which gave so much to me. Once you get here, Michigan is a hard place to leave."

Still, Medley assumed he would likely have to leave Ann Arbor in order to fulfill his post-graduation goal of joining a college coaching staff. He was busy pursuing opportunities when offered his current job. 

"I learned early on in my college career that I wanted to coach, so I had to decide to either keep trying to land an actual coaching position or stay here and really learn from coach Bormet and our three other amazing coaches (Kevin Jackson, Josh Churella and Dave Bolyard) about what goes into building a successful program," Medley said. "I decided to stick around and I'm very happy I did."

Bormet is also happy Medley did. 

Soon after the official announcement, he posted a photo on his X (formerly Twitter) account of the two of them standing in his office with Bormet holding up Medley's arm in a victory stance. 

"Michigan Wins," he wrote. "Jack Medley is the type of individual you want around your program. He is going to be outstanding."

Medley is loving being involved in so many different aspects of that program.

"I kind of have my hand in a lot of different places which has been a really good thing," he said. "I'm helping with the everyday things that must be done for our program and our facility. I'm marketing our summer camps as well as looking was to increase season and dual-match ticket sales along with being involved in travel and logistics for both home and away matches."

But wait, there will be more, Bormet recently told Medley. 

"I'll be learning about budgeting soon, sitting in on those meetings and seeing how those decisions are made," Medley said. "Obviously, that's going provide more very valuable insight. I've already learned there are just so many small things and little details that go into running a major Division 1 program like ours."

There is one detail Medley loves being involved in above all others -- recruiting. Among other things, he is contacting perspective recruits, helping plan their campus visits and following up with them afterward.

"As an aspiring coach, actually being able to help in our recruiting efforts has easily been the most fun part for me," he said. "One of the things I've been looking forward to in coaching is building relationships with wrestlers and helping them improve. Getting to do some of that now and showing perspective recruits what it means to be a part of our program has been very cool." 

Medley's interest in coaching was sparked not only by wrestling under the direction of Bormet and his staff, but through positions he held while pursuing his degrees. Medley worked part-time in ground operations for the athletic department in 2019 before serving a four-month coaching internship in 2021.

"The internship was very cool and eye-opening as far as getting a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes aspects of coaching," he said. "It was a win-win because it's something I earned degree credits for and helped prepare me for some of the things I'm doing now."

In the midst of it all, Medley has still found a way to begin coaching with Dark Horse Wrestling which is based in Saline, roughly 10 miles from Medley's office. The club was founded by former Central Missouri State wrestler Rocky Palazzolo. The coaching staff also includes Bolyard, an All-American at Central Michigan and former Eastern Michigan wrestler Chad Roush. 

Michigan team members and wrestlers from the Cliff Keen Club's stable of World and Olympic medalists occasionally drop in as guest instructors. 

"Finishing my day job and then heading down to help run practices at Dark Horse has been really good for me," Medley said. "They have an outstanding facility and all the kids who wrestle there continue to improve and grow. It's been a really fun experience working with them."

Reflecting on his time competing for the Maize and Blue, Medley is grateful to have capped it by wrestling in the NCAA Championships for the first time after several frustrating obstacles prevented him doing so in previous seasons.

The 125-pounder qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships during his first season as a starter after going 19-12 and finishing fourth at the Big Ten Tournament. However, the growing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event.

The next season, freshman Dylan Ragusin became the Wolverines’ starter at 125, bumping Medley to 133, but the higher weight class did not suit him as well. Medley went 7-6, falling well short of an NCAA berth.

Medley was back starting at 125 to begin the next season (2021-22) after Ragusin moved to 133, but after it was announced Nick Suriano was transferring to Michigan, Medley’s days in the starting lineup were numbered. Suriano took over at 125 and finished his career with a second NCAA title.

Medley, a four-time state medalist at New Baltimore (Michigan) Anchor Bay, finished with a 74-43 collegiate record, including 32 bonus-points wins. His signature victories included decisions over two-time All-American Eric Barnett (Wisconsin) and All-Americans Brandon Kaylor (Oregon State) and Michael DeAugustino (Northwestern), who has since transferred to Michigan.

Medley also decisioned three-time NCAA qualifier Jakob Camacho (North Carolina State), currently ranked #2 at 125 pounds.

Along the way, he earned Michigan team honors like the Steve Fraser Award for mental toughness and Pete Cornell Award for leadership.

"I'm very proud of my career and feel like I put everything I had into it and got the most out of it," Medley said. "Other than trying to win as many matches as possible, I also took pride in wearing the block M, representing our program well and conducting myself with integrity every time I stepped on the mat. I developed invaluable relationships and have been prepared for any challenges in life."

Welcoming Austin Gomez

Michigan officially welcomed three-time NCAA qualifier and 2022 All-American Austin Gomez to the fold with a release on the program’s website Dec. 14, three days after his request for a medical hardship waiver was granted by the NCAA.

Gomez is immediately eligible to compete for the Wolverines, who return to action with a dual at South Dakota State on Jan. 4.

The release included coach Sean Bormet’s first public comments regarding the addition of Gomez which gives Michigan an All-American at seven of 10 weight classes. 

"Austin is one of the most electrifying wrestlers in the country," Bormet said. "He is a special talent, has an exceptional work ethic and a competitive fire, and he brings a lot of excitement to the mat. I've known Austin since he was a young kid in my Overtime programs, and obviously (assistant coach) Kevin [Jackson] has a great relationship with him as well, so we really know we're getting a high-character individual and a great competitor. We are fired up to coach him."

Bormet founded Overtime School of Wrestling in Naperville, Illinois in 2001 and Gomez, who grew up in nearby Carol Stream, wrestled there as a youth.

Jackson’s relationship with Gomez dates back at least nine years when he began recruiting the four-time Fargo champion in earnest while Iowa State’s head coach. Gomez committed to the Cyclones in September of 2015, soon after beginning his junior year at Glenbard North High School. 

After redshirting in 2017-18, Gomez reached the round of 12 at the 2019 NCAA Championships before missing all of the next two seasons with injuries.

He then transferred to Wisconsin and enjoyed his most successful collegiate season thus far in 2021-22, winning the Big Ten 149-pound title and placing fourth at the NCAA Championships. Gomez reached the round of 16 last season and announced he was done with college wrestling only to have a change of heart this fall. 

Gomez, who owns a 59-17 career, has been in Ann Arbor since June when he joined the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club. He has been competing internationally for Mexico, including at this year’s World Championships. Recently, Gomez won the 70-kilogram freestyle title at a Grand Prix event in Mexico City. 

He should take over at 149 pounds for the Wolverines. True freshman Dylan Gilcher, whom the coaches may now opt to redshirt, has been holding down that spot since the start of the season, going 4-5.