ASHLAND, Ore. — Just three years ago, Brock Gutches thought his wrestling career was over. Unsatisfied with the daily grind of NCAA wrestling, Gutches left Boise and returned home. SOU coach Mike Ritchey was happy to bring him on board.
“He was excited about it,” said Ritchey. “He felt like it would be a nice balance for him where he could enjoy the sport of wrestling, but still have a life.”
“He’s not trying to beat me down, and I’m not a piece of meat to him,” said Gutches. “I’m a human being, and it kind of seems like in the DI level, you’re a bit more replaceable, and in this program, it’s not that way. I love everything about wrestling, but wrestling’s their lives, and I don’t want wrestling to be my life.”
Ritchey eased Gutches’s schedule and offered him an opportunity to take the intensity down a notch, something Brock isn’t accustomed to.
“I just don’t think Brock has to be pushed that hard to be at that level because I think Brock was pushed that hard younger,” said Kent Gutches, Brock’s father.
His dad would know since he was the one pushing him.
“We wrestled a lot, and hard,” said Kent. “You know, Brock did so much of that that a lot of that carries over and he doesn’t need to do that.”
The proof is in the results. Brock is not only a two-time NAIA National Champion, but he also beats NCAA Division I wrestlers on a regular basis.
“They don’t want to get beat by a guy who isn’t working as hard as them or going through the grind that they’re going through so, yeah, in a way it’s nice, but I like to win everywhere I go,” said Brock. “So me beating a D-I guy versus a junior college guy or a NAIA guy, it makes no difference to me. I come to beat everybody.”
Since joining the Raiders’ wrestling team, Brock has a new apprecation for the sport.
“For a long time I didn’t really wrestle for myself or wrestle because I loved the sport,” said Brock. “I wrestled for some other reasons. Now I really get to wrestle for myself, and I really enjoy that.”
Kent was initially disappointed when Brock left Boise State, but after seeing the effect of the transition, he appreciates Brock’s decision.
“All those years, to see it kind of fade away was disappointing, but I knew Brock needed to come home,” said Kent.