Terry Pack and Cody Pack on Coaching Wrestling for Over 30 Years and Raising a Future Coach
Updated: Oct 23
Terry and Cody Pack have been immersed in the wrestling community most of their lives. Terry was Jeff Saferite’s - host of the Raising Wrestlers Podcast - college coach, and Cody, being Terry’s son, has been involved in wrestling since birth!
There are many impacts that coaching, and wrestling has had on these men, and as they have grown and learned, there are many lessons and moments they remember and note in this podcast.
Terry Pack has coached wrestling for 30 years. He has coached at the youth, high school, and college level and now runs The Legends of Gold in South Dakota. The Legends of Gold is a non-profit National Training Center that focuses on giving everybody an opportunity to be better. It is a holistic program building holistic wrestlers. The idea of The Legends of Gold was spurred by Terry’s desire to give back to the sport after years of everything the sport has given him. They are currently building a new facility that will be able to host senior level national events with their own dorms. There are 8-mat wrestling rooms and it sits on 40 acres for kids to be kids! Bringing in great wrestlers like Kyle Snyder and Jordan Burroughs is only part of what this training center has to offer.
When Cody was just a baby, he was watching Terry wrestle in college and crawling around on the mats during practice. Being raised in the wrestling community, Cody benefited a lot throughout the years from all of the different wrestlers and coaches he was constantly surrounded by. Cody is currently the Assistant Coach at North Dakota State and has built lifelong friendships through the years. The challenge he has as a coach is changing his outlook from a competitive standpoint to a coaching standpoint. His goal as a coach is to break down barriers and help the wrestlers reach the next level.
By being in the mat room and traveling with Terry, Cody was able to constantly develop, and change based on different advice and direction he received. This helped make him a great wrestler and gave him the opportunities for success. The advice that Cody gives to all wrestlers is to try to learn as many outlooks and tactics as possible. If you have the chance to be around different coaches and wrestlers, take their advice and pay full attention to what they have to tell you. If you have a heavily involved parent who is coaching you, or helping coach you, do your best to listen to everything they have to offer because they want what is best for you. A lot of kids don’t have parents who are able to be as involved, so enjoy it! The memories and stories that these experiences allow you are something to be grateful for, and your parents sacrifice a lot for you so be sure to appreciate the ride and take it all in. You only get this chance once and it only lasts for so long.
There was a time in Cody’s wrestling career where it became his sport and not something he did with his dad. About a few years into wrestling he realized that you can’t wrestle for anybody and you have to do it for yourself. This is when he started really owning it as his sport. He knew that you only get what you put into the sport. Terry saw Cody really defining his career during the only match he ever missed… his qualifying match for the NCAA tournament. It was the first time he was on the outside looking in and he saw Cody define that this is what he wanted. During the NCAA tournament he was in the stands and was able to be only dad and comfort his son after the matches.
Throughout the years Terry faced challenges and successes coaching Cody. The biggest lesson he had to learn was how to separate wrestling practice and life. During practice he treated Cody as any other athlete. When they traveled for tournaments, they would go a day early or stay a day later so that they could enjoy it and make it something separate from just coaching. This gave Cody time to hang out with other wrestlers and have fun. When it came time for Cody’s matches, he became coach again.
The important thing to remember being coach and parent is that life outside of the mat is just as significant as what happens on the mat. Terry loved coaching him and building the relationship they have through the years. He always has wanted to see his success and as a parent still got caught up in the emotions of it all. Sometimes the things you want to do aren’t the same as what you do out of emotion. As long as you continue to learn from that and grow, you’ll have less and less emotional decisions and be more and more how you want to be.