The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire

SPIRE Institute and Academy, an elite athletic boarding school in Ohio, recently announced Olympic gold medalist and Booker T. Washington High School graduate Kenneth Monday as the coach for their new wrestling program.

Constructed on over 500 acres with 750,000 square feet under roof, SPIRE is among the largest multi-sport, training, education and competition complexes in North America. In addition to the newly added wrestling program, SPIRE currently features basketball, track and field, swimming, esports and, more recently, lacrosse to their core training and developmental sports offerings.

Monday is the athletic academy’s latest addition to the world-renowned coaching teams at SPIRE.

“Kenny Monday is a legend in the world of wrestling,” said Ted Meekma, SPIRE’s co-managing director. “There’s no one better equipped to help us build a world class, training and development wrestling environment at SPIRE.

“I have no doubt that SPIRE’s wrestling academy, as well as the annual calendar of wrestling camps, clinics, club and competitive events that we will operate, will be second-to-none under the expert tutelage of Coach Monday.”

A three-time Olympian, Monday is also a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2018, he was the first African American to be inducted into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Monday grew up wrestling in Tulsa, where he won four state titles at Booker T. Washington and the 1977 Junior National Championships. His record from 7th – 12th grade was an astonishing 140-0-1. As an All-American collegiate wrestler at Oklahoma State, his record was 121-12-2, where he also captured the NCAA title in 1984.

Post-college, Monday won Olympic gold in Seoul in 1988, Olympic silver in Barcelona in 1992 and finished 6th in 1996 in Atlanta. He also won multiple gold and silver medals in World Cup, World Championships and Pan American events. After retiring from competition, Monday became a highly respected wrestling coach. Most recently, he’s served as the head coach of the University of North Carolina Tar Heel Wrestling Club since 2016.

Both his sons, Kennedy and Quincy have had stellar prep and collegiate wrestling careers in Texas and North Carolina. Kennedy won two state titles in Texas and was a three-time NCAA qualifier at UNC. Quincy is a four-time state champion, winning two titles each in Texas and North Carolina. He currently is an All-American wrestler at Princeton University.

Monday is married to Sabrina Goodwin Monday, a national sales director with Mary Kay, and they also have a daughter, Sydnee, who is an associate editor at Penguin Random House.

Monday said he is looking forward to his new position leading the wrestling program at SPIRE. “I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead the new wrestling program at SPIRE,” he said.

“I’ve built my entire wrestling career on the SPIRE principles of strong mind, body and character. I’d like to thank Jonathan Ehrenfeld, Ted Meekma and the entire leadership team at SPIRE for believing in me and the vision of building a world class wrestling program. As the director and head coach of wrestling, I truly believe the possibilities are limitless and I can’t wait to get started.”

Wrestling makes perfect sense for inclusion in SPIRE’s core sport offerings. “Northeast Ohio is one of the true hotbeds of wrestling in the U.S., which makes SPIRE the ideal location to add a comprehensive, year-round wrestling program to our existing complement of core sports,” Meekma said.

While the official launch of SPIRE’s formal Wrestling Academy is in the fall of 2022, dedicated student athlete wrestlers are so excited about Coach Monday’s presence at SPIRE that some look ready to join him in an Academy program at SPIRE for the fall 2021 semester. This will kick off a full calendar of clinic, camp and event activity that will commence in August 2021 and run through August 2022 and beyond, SPIRE officials said.