Hall Of Fame Wrestler Pushes Team Closer To NCAA Titles

Wade Askew and Wade Askew

By Wade AskewThe Daily Northwestern

With four wrestlers vying for national championships – three of them 184 pounds or heavier – you might think it is hard for Northwestern’s wrestlers to find good competition during workouts. But with former world champion Bill Scherr on staff, NU wrestlers get all they can handle and more.

Scherr was a three-time All-American at Nebraska, earning a national title in 1984 at 190 pounds. A year later, he was crowned world champion, and in 1988 earned a bronze medal in the Olympic games. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998.

Scherr had worked with the NU wrestling program before, but joined officially as a volunteer assistant for the 2006-2007 season.

“When there was the recruiting class where they had Jake Herbert, Mike Tamillow and Dustin Fox coming in, some people around the program asked me to come in and help,” Scherr said.

That trio of highly-touted wrestlers has lived up to lofty expectations so far in large part due to the tutelage of Scherr. Tamillow won an individual championship at the Midlands Championships, held Dec. 29-30, while Fox finished second as a heavyweight. Herbert is currently the top-ranked 184 pounder in the country.

Scherr has been of particular help to Tamillow, describing the junior as coachable and continually driven to improve.

“I’ve learned a lot of my technique from coach Scherr,” Tamillow said. “When I practice with him I just try to figure him out, how I can beat him. He’s a good workout partner and he just has great technique, great position, and having him there on my matside just gives me another reason to win.”

Even Herbert, who has been untouched by his college peers this season, finds a challenge in wrestling Scherr.

“Having him join the staff is awesome, and he’s around my weight so he can beat the crap out of me, so that’s even better,” Herbert said.

However, Scherr insists he is not on staff to help a select few, but instead focuses on the team. While in the past, before he officially joined the staff as an assistant coach, Scherr worked primarily with a small group, now he helps the entire roster.

Boasting unmatched credentials, he is able to relate to the wrestlers better than the average coach. Perhaps most importantly, he has accomplished the ultimate goal of every NU wrestler: NCAA Champion.

“The stuff he does he does for everybody,” Tamillow said. “When he’s in charge of practice, we’re all on the same page, we’re all doing what he’s doing. He’s motivating.”

Scherr means more to the team than just a former champion who can go toe-to-toe with the team’s best, but he is also a teacher. His wrestling knowledge and personal accolades help him gameplan with the wrestlers before matches.

“(He helps me with) everything,” Herbert said. “He works with me on my set-ups, works with me on my conditioning. And it’s not just the physical things; it’s also the mental aspects.

“He’ll come over on Saturdays and we’ll just study film, not just of our matches that we wrestle, but film of international matches – like we watched entire 2005-2006 world championships, the 1996 Olympics, 1998 World team trials – just things like that that we can incorporate into our style.”

Scherr believes that there could be another “Bill Scherr” type wrestler currently on the team. But for now, the wrestlers are focused on only one of Scherr’s many accomplishments.

Scherr knows exactly what that goal is and that he can help.

“When I tell the guys what it takes to be NCAA champion, there’s some credibility there.”

Reach Wade Askew at [email protected]