Addix Coaches Spotlight - Kevin Emily

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Meet Coach Kevin Emily

We’re starting a new series of blogs at Addix highlighting coaches around the country and their impact on kids, athletics, and education. This week, we’re featuring Midland Valley High School Wrestling Coach and Special Education/Read 180 Teacher Kevin Emily.

Coach Emily is a 16-year head coach and teacher who has worked at Red Bank High School (TN), White Knoll HS (Lexington), North Charleston HS (SC), Waterloo West HS (IA), and now Midland Valley HS (SC) . Coach Emily has been at a driving force behind the rise of the Midland Valley wrestling program, which had their first year of competition in 2016-2017. Starting a program from scratch can certainly be a challenge but under the guidance of Coach Emily, the team had made an appearance in the South Carolina state duals, defeated the #10 team in the state, and had a state placer.

Coach Emily has also authored two books on wrestling called Pathfinder and Pathfinder Vol. 2 written in 2017 and early in 2018. These books tell the stories of some the greatest African-American wrestlers in history. “I got to meet and talk to some of the most interesting wrestlers in the entire world,” said Emily, who also teaches special education and Read 180. “There have only been four African-American wrestlers to make the Olympic finals. Three of them won it, and the fourth got second; and I got to speak to all of them,” Coach told the Associated Press.

Learn a little more about Coach Emily by reading our Q&A below.

  Simon Roberts, the first African-American to win a state title in the state of Iowa and also the first African American to win an NCAA title. He wrestled for the University of Iowa

Simon Roberts, the first African-American to win a state title in the state of Iowa and also the first African American to win an NCAA title. He wrestled for the University of Iowa

Meet Coach Emily

1 Tell me a little bit about your books you have written. What are they about, when did you write them, where can somebody get them? Pathfinder Vol. 1 and 2 are about the journey of the African-American wrestlers. They chronicle some of the greatest wrestlers of all time and they discuss not only their successes; it gives actual accounts from the wresters themselves about the uphill battles they had to face to get to the height of their profession. They can be purchased at optionalstart.org

2. Who was your favorite athlete growing up and why? My favorite athlete is Mike Tyson. The reason he's my favorite athlete is because of his tenacity and his ability to dominate grown men at such a young age. Winning the heavyweight title as a 19 year was very impressive. I don't focus on the negativity of a person. I do my best to focus on the accomplishments. There were a lot of circumstances that were involved with Tyson being lead astray. I don't make excuses for that, what I admire is his athletic ability, training, and superior dominance in the ring.

3. What is the most rewarding part of the work you do both on the mat and in the classroom? The most rewarding part of my job is seeing an individual improve their reading scores as well as watching them tackle difficult tasks and not give up. On the mat I take pride in watching my guys give it all they have. I particularly like it when I see a wrestler execute moves that they have been working on at practice. At the end of the day I don't measure success in wins and losses; I measure success by the effort that was given.  

4. Tell me a little bit about the Midland Valley community.  What are some of your favorite memories there? Midland Valley is a very special place. We have a situation here where the kids have never wrestled a day in their lives until 3 years ago. I have a group of young men and women who work extremely hard to be the best they can be. My favorite memories thus far are coming into the state duals last season as an unranked team and defeating the #10 team in the state in the first round AND also having the very first state placer winner from Aiken County when 2nd year wrestler Raekwon Jackson defeated a state runner-up in the blood round to punch his ticket to the medal round where he placed 4th.

5. What is your coaching philosophy? My coaching philosophy is to always give my wrestlers the best from within me. At the end of the day I want them to be productive citizens in life. If I can instill that in them then I have done my job.

6. How do you measure success in your program? I tend to measure success in my program by growth in our mat IQ, and the lessons we have learned along the way. I see them mature as the season goes on then I know it was a success.

7. What is some advice you would have for other wrestling coaches? Continue to increase your wrestling knowledge by watching videos, watching the championship matches at tournaments even if your kid is not in the finals, and encourage your kids to be a student of the sport. Don't be afraid to put your guys up against the best of the best. They will not know how good they really are or what they can accomplish unless they are given a chance.

First Photo - Coach Emily while coaching at Waterloo, Second Photo - Back of Midland Valley’s Addix quarter zips from last season with a little inspiration on them!


Justin Scott