Truman State University will be losing its longest tenured coach, David Schutter, following the elimination of the Truman wrestling program after this semester.
The wrestling program is being cut before the upcoming season because of the University’s budget constraints. Originally, the program was set to be cut prior to the 2018 season. After coming to an agreement with University President Sue Thomas and Athletic Director Jerry Wollmering, the wrestling team was able to fundraise their way to one more year of competition.
Prior to the 2018-2019 season, the wrestling program successfully completed the first part of a two-part agreement with Truman. This agreement stated the program must independently raise $75,000 in order to compete in the 2018-2019 season.
The second part of the agreement stated the program must independently raise enough money to create and endow a fund large enough to support the program for the indefinite future with only the interest gained from the fund. The University set the deadline for this fund to be raised in full by March 10, 2019. This gave the team just 296 days to raise a fund large enough to generate thousands of dollars in interest to support their program. After the team was unable to meet these standards, the Truman wrestling program has come to an end.
Now, as the 2019 spring semester ends, the wrestling program will go with it. The mats have been rolled up and the office is cleared out. In addition to the loss of the wrestling program, Truman will be now be departing with coach David Schutter.
Schutter has been the leader of the Bulldog wrestling program for a staggering 29 years. After serving four years in the U.S. Army and finishing as a finalist in the 1988 Olympic Wrestling Trials, Schutter joined the Bulldogs in 1990.
Since then, Schutter has undoubtedly amassed the best coaching resume in the wrestling program’s long history. Schutter helped the ’Dogs win six Academic National Championships in his tenure, including four straight from 2007-2010. He led the team to their only undefeated season in 1993, going 11-0-1. He holds the record among Truman wrestling coaches with 132 dual wins, and he coached Truman’s first National Champion wrestler since 1968, Merrick Meyer in 2004, ending a 36-year drought.
In 2008, Schutter was presented with the Bob Bubb Coaching excellence award. This award is presented annually to a single coach at the Div. II level who epitomizes the qualities of a role model and mentor for student athletes. Over his long career Schutter said he has found pride in being a mentor first and a coach second, striving to transform the young men who step into his program into leaders.
Senior team captain and 2018 national tournament qualifier Sam Reeves can attest to this, as he has spent the last four years learning from coach Schutter and believes he is a better man because of it.
“It was devastating to hear that our AD decided to cut our wrestling program,” said Reeves. “This was life changing for not only us student-athletes currently on the roster, but the Bulldogs to come in the future. For many this was the end, and the easiest thing would’ve been to give up. Instead we thrived in adversity and did the best with what we had. I look at coach Schutter and he is a man I aspire to be like. He has helped shape me to the man I am today, and has always been there both on and off the mat.”
Schutter has always stressed the importance of academics to his athletes. This is just a small part of his efforts to ensure his wrestlers are just as successful in life as they are on the mat. This practice came full circle over the summer when the program was asked to raise $75,000 in just 146 days. Many of the wrestling alumni that learned so much from Schutter in their time at Truman returned the favor by donating to make his final season as a Bulldog possible.
“Although we lost the war with saving our program. He has taught me that life is not always about winning,” said Reeves.
Schutter had no comments on his time at Truman, the end of his career here or what he plans to do moving forward.