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Kevin Dresser Names His Assistants: Mike Zadick, Derek St. John, & Brent Metcalf

There have been well sourced rumors for a while but FloWrestling reported today that Kevin Dresser has filled out his staff his inaugural season. Mike Zadick will fill the head assistant role. Derek St. John will be 2nd assistant. And Brent Metcalf will be the volunteer assistant coach.

Get to know Mike Zadick

Mike Zadick has the best beard in college wrestling.

Why Does His Beard Matter?


Apart From His Beard

Zadick wrestled at 149 pounds for Iowa from 1999-2002. As a freshman he sat behind national champ TJ Williams. He took over the varsity spot as a sophomore and ended up finishing 7-3-7 at NCAAs to end his career as a 3x All American. Post college he had a successful freestyle wrestling career, with a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships.

As a coach Zadick spent ten years in various roles at Iowa before joining Dresser and the Virginia Tech staff in 2015. Coaching runs in Zadick’s family and Mike’s brother Bill Zadick is the USA Wrestling Freestyle coach, which should be a bonus for recruiting.

Get to know Derek St. John

Derek St. John does not have a beard

Does His Lack of Beard Matter?

That’s up to you to decide.

Apart From His Lack Of A Beard

Derek St. John also wrestled for Iowa. He was a four time All American at 157 pounds for the Hawkeyes, finishing 4-2-1-5 in his four years on the mat in college. St. John has dabbled in freestyle, qualifying for and wrestling in the 2015 World Team Trials, but has mostly focused on coaching since his college career finished.

As a coach St. John spent a year under Kish at North Dakota State following his graduation from Iowa before moving out to Blacksburg in 2015 to join Kevin Dresser’s staff.

Get to Know Brent Metcalf

Brent Metcalf usually has a goatee. Which is kind of a beard if you squint.

Wrestling - LOCOG Test Event for London 2012 Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Does That Mean He’s The Evil Twin?

Not that we know of.

Apart From His Halfhearted Commitment To Facial Hair

Metcalf initially went to Virginia Tech out of high school and was one of the wrestlers who followed Brands to Iowa after his redshirt season. Due to the transfer he lost a season of eligibility. He made it to the NCAA finals all three years he was eligible and walked away with a championship twice. Since graduation Metcalf has been active on the international scene and has won a variety of medals at prestigious events over the years. But World Championships or Olympic hardware always eluded him. Last fall he retired from active competition to take on a Freestyle Development Coach role with USA Wrestling as well as serving as an assistant for a high school team in Cedar Rapids. Metcalf hasn’t been on a college staff before but he’s been around college and senior level programs ever since graduation so it shouldn’t be too tough of an adjustment for him to coach in a college room.

Quick Thoughts On The Hires

Dresser stuck with familiar faces here for two of his three hires. His longtime head assistant Tony Robbie was promoted to head coach at Virginia Tech. But Dresser brought the rest of his staff with him back to Iowa. Given the success VT has had the past two years I’m excited to see what they can do in a room that already has a lot of talent in it. However, there is one thing that sticks out about this staff. Take a look at the weights these guys competed at

  • Kevin Dresser: 142 pounds
  • Mike Zadick: 149 pounds
  • Brent Metcalf: 149 pounds
  • Derek St. John: 157 pounds

That’s four for four in the middleweights. Hopefully there’s plans via a grad assistant coach and/or CWC members to fill lightweight and heavyweight coaching roles.

Zadick and Metcalf also go a long ways towards addressing Dresser’s lack of freestyle pedigree. Zadick has a world level medal and family connections with the OTC. Metcalf has been a familiar face on the senior level for as long as current recruits can remember. Short of luring somebody like Varner away from Penn State or Steiber away from Ohio State there weren’t many better hires available in that regard.

Finally, I do have some reservations about Metcalf. In college he was a Brands protege to the bone and the most memorable moment from his college career isn’t something to be proud of. But that said, Brent has supposedly mellowed out as he’s matured and competed around the world so there’s no reason not to give him the benefit of the doubt that he won’t be trying to teach that type of attitude in the ISU program.

Who Is Left For The Staff?

There will be a CWC/RTC coach and an unknown number of elite athletes for the newly formed regional training center. The number and pedigree of those athletes will depend heavily on how much the donors opened up their pocketbooks. We should hear about the RTC coach soon but it might take a while for the full roster of RTC athletes to get fleshed out. It’s worth noting that it is very possible that Metcalf will serve as the RTC coach in addition to his volunteer assistant duties.

What’s Next?

As the final parts of the staff come together we’ll keep you informed. We’ll also continue to watch for any incoming or outgoing transfers from the program.

Let us know your thoughts on these hires below.