The St. Paul Central Minutemen wrestling team has not always had success in the win column. Off the mat, head coach Wardell Warren has had successes that have gone well beyond his over 400 career victories. Brought up in the program, Warren wanted to give back to what gave him so much early in his life. He has done so by giving his wrestlers something more valuable than wins on the mat. He has given the hundreds of kids that have come through his program confidence.
Warren was exposed to wrestling almost by accident.
“In 9th grade, I was leaving the school, and I heard noise in the gymnasium. I stopped to look. The junior high was wrestling someone, and I watched it. I went home and I thought ‘I can do that.’ The next day I told the coach that I was going to join. I wrestled at 145 – up a weight – the first week, and I got beat. I thought ‘I am a 138 pounder’ and the next week I beat out the wrestler who had been at 138 and won my next seven matches at 138.”
Although he didn’t know anything about wrestling, Warren liked what he saw that first day.