From the Coach
“Wrestling has an outstanding legacy at VMI from its popularity as a spectator sport with the Corps, its rosters full of individual and team Southern Conference Champions and NCAA All-Americans to its wrestlers serving as leaders in regimental, class and Honor Court positions within the Corps. It never ceases to amaze me how incomparably devoted VMI graduates are to their institution.
Your generous support of our proud, tradition-rich program has enabled us to attract, recruit and develop young warriors who have worn the red, yellow and white proudly!
We appreciate the faith that you, the VMI Keydet Club, Donny White and General Peay have so magnanimously placed in the wrestling program at VMI.”
Rocky Trudgeon, Head Wrestling Coach
2009 National Wrestling Hall of Fame- Virginia Chapter Inductee
Since taking the reins of the Keydet wrestling program in 1985, head coach John Trudgeon has progressively raised the benchmarks of success surrounding VMI wrestling. Southern Conference Championships, NCAA qualifiers, and All-Americans - all are now standard phrases used in connection with Trudgeon’s wrestlers.
The success achieved in recent years by VMI wrestlers under Trudgeon’s tutelage has been unprecedented. Among the achievements:
* At the completion of the 1995-96 season, VMI received votes in the Amateur Wrestling News Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
* Six Top 12 individual finishers in the NCAA Championships in recent years, including a fourth place finish by 142-pounder Charlie Branch in 1994 and a sixth place finish by heavyweight Leslie Apedoe in 1999 – earning both All-America honors. 157-pounder Adam Britt finished in the top 12 of the 157 lb. weight class in 2002.
* The Keydets won three Southern Conference Co-Champions in a span of five years - 1995, 1997, and 1999. In three of the last eight seasons, the Keydets finished just one match out of first place in the standings.
* A 12-1 dual record over Southern Conference opponents between 1995 and 1997, with the only defeat coming in 1997 at the hands of Appalachian State, 20-19 -- a loss which also ended a 14-match home winning streak. The Keydets returned to their SoCon success in 2002 and 2003, posting 4-1 records and finishing second in both the standings and the tournament in each year.
During his 25 seasons as head coach, Trudgeon has posted a dual record of 149-180-4. He is a four-time SoCon Coach of the Year - 1994, 1995, 1999 and 2000 - and he has three times been named Virginia Coach of the Year, in 1993,1994 and 2004.
Trudgeon was recently recognized by his peers when he was inducted into the Virginia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in April 2009. A 1975 graduate of William & Mary with a B.S. in physical education, Trudgeon was a three-year starter for the Tribe and qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament his senior season.
He came to VMI after serving as head wrestling coach at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, Va., for eight seasons. During his tenure, his squads won district titles in 1982 and 1983, and placed third in the Virginia AAA tournament in 1982. He was the Peninsula District Coach of the Year in 1982, and coached six AAA state champions. Trudgeon worked on his masters in education from East Stroudsburg University in 1985. He and his wife, Cathy, who is the staff education coordinator at Stonewall Jackson Hospital, are the parents of Joshua, age 16.