Coach John Azevedo reveals his passion
John Azevedo, recently hired wrestling coach, carries with him several accomplishments in wrestling, such as becoming a national champion, making an Olympic team, and coaching at colleges in several different states. Yet, for many years, wrestling wasn’t in the picture.
Coach Azevedo grew up in Modesto, California. His passion for wrestling eventually developed as a fifth grader watching his older brother wrestle in high school. After he became involved, he was determined to work his way up to state and national championships; most of the goals he had set were centered solely around wrestling.
“Beginning of high school I’d already set goals. I wanted to go to college and wrestle, be a national champ, try and go on to be an Olympic champ. First, obviously in high school, I wanted to win the state championship. I had big goals for wrestling- not for school- but for wrestling,” Azevedo said.
He did work his way up to be a national champion in the year of 1980, even making the Olympic wrestling team, but eventually he settled with spending the majority of the time coaching.
“I loved the sport. I was passionate about it and did well in it, so I wanted to work with kids and help them–inspire them to be the best they could be and help them become State champs or whatever it was their goals were,” he said.
Cameron Gonzalez, who first began wrestling in sixth grade, believes that his coach is making a difference in helping him reach his goals.
“My coach is the coolest coach ever. He sees that I want to get better, so he helps me to improve,” Gonzalez said.
Luis Villalobos confirmed, “Our coach is the coolest guy ever. Coach Jon is so mellow and humble; you can ask him anything about a move and he’ll show you, even if it’s the fiftieth time. He’s supportive of my goals by holding practice five to six times a week, and that’s how I get better.”
As a Christian, his faith and desire to serve God motivated him to work hard– which got him where he is today.
“Good values. My faith helped give me that. Just being honest. Morals. Having good morals: not lying, not cheating, working hard, giving my best. Integrity. Those are the kids I’ve seen do best. They just have strong integrity, character, they work hard. Nobody’s perfect, obviously, but they’re just honest, sincere people. They care about people. I see that with other people. For me it’s just being a caring, hard working, honest person. I think it’s important. That doesn’t always mean you’re going to make a ton of money, it just helps you not have regrets,” Azevedo said.
He enjoys coaching high schoolers and teaching them to be content with the ups and downs of winning and losing, to keep improving, and not give up.
In the end, his ultimate goal, he said, is “to relay God’s love to the kids by being an example of it.”