New wrestling coach brings diverse background

Jacob Brase | Staff Writer

Over 12 years ago, Matt Mcintire was one ‘yes’ away from going to Hollywood.

Mcintire, who was recently hired to be Mason’s wrestling coach, has been a lifelong singer and wrestler. Mcintire started singing at a very young age, acting in numerous plays such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. On top of Mcintire’s theatre singing, he also was a high school wrestler, winning the National Championship for his weight class, and finishing with an impressive 165-6 record.

Mcintire said he enjoyed participating in both of these activities during his four years in high school.

“I would leave wrestling practice to go to theater rehearsal,” Mcintire said. “I enjoyed being on the stage and being on the mat; I never felt like I was out of place. For me, competing in front of an entire stadium for the state (wrestling) finals is no different than performing in front of a full house for a big show.”

After graduating from Lakota West, Mcintire wrestled collegiately at Indiana University, where he also completed a degree in voice performance.

In 2004, ‘American Idol’ announced they were holding tryouts in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a junior in college, Mcintire decided to audition for the competition.

“In Cleveland, my first audition, I got cut in 15 seconds after waiting for 2 days,” Mcintire said. “It was disheartening at first, but then, I decided to keep practicing. I knew I could do better.”

Mcintire tried out again the next year, and ended up being one of the very few people picked to sing in front of the judges.

“There was only about 200 people left out of 25,000 for the final audition,” Mcintire said. “When I walked in to perform, it was super bright; I couldn’t even see the judges. Paula Abdul liked me; she said yes, but the other three judges said no, so I was one vote away from making it. I was so close. I was right there.”

While Mcintire was disappointed he didn’t win, he was grateful for the many lessons ‘American Idol’ taught him.

“I had to be mentally tough and push through when things weren’t fun,” Mcintire said. “Those are all things that you have to do when you’re an athlete as well, and I want to instill those values into my wrestlers here at Mason.”

Mcintire said his experience singing and wrestling showed him how important it is to be well rounded.

“I don’t want kids to feel like they can’t do things that are different from what they already do,” Mcintire said. “I would love my players to get involved in multiple activities, it helps you as a person and as an athlete.”

jbrase.chronicle@gmail.com