UJ hires former atomweight champion Amy Golding as new wrestling head coach
The job serves as Golding's first collegiate coaching experience.
JAMESTOWN — After hiring former Division I head coach Jim Zalesky to lead the men’s wrestling team, University of Jamestown athletic director Austin Hieb had a lot of pressure to hire a good leader for the women’s team. Hieb hired Amy Golding, a hall of famer, to lead the women’s program.
“She had a very very decorated career herself but she’s also spent the last decade coaching and coaching at the junior level, men and women," Hieb said. "So, she’s done a lot of work with girls similar to the age that she’s gonna have now. She’s also worked with girls that are beginners and very advanced athletes, so she has the full spectrum of skills to coach at every level.”
Since Hieb took over the athletic director position on March 28, Golding is his first-ever hire, which he said added pressure to hire the right person for the job.
“You want to get them all right but you really want to get the first one right and I feel like we did that,” Hieb said. “The most important part is trying to do right by the student-athletes. You want to make sure that you do right by the women that are going to be wrestling on our team for the coming years and that’s where the pressure comes from. The pressure comes from making sure that you provide them with a good experience while they’re here and having a good coach is pivotal when it comes to having a good experience.”
Golding is the fourth head coach in program history after Cisco Cole, Tony Deanda and Shauna Kemp. Golding beat out an estimated seven candidates for the position.
“I was informed about it from my previous college wrestling coach and I wanted to do it because I was very interested in the position,” Golding said. “I learned a lot about the community and the university and North Dakota as a state. It was really exciting for me coming from New York.”
In 2014, Golding was inducted into the New York Section 2 Wrestling Hall of Fame after a high school career at Duanesburg High School where she won back-to-back state titles in her sophomore and junior years as well as winning 116 matches over her four years, including twice being named an ASICS Girls All-American.
Golding moved onto the collegiate ranks where she wrestled at Northern Michigan, Missouri Baptist and the State University of New York at Brockport, winning a bronze medal at the 2010 Junior World Championships and winning gold in the 2009 United States Girls Wrestling National Tournament. In 2019, Golding fought on the regional mixed martial arts promotion Cage Wars and won the atomweight (120 lbs) belt.
Golding said she decided to get into coaching because of her desire to coach her 11-year-old daughter's, Kaydence, burgeoning wrestling career. She said it became hard to continue to compete and put the time and effort into her MMA career when opponents continued to pull out of fights.
Golding wrestled under multiple successful coaches during her career, including National Wrestling Hall-of-Famers Joe Demeo and Joe Bena and five-time national championship-winning head coach Don Murray. Golding said she learned a lot about the sport and coaching off the mat from the three men.
“I have so many great memories with those coaches,” Golding said. “The ability to be patient with your athletes, the ability to talk to your athletes, the importance of teaching your athletes family and school and respect and things like that. Those are things that they taught without really saying it. I think I’ve learned in the coaching aspect as well also the ability to inspire others. They were very good about that.”
During her time in the sport, Golding has gone from wrestling boys in high school and in college to now being the head coach of a women’s wrestling team.
“When I wrestled at Duanesburg, we couldn’t even comprehend women having separate teams in high school,” Golding said. “But New York’s been pushing, all the other states have been pushing, I think there are something like 37 out of 50 states that have separated and approved women’s wrestling to have their own team. It’s incredible, it’s the most growing sport in the country and it’s exciting. I think it’s because people are starting to pay attention to the girls and just see that they are not in it for any other reason than getting better.”