Retired Indianapolis wrestler-turned-coach heads to Russia for competition

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FISHERS, Ind. — It’s Hollywood come to life.

A local, former collegiate wrestler-turned-coach came out of retirement at 40-years-old, only to find himself taking on the world at a tournament in Russia.

It sounds like the script for the next Rocky movie, but it’s not fiction. He’s doing it for his students.

In his prime, Nick Hull was ranked number one in the country for his collegiate weight class.

He wrestled for Clarion University and Harper College. Sadly, injuries hampered his career.

“I’ll beat the national champion, never really hit that national championship,” Hull lamented.

“I was ranked #1 in the country, and fractured my collar bone.”

The following year he tore his ACL before the National Championship.

When his body began to fail him, Hull turned to coaching.

He won a National Championship with Harper College as an assistant coach.

“I don’t know if I’m trying to get over that,” Hull said regarding never winning an individual National Championship title.

Hull is passing his skills onto Indy’s youth as part of an elite wrestling academy called Legends of Gold.

It started out with inner city children in Indianapolis and has since spread to Fishers.

His work garnered the award for Developmental Coach of the Year from USA Wrestling.

“I decided to, in order to continue inspiring the kids, to go ahead and wrestle myself, and come out of retirement,” Hull said.

“A lot of kids think that if they don’t win a state championship, they are not good enough to wrestle in college.”

Hull kept his promise and entered the US Open tournament in Las Vegas against athletes near his age and weight class.

He won it all.

You can watch the matches at

“There’s a masters division which is basically for the old guys,” Hull joked.

“20 years since I competed essentially. The older I get, the longer it takes to heal.”

By winning the US Open, he qualified for the US World Team that trains in Georgia.

It also means he punched his ticket to face the best in the world at a tournament in Russia this week.

“There’s no telling. I may end up wrestling an old Olympic champ,” Hull said.

“We train our kids, they are their only competition. I’m competing against my laziness, or getting that extra rep in. I’m not flying out there to get whooped on the first match.”

Losing early would prove to be a costly mistake.

Unlike most amateur wrestling tournaments, this one does not have what the sport calls “wrestle backs.”

It means if a wrestler loses once, then they are out of the tournament.

Because some matches can last only a matter of seconds if a mistake is made, often tournaments have a consolation bracket for competitors to keep going.

In those types of tournaments, a wrestler must lose twice to be eliminated.

An early exit overseas, means a long plane flight back.

“If i perform the way I’m supposed to, I will be coming back with some hardware,” Hull said confidently.

He left for Russia on Sunday, October 6, and expects to compete the following weekend.

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