Trinity athletic director Gary Bricker named Chris Barrick the new head wrestling coach on Tuesday.
The news was announced on Twitter, and Bricker confirmed it Wednesday in a phone call.
Barrick, a 2006 Big Spring graduate and longtime Trinity assistant coach, is the Shamrocks’ second head coach. He takes over for close friend Chris Bentley, who was just 46 when he died unexpectedly at work on July 13.
“He’s been heavily involved with the program,” Bricker said of Barrick. “And even with Chris Bentley’s schedule, (Barrick) was there (running the practices). ... My belief was Chris Bentley trusted him to do just about anything.”
Bricker said the decision was easy. He hasn’t spoken to the team but believes the reaction would be a positive one based on what he has seen on social media since the announcement.
“It wasn’t much of a thought,” Bricker said.
Barrick, 29, is married and has a 14-month-old child. He wrestled for the Bulldogs until 2006, and was the youngest brother of Justin (2001 Bulldogs grad) and Josh (2005). He won the District 3 championship in 2006 at 152 pounds and finished third in the PIAA Individual Championships just six months after tearing his ACL. He also tore his labrum during the season but still reached 100 career wins.
He went on to wrestle three years at Shippensburg University, finishing fifth in the NCAA Division II National Championships at 174.
Shortly thereafter, and after coaching one season at Northern, he joined Bentley’s staff at Trinity. The Shamrocks’ first season was in 2010-11.
It’s been a whirlwind of emotion for Barrick the past few weeks.
While he is excited to land the job — he was offered the position Monday and accepted it Tuesday — he is still mourning the loss of a close friend. Barrick met Bentley while he was a Bulldog, and their relationship blossomed while Barrick was at Shippensburg. While still in school, he began helping at Renegade Force Wrestling Club, an organization Bentley started nearly two decades ago.
“I never met someone with a better attitude about life, about what his next step was, about moving forward,” said Barrick, who worked with Bentley at Clarks America. “He was just very, very positive.”
Barrick said Renegade Force is currently figuring out its next steps without Bentley in charge. The plan is to stay in operation, but changes are to be expected.
“We’re looking to bring maybe a couple other folks in to help out with the club,” Barrick said.
The club had practices Monday and Wednesday evening this week. Barrick, who called accepting the Trinity job a “no-brainer,” spoke with Shamrocks wrestlers who came to the first practice after he was named head coach, and he has reached out to others who were on vacation or elsewhere.
“Obviously Chris was a lot bigger in people’s lives than a normal person would know,” Barrick said. “I know I need to be very supportive to our guys. A lot of them, by knowing Chris for a long time, know what he would’ve wanted them to do.”
Barrick said he’ll continue to follow the same path Bentley laid out for the team, striving to build the athletes off the mat.
“He’d want us to keep moving forward,” Barrick said.