Ohio State alumnus and wrestling Big Ten Champion Lance Palmer followed his dreams and is now training for Mixed Martial Arts while coaching wrestling at Virginia Tech.
This fall, Palmer heard there was a coaching position open for Virginia Tech’s wrestling team and traveled to the university the next day.
Tony Robie, associate head coach for wrestling at Virginia Tech, said Palmer met the criteria the team was looking for.
“Lance’s wrestling credentials speak for themselves,” Robie said. “He had a lot of success at the Division I level.”
Although 23-year-old Palmer doesn’t have extensive experience in recruiting or administration, his biggest strength is his age, Robie said.
“He is good at teaching our guys wrestling, getting on the mats, the physical part,” Robie said.
Since he was in high school, Palmer knew he was interested in coaching.
“Being in a coaching position has a lot to offer with experience and helping others achieve their goals,” he said.
Aside from coaching, Palmer has also gotten involved with MMA since he graduated.
He works out two to three times a day by practicing jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, sparring and other MMA training. He usually takes Saturday and Sunday off to travel with his team.
“When we’re not doing wrestling, he is training,” said Kevin Dresser, head coach of the Virginia Tech wrestling team. “He is doing his mixed martial arts thing and staying sharp in the arena.”
He said coaching and practicing with college wrestlers helps him train for his fights.
“I see myself with a 3-0 in the MMA and helping out at VT,” Palmer said. “I can get the best of both worlds at the same time.”
Robie said many successful MMA fighters have similar backgrounds to Palmer. He feels Palmer has a good shot as a fighter.
“The sky is the limit,” Robie said. “He is a competitive and tough guy.”
Palmer gives credit to his family members. He said they helped him get started with wrestling at a young age and pushed him to earn a full scholarship to OSU.
“They have supported every decision I’ve made,” Palmer said. “A strong family base is the key to the success I’ve had so far.”