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Mat Chat: Adam Hall, Bonners Ferry
Al Fontes sits down with the former Badger and newly named head wrestling coach at Utah Valley University
Published: 7/5/2024 10:11:21 AM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

 

Previous Mat Chat Interviews

Casey Randles, Coeur d'Alene

Jake Rosholt, Sandpoint

Ridge Lovett, Post Falls

Derrick Booth, Post Falls/North Idaho College

 

It has been approximately eight months since I wrote my last Idaho Mat Chat series featuring Derrick Booth, the sixth Head Coach at North Idaho College. Up to now, I have produced a total of five Q&A articles in my series. Along with Coach Booth, I have highlighted the prep and collegiate careers of All-Americans Casey Randles, Jake Rosholt, and Ridge Lovett.

The next in my Mat Chat series is Adam Hall of Bonners Ferry, and to many Idahoans’ great satisfaction, the most recent hire at Utah Valley University (UVU) in Orem. Adam becomes the third head wrestling coach in the school’s history and to the best of my knowledge, only the second Idaho prep wrestler to lead a Division I program with Mike Young of Boise State (Idaho Falls H.S.) being the first (Please advise, if this is not the case).

Adam’s entry into the wrestling circle began at the early age of five when his older brother (Aaron) brought home a wrestling flyer from a local club encouraging kids to join. Being an active kid from the earliest of age, Adam’s interests were instantly sparked and without hesitation he approached his parents about joining. Ironically, during this time span, Adam’s mother (Linda) just happened to be visiting their grandmother’s house and discovered a box filled with an assortment of medals, ribbons, and trophies. Unaware of her husband’s wrestling past, she shouted, “What is this?” As circumstances would have it, Adam’s father (Roland) never talked much about his wrestling past, but to their surprise he was Bonners Ferry’s first individual High School State Champion in 1971 and also competed for Greys Harbor Community College in Washington. All the stars had lined up that day and from this point forward, the sport of wrestling was a fundamental part of the Hall family’s daily lives.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Adam is among the top prep and collegiate level wrestlers to ever come out of the Gem State. Gravitating to wrestling early on, Adam competed in all age groups and progressively improved each year, including his four years in high school. In fact, he was a three-sport athlete (Soccer, Track, and Wrestling) at Bonners Ferry High School and excelled in each sport. Graduating in 2006 with academic honors (maintained a 3.80 GPA), Adam experienced the most success in wrestling where he earned four district titles, three individual state titles, and was a 4x state finalists. On top of that, he won an individual national title at the NHSCA Senior High School Nationals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

To sum up his prep career, Adam accumulated an incredible 169-4 (97.7%) career record in four years along with five All-American honors at the Fargo Nationals, which includes a Junior Freestyle title in 2006. Furthermore, he was selected to Wrestling USA Magazine’s “DREAM TEAM” as well as being a recipient of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award for his academic and wrestling achievements. According to Adam’s high school coach, Conrad Garner, “Adam is one of the most dedicated wrestlers I have had the honor to coach in my thirty-five years at Bonners Ferry. From an early age, his approach to wrestling and commitment to perfection is unmatched.”

Rated among the top prep wrestlers in his weight nationally, Adam was highly recruited by Stanford, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska, but remained in the Gem State to compete for Boise State University. While at Boise State, he earned two PAC-10 titles, two NCAA Division I All-American honors, and finished his collegiate career with a solid 122-18 record (87.1 win %), which ranked him number two overall in Boise State wrestling history. Academically, Adam graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors in Health Science in addition to earning Cum Laude, PAC-10 Wrestling Scholar Athlete of the Year honors, and was on the Dean’s list three times.

Shortly after graduation, Adam found himself at a fork in the road and uncertain what direction to take his life. His options were plentiful, but as faith would have it, he received an unexpected phone call from Nampa Coach Roy Perales about an assistant coaching opportunity he had heard about at Columbia University in New York. Taking the advice of Coach Perales, Adam took a leap of faith and applied, and to his amazement was interviewed and hired not too long thereafter.

More than ready to take on his new challenge, Adam put his nose to the grindstone and got to work. From the beginning, he made an immediate impact at Columbia. Throughout his tenure as an assistant coach, the Blue and White qualified a total of 15 wrestlers to the NCAA Division I Championships as well as producing the school’s sixth ever All-American in Steve Santos, who placed third in 2013 (Highest finish in school’s history). In addition to coaching, Adam remained active on the mat where he placed 5th in Freestyle at the 2012 Olympic Trials together with earning two medals at the U.S. Open. On top of that, Adam earned a Master’s degree in Sports Management and to his good fortune met his future wife (Christine).

After four years at Columbia, Adam headed south and joined Pat Popolizio’s staff at North Carolina State (aka, NC State) in the summer of 2015. In his first season, Adam made an immediate impact to the program as the Wolfpack had one of its best seasons ever. That season, NC State won the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships, the first at NC State since 2007. Over and above that, six wrestlers reached the championship finals while four earned individual conference titles.

Adam’s hard work and commitment to excellence did not go unnoticed as he was promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2019. He remained in that position for the next several years, but midway through the 2023-’24 season an opportunity of a lifetime came his direction when word quickly surfaced that Utah Valley’s Head Coach Greg Williams announced his intentions to step down to retire after leading his program since the 2006-’07 season. Speculation rapidly grew about his successor and the name most frequently brought up among several possibilities was Adam Hall. As anticipated by many in the wrestling circle, he applied for the position and with just over one month to go before the NCAAs, it was officially announced that he got the job. From that point forward, there was a buzz generating throughout Idaho and abroad about the future at UVU as well as who would be on his coaching staff. Despite the buzz, Adam still had a job to do at NC state all while planning for his new position at UVU, which started immediately the day after the NCAAs.

Finishing his tenure at NC State on a positive note, Adam left no doubt that he was very instrumental in his coaching role as the accolades produced by the program spoke volumes. For instance, the Wolfpack produced 27 NCAA Division I All-Americans, 90 NCAA qualifiers, and one NCAA Champion in Michael Macchiavello (2018). Furthermore, the program had three top-10 finishes at the NCAAs (2021, ’22, ’23) and won six straight ACC team titles (7 total). On top of that, the 2020 team celebrated the school’s first-ever undefeated season with a 15-0 record. If that was not impressive enough, the program also produced 36 NWCA Academic All-Americans (Program record 8 in 2020) and World Team members with several earning medals. They include Sean Fausz (U23 Silver), Trent Hidlay (U20 Bronze, U23 Silver), and Matthew Singleton (U20 Bronze).  Additionally, he coached Nick Gwiazdowski (2x senior World Bronze Medalist) and Isaac Trumble (U23 World Gold winner last summer.)

At the conclusion of the NCAAs, Adam had very little time to celebrate or reflect on his last nine years at NC state as he had to report to UVU. A forward planner, Adam had already produced his Head Coaching Portfolio for UVU prior to taking his new position. To sum it up, Adam’s Coaching Portfolio thoroughly outlines his coaching philosophy, vision, coaching values and competencies, strategic goals and timelines to name a few. For starters, Adam’s philosophy is clear and succinct, “A Program’s success focuses on specific standards; Character, Communication, Academics, Coachability, Accountability, and Passion.”  Below, I will call attention to a few highlights from his UVU Coaching Portfolio as well as his goals for the program in the years ahead.

 

COACHING VALUES & COMPETENCIES (5 PILLARS TO BUILD UPON)

  1. WINNING – Academics, Athletics, Life, Attitude, and Career.
  2. CHARACTER – Leadership, Accountability, Honesty, and Integrity.
  3. COMMITMENT - Discipline, Focus, Consistency, Persistence, Constant, and Improvement.
  4. VISION - Trust in program, faith, pride, confidence, expert guidance.
  5. PASSION - Love to compete, eager to learn, embrace the process, daily motivation, and positive mindset.

 

STRATEGIC GOALS

STRATEGIC GOAL #1: Finish nationally in the top 25 each year while producing individual NCAA Champions, All-Americans, and National Qualifiers. We aim to win individual BIG 12 Championships and finish top 5 in the Team Championship.

STRATEGIC GOAL #2: Produce a team GPA of 3.2 or higher and garner the highest team GPA award presented by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. We aim to produce Academic All-Americans and quality student-athletes who graduate on time.

STRATEGIC GOAL #3: Focus recruiting in the West and Midwest. We aim to sign a top 25 recruiting class each year. We sign individuals who best fit our culture, lifestyle expectations, and performance standards.

STRATEGIC GOAL #4: Increase fundraising efforts and annual expected gift amount. We will strengthen relationships with our alumni base and inspire them to increase investments in our program.

STRATEGIC GOAL #5: Increase participation in local clinics on a yearly basis. We strive to develop connections with the local wrestling community and build our program’s brand and visibility.

STRATEGIC GOAL #6: Develop young men personally, athletically, and professionally so they represent the program well and achieve success in life during and after their collegiate careers.

 

GOAL TIMELINES

2024 – 2025: Finish in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships, sign a top-20 recruiting class, have at least two Academic All-Americans, at least a 3.2 team GPA.

2025 – 2026: Finish in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships, sign a top-20 recruiting class, have at least two Academic All-Americans, at least a 3.2 team GPA.

2026 – 2027: Finish in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships, sign a top-15 recruiting class, have at least three Academic All-Americans, at least a 3.2 team GPA.

2027 – 2028: Finish in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships, sign a top-15 recruiting class, have at least three Academic All-Americans, at least a 3.2 team GPA.

2028 – 2029: Finish in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships, sign a top-10 recruiting class, have at least three Academic All-Americans, at least a 3.2 team GPA.

 

Based on the above, it is evident that Adam is not only determined to build a top tier program, but is also committed to building exceptional student/athletes and future leaders of society. A task of this type is definitely a large undertaking and will require an “All-hands on deck” effort to accomplish, which recent history has shown that Adam is more than capable of achieving and will definitely lead the charge from the front.

From day one, Adam wasted very little time thinking about what lies ahead for UVU. From the get-go, he immediately got to work and tackled the numerous tasks in front of him. Among the top of the list was to evaluate his current team roster, prepare them for the changes and challenges ahead, and parallel to all that initiate the time consuming recruiting process. This also included assembling a coaching staff that would be in sync with his vision of the program along with sharing the same coaching values. These tasks alone have consumed a greater portion of Adam’s daily life, but as of this writing much progress has been made.  For instance, Adam recently announced the hire of Timmy McCall as his new head assistant coach. A coaching peer of Adam’s at NC state, McCall brings to UVU a strong academic, wrestling, and coaching background. On the mat, McCall was a prep state champion in North Carolina, earned two All-American honors at the NHSCA Senior High School Nationals, and collegiately made two trips to the NCAA Division I Championships for the University of Wisconsin. Academically, McCall was a member of the Academic Program (3.9 GPA) in high school and graduated from Wisconsin with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Applied Economics in addition to being a leader for Athletes in Action.

Not too long after hiring McCall, Adam added another familiar name to his staff in Andrew Hochstrasser. A teammate of Adam’s at Boise state, Hochstrasser was a four-time Utah State champion, prep All-American, recipient of the prestigious Dave Schultz Excellence Award, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. While at Boise State, Hochstrasser was a 2x Conference Champion and earned two All-American honors, including a finals appearance in 2011. Additionally, he was a member of two World Cup teams and placed fourth at the Olympic trials. As far as coaching experience, Hochstrasser spent several years at Boise State as a volunteer assistant, coached at several wrestling camps, and most recently has been the Head Wrestling coach for the Sons of Atlas Wrestling Club in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Academically, Hochstrasser earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing at Boise State in 2011.

With the coaching transition nearly complete, Adam is fully occupied preparing his new team for the season ahead in addition to finalizing the hire of his third assistant coach. As of this writing, the Wolverines return a core group that on average have a couple years of collegiate experience, several of which competed at the 2024 Big 12 Conference Championships. What’s more, a number of wrestlers that recently entered the college transfer portal will now be wearing the Green and White UVU singlet, which includes University of Nebraska transfer and TIER 1 Idaho prep standout Tanner Frothinger of Eagle, as well as Penn State transfer Terrell Barraclough, a Utah native who won four state titles for Layton High School and was a recipient of the Dave Schultz Excellence award in 2019. On the recruiting front, Adam has also signed approximately twelve additional prep standouts from nearby states, which includes Idaho’s elite Talen Eck (Thunder Ridge), Jake Castagneto (Bishop Kelly), Ryker Fullmer (Teton), and Hudson Rogers of Meridian to name a few.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with UVU’s recent transfer Tanner Frothinger at the Team Idaho Fargo Training Camp in Meridian. He stated the following about his UVU wrestling experience, “My experience for the time I've been at UVU has been terrific. The team culture creates high levels of competition during practices. Adam has really made big leaps in the program with the short time he has been there.”

I also spoke with redshirt Junior Tyler Jones, an alumnus from Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian about the recent transition. He stated, “Following Coach Williams’ retirement, Coach Adam Hall came in with an extremely detailed plan on what he believes is the best way to get our team to the next level. I “100%” back what Coach Adam has already changed and addressed in his few months as the new head coach and I believe Coaches Andrew and Timmy have also played a large role. Coach Adam has already made multiple game changers that will surface as the year progresses. A new spark has been ignited not only on our wrestling room, but within the surrounding community. Everyone wants to be a part of the Adam Hall era!”

To date, UVU has produced a total of four NCAA Division I All-Americans in Ben Kjar (4th, 2011), Jade Rauser (8th, 2016), Demetrius Romero (6th, 2021), and Taylor LaMont (5th, 2021). Among the many goals set by Adam, at the top is to increase the number of NCAA qualifiers and All-Americans each and every season. With over a decade of coaching experience at the NCAA level, Adam understands firsthand that a goal of this type is a huge undertaking and requires a united effort. He outlines this in his list of COACHING VALUES & COMPETENCIES; a winning Attitude, Character, Commitment, Vision, and Passion to succeed. According to Chris Owens, the Director of Operations for Idaho USA Wrestling, “I started coaching Adam when he was a first year cadet (16U division now). It didn’t take long to realize he was not like other wrestlers his age. His passion, dedication, and drive was special. Adam’s work ethic has always been his diesel engine and I am looking forward to following the Utah Valley team with him leading the charge.”

The future at UVU is unknown, but what is known is Adam’s resolve and his track record as an athlete, student, as well as the huge impact he has made as a collegiate level coach. From the moment Adam first entered the wrestling circle, he has had a strong support system around him. This support system includes his parents, brother, past coaches, the wrestling community in Idaho, his wife and their children. In return, Adam has provided the wrestling community a passion that is felt by many and from the moment he set foot on the campus at UVU, he made an immediate connection with his new team, the administration, the local community, and greater western U.S.

This past week I attended Team Idaho’s Fargo Training Camp held at Mountain View High School in Meridian. In attendance were Gem State wrestlers from all regions of the state and included coaches Chris Owens (Director of Operations, Team Idaho), Ivan Ivanov (Suples), Jason Chamberlain (2x All-American, Boise State), Kirk White (NCAA Champion, Boise State), and several other coaches in the state. Not a stranger to this training camp, Adam was also in attendance for a few sessions on day two and from what I observed, he made strong connections with the wrestlers and coaches in attendance. As a promoter of wrestling in the Gem State, I am energized by his potential and the impact he has had in the wrestling community from day one. I wish him the best at UVU and look forward to the years ahead.  

More recently, I conducted a brief Q&A with Adam. Below is our Q&A and his list of academic, high school, college, and coaching accolades. Impressive!!


Q&A WITH COACH ADAM HALL

 

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING? 

ADAM HALL - I began at 5 years old when my older brother (Aaron) brought home a flyer from a local wrestling club. In fact, my entire family has been involved. My father (Roland) was the first State Champion at Bonners Ferry High School in 1971. He also wrestled for Grays Harbor Community College in Washington and then transferred to Vet School at Washington State. My older brother was also a state placer in Idaho. Ironically, my Mom (Linda) found a box at my grandmothers, which had wrestling medals and trophies in it and said, “What is this?” From that point forward, she became very involved in the sport as a Paring Master for Idaho wrestling, Fargo Nationals, and was also a Spanish speaking translator at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

 

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN WRESTLING?

COACH ADAM HALL My high school coach, Conrad Garner and Chris Owens with the Idaho National Team and Boise State.

 

WHAT LIFE LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED IN WRESTLING THAT APPLY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?

COACH ADAM HALL Perseverance, Discipline, and Humility.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG ATHLETE WANTING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN WRESTLING?

COACH ADAM HALL – #1 - Setting goals is underrated. One must ask themselves the following questions, what is your process of achieving a goal(s)? Why do you want to do it? What is your “WHY?” #2 – Embrace the process! #3 – Not being afraid to be different (One cannot live their lives like another student or classmate). Finally, being unique is Ok!

 

BEING A NATIVE OF IDAHO, DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCES GROWING UP IN BONNERS FERRY, AS WELL AS COMPETING FOR BONNERS FERRY AND BOISE STATE.

COACH ADAM HALL – I was really blessed to be in a town where many people cared. I had a lot of support growing up. I was fortunate to have parents that took me around the state and country to compete. Boise State was a very unique environment. We had a gritty team that overcame a lot. We had a lot of tough wrestlers.

 

WHAT OTHER SPORTS WERE YOU INVOLVED IN GROWING UP IN BONNERS FERRY?

COACH ADAM HALL – I was a three sport athlete; Soccer, Track & Field (800m and mile), and Wrestling. Many of my friends growing up were soccer players.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCES AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

COACH ADAM HALL – Overall, I had a great experience at both colleges. While at Columbia, I earned a Masters’ degree and met my wife. While competing, I trained at the New York Athletic Club. It was a unique experience coaching at an Ivy League program.

 

OUTSIDE THE SPORT OF WRESTLING, WHAT OTHER HOBBIES DO YOU HAVE?

COACH ADAM HALL I enjoy hunting and fishing in addition to enjoying the outdoors, traveling, and cooking.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR SHORT-TERM GOALS AT UVU?

COACH ADAM HALL Year one, I want to produce 5 NCAA qualifiers and an All-American.

 

COACHING – COLLEGE – HIGH SCHOOL ACCOLADES

 

NORTH CAROLINA STATE HEAD ASSISTANT COACH (2015 – 2024)

  • 27 NCAA Division All-Americans and 90 NCAA Qualifiers, including 2018 NCAA National Champion, Michael Macchiavello
  • First NCAA team trophy in program history with a 4th place finish at the 2018 NCAA Championships
  • First-ever undefeated regular season in 2020 at 15-0.
  • 7 straight Top-20 NCAA team finishes, including three-straight Top-10 finishes (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 6 straight ACC Tournament Team Champions (2016, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024)
  • ACC Regular Season Champions (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024)
  • 36 NWCA Academic All-Americans, including a program-record eight in 2022
  • Team carried a program-record 3.25 GPA, 2024
  • 4 Top-5 nationally-ranked recruiting classes in the past 6 years
  • 6 Top-10 recruiting classes in the past eight years.
  • 7 World Team Members, including 2018 U23 World Silver Medalist, Sean Fausz, 2019 U20 World Bronze Medalist and 2022 U23 World Silver Medalist, Trent Hidlay, and 2023 U20 World Bronze Medalist, Matthew Singleton

 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT COACH (4 seasons)

  • Coached 15 NCAA Qualifiers/1 NCAA ALL-AMERICAN (3rd place)

     

    COLLEGE/NATIONAL WRESTLING ACCOLADES (Boise State University)

  • NCAA Division I All-American – 5th Place ‘11
  • NCAA Division I All-American – 3rd Place ‘10
  • 4x NCAA Division I Championships Qualifier
  • 2x PAC-10 Champion
  • Career record: 122-18 (87.1 win %)/ranks #2 in Boise history
  • 5th at the 2012 Olympic Trials
  • 2x U.S. Open Medalist – 2013, ‘14

 

COLLEGE ACADEMIC ACCOLADES (Boise State/Columbia University)

  • Master’s degree in Sports Management (Columbia University)
  • Bachelor’s degree in Health Science (Boise State)
  • PAC-10 Wrestling Scholar Athlete of the Year
  • Graduated Cum Laude
  • Named to the Dean’s List (3x)

 

HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING/ACADEMIC ACCOLADES (Bonners Ferry)

  • Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award ’06
  • NHSCA Senior H.S. National Champion/All-American (OW) ’06
  • 3x Idaho State Champion, 2004 – ’06
  • 4x Idaho State Finalist, 2003 – ’06
  • Fargo Junior Freestyle Champion, 2006
  • 3x Junior Fargo All-Americans (FS/GR)
  • 2x 16U Fargo All-American (FS/GR)
  • 4x District Champion, 2003 – ‘06
  • Career record – 169-4 (97.7%)
  • GPA: 3.80

 

OTHER ATHLETIC/EXTRACURRICULAR ACCOLADES

  • Soccer Team Captain (All-North Idaho honors)
  • Track & Field, 2x State medalist (1,600 meter run)
  • Achieved the rank of Eagle Scout

 

FAMILY

  • Adam married his wife Christine in 2017. The couple have two children, Theo and Charley.

 

 





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