Wrestling Alumni Return for Reunion, New Scholarship

Coach Ike Sherlock and Jesse Waltz '85 pose with others as they celebrate the establishment of their wrestling scholarship.

Over the Jan. 28–29, 2023, weekend, many wrestling alumni, their guests, and former coaches returned to post for a wrestling reunion and to mark the establishment of the Coach Ike Sherlock and Jesse Waltz ’85 Scholarship.

Around 75 wrestling alumni and guests returned to post Jan. 28–29, 2023, for a wrestling reunion and to mark the establishment of the Coach Ike Sherlock and Jesse Waltz ’85 Scholarship. VMI’s three All-Americans, Charlie Branch ’95, Leslie Apedoe ’99, and Neal Richards ’19, were all able to attend the event.

Jim Gibson, head wrestling coach, opened practice to reunion attendees the afternoon of Jan. 28, and alumni appreciated seeing the practice. The wrestling reunion was scheduled in conjunction with the VMI versus Western Carolina basketball game, giving attendees the opportunity to see multiple athletics contests in one weekend. On the evening of Jan. 28, the Keydet Club held a cocktail reception for attendees in Moody Hall, during which alumni, cadet-athletes, and coaches were able to mingle and get to know each other. At the reception, Gibson gave an update about the Keydet wrestling program. Sherlock spoke next, emotionally recollecting the privilege entrusted to him as VMI’s head wrestling coach and the honor of impacting so many young men while in that position.

Sunday afternoon, Jan. 29, reunion attendees watched the VMI versus Campbell University match. During intermission, Andrew Deal ’12, Keydet Club chief operating officer, announced the new wrestling scholarship, the Coach Ike Sherlock and Jesse Waltz ’85 Scholarship. The scholarship “will honor the legacy of Coach Sherlock and the influence that he has had on Jesse,” Deal said.

Sherlock was VMI’s head coach from 1978–85. In his time as the head coach, the team finished runner-up in 1980 and earned a Southern Conference team championship in 1985—Waltz’s 1st Class year. Throughout his tenure, Sherlock recruited and coached 12 individual Southern Conference champions and was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year four times. Sherlock also coached John Munno ’84 to a Southern Conference Tournament Outstanding Wrestler; coached three 30-win club wrestlers—John Ehrenberger ’84, Munno, and Steve Green ’83—and coached six of VMI’s top 20 all-time wins leaders. Sherlock had an 86-19 record as head coach and carries the highest winning percentage of any VMI wrestling head coach.

Waltz had the distinct pleasure of wrestling for Sherlock. Waltz finished his career with 80 wins and ranks 14th all-time in wins. In 1985, Waltz was a SoCon champion at 158 pounds. Also successful academically and professionally, Waltz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1985. He went on to accomplish many things in life and is known as a national award-winning entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He founded multiple successful companies, including his 23-year career as chief executive officer of JES, now known as Groundworks, and employs over 4,000 foundation service and support professionals.

“We were honored to continue our series of athletic team reunions as we welcomed back VMI wrestling alumni and their guests. A special thanks goes to Coach Gibson and the team for playing a part in the weekend, despite a brutal travel schedule and having to prepare for one of their toughest opponents of the year,” Deal said. “We really had a great turnout, including some of the best wrestlers and wrestling coaches in VMI’s history. It was truly special to celebrate the reunion on the same weekend that Jesse Waltz ’85 and Coach Ike Sherlock were in town to announce their new wrestling scholarship.”

  • Molly Rolon

    Molly Rolon Editorial Specialist