During senior night, IU Coach Duane Goldman always shakes the hand of every senior on the roster.
This season, a familiar line was announced whose hand Goldman had to shake.
It was his son, senior Garrett Goldman, who has been a starter at heavyweight for the last five seasons.
“Looking back it seems like everything has gone really fast,” Garrett said. “When the season starts it’s hard to see the end in sight. Now that it is all so close, it definitely seems like it went fast.”
Garrett said he knows it’s a bittersweet ending, but is glad he accomplished his goal of wrestling collegiately. He said he understands it is a sad time, knowing the season is ending, but that he will move on and find other things to do in order to be successful past college.
Duane said he has been blessed with the opportunity to coach his son.
“I’ve been blessed as well to be with him over these years, to experience this with him,” he said. “I know a lot of it has been through difficulty and hardship.”
While many people think it’s a major challenge to divide the father-son and coach-player relationship, Garrett said he believes his dad has done a good job in doing so, and he’s enjoyed being a part of it.
He said a lot of people think it’s tough and that his dad must be hard on him, but he said his father has treated him as a wrestler rather than a son.
Fellow senior Matt Irick usually rooms with Garrett on road trips, and can attest to Duane keeping things professional.
“There is a little bit of father and son,” Irick said. “It almost pushes Coach Goldman to try and get Garrett to succeed, but how can you not, it’s your son. It’s business when we’re in the room and on trips. He’s just like another wrestler on the team, it’s business.”
When Garrett was in high school, Duane would not see him wrestle very often, and there would not be many opportunities when they could spend time together.
This was because the high school and college wrestling seasons are at the same time. Whenever the Hoosiers would travel, the high school teams would also be wrestling.
Once Garrett came to IU, Duane did not just get to watch his son, he coached him. Both the Goldmans said they believe this is one of the main reasons they enjoyed these past five years.
Garrett’s career may not end with him as an All-American or national champion, but his dad said he hopes his son will be proud of what he has accomplished at IU.
“There really haven’t been any negatives to it, it’s pretty cool because it’s given us a different relationship than most people have with their fathers,” Garrett said. “I think overall it’s brought us closer. I’ve definitely seen way more positives than negatives out of it, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Coach Goldman’s daughter, Aphten, was also a manager for the team while at IU.
Duane said she was just a regular student studying Health Administration in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Like the entire family, she has been around wrestling her whole life, because she would often travel on the bus when she was growing up.
Duane said she wanted to continue being a part of the wrestling team by becoming a manager.
Aphten is a couple years older than her brother, and her being a manager allowed Garrett to spend more time with her.
The hardcore family competitor is not Duane, a former wrestler at the University of Iowa, who finished his Iowa career with a winning 132-10 record.
It’s also not Garrett, who wrestled his entire life. Rather, it’s Garrett’s mom.
“She is a huge wrestling fan and knows a lot about it,” Duane said. “Her uncle and her dad wrestled at small collegiate schools. She is the real hardcore competitor in the family. She’s the tough one.”
When a father and his son are part of the same team, at any level, there are challenges.
Duane said there are not many wrestlers who would choose to be part of the scrutiny he’s been under as the son of the coach.
He said it would have been easier for Garrett to go somewhere else where those expectations would have been relieved, but Garrett was willing to step up.
Despite the scrutiny Garrett has been under at times, he has taken this opportunity and run with it despite multiple injuries.
Duane said it would have been easier for Garrett to say he didn’t want to deal with all the injuries and call it a career. He said Garrett really stuck it out and has done a great job.
His first major injury was a torn ACL his freshman year, causing him to miss the entire season.
That injury fueled him to return stronger so he could fulfill a dream of wrestling at the Big Ten Championships.
“The next year when I finally got to wrestle and compete, I got to go to Big Ten’s and wrestle,” Garrett said. “That was pretty big, being able to do that after it had been delayed, and it was something I always dreamed about.”
Through a long collegiate career, it’s normal to grow as an athlete and a person, and Garrett believes he has done so.
“Nerves aren’t as big a factor. When you first start competing in college, everyone seems so big and old,” Garrett said. “It is hard to overcome those things that hold you back in your mind. Now, being a senior, it’s nothing that I’m not used to.”
Garrett is now one of the older guys, but he joked he is still smaller than most in his weight class. He said he is around 230 pounds but most guys he wrestles are around 250 or 270 pounds.
Duane said even after five years, he still gets nervous for Garrett’s matches.
However, he does not think he will ever be as nervous once Garrett graduates.
He said it is just a whole different level of anxiety, combining emotion, appreciation and love all at once.
All in all, it’s been an experience full of ups and downs, but also an experience that has created a bond unlike most father-son relationships.
“It has been a great experience for me, and for him hopefully it has as well,” Duane said. “It’s definitely been filled with disappointments, but I hope as it goes along, for all these guys, not just Garrett, these seniors realize the impact and the importance they have had on this team.”