Carmel High School coach recognized

Ed Pendoski during a Carmel High School match. (Submitted photo)
Ed Pendoski during a Carmel High School match.
(Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

Ed Pendoski once was as wrapped up with wins and losses as much as the next coach.

“When I was 22, I was really big on training your guy to go beat the other guy that’s really good,” said the Carmel High School wrestling coach. “I’d be lying now if I said that still didn’t feel pretty good.”

However what Pendoski has learned is teaching life skills is a far more important part of his mission.

“You see a kid that gets out of college and is a successful person in life and learns

how to deal with garbage that everybody has in life,” Pendoski said. “At the end of the day, that’s what we do. We give kids some skills to take them to the real world. So when real adversity hits, they’re in a little better place to attack the problem.”

Pendoski would rather talk about his program and his wrestlers than his own accomplishments. So he isn’t too comfortable focusing on his induction into the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame on Feb. 22 in Greenwood.

A master motivator, Pendoski, a former Purdue wrestler, had a 327-27 record and guided eight state champions in 11 seasons (1994-2005) as Portage High School coach. One of those Portage’s state champions, two-time Fred Joseph, will be entering the Hall of Fame with Pendoski.

He retired from teaching and left Portage to start the Central Indiana Academy of Wrestling in 2005. In 2012, he sold the CIA and became the Carmel High School coach and president of Carmel USA Wrestling Club. Pendoski said the wrestling club has sought to model itself after the highly successful Carmel Swim Club.

“What a great thing to try to copy a program that is 50 yards from us (at the school),” Pendoski said.

Pendoski said the first thing he tried to do was develop the culture around Carmel wrestling.

“People in the school let alone the community weren’t talking about wrestling,” Pendoski said. “We had to get out there in front of people to make it something people wanted to see.”

In the 2013-14 season, the Greyhounds captured sectional (first since 2009) and regional (first since 2007) titles.

“Coach P made us act more like how we should be expected to act,” senior wrestler Morgan Pruitt said. “He brought us together as a team and made us more of a family. We all do things together now. He has a way of motivating us. He’s able to apply a lot of things in the past to a lot of our present situations and deal with them accordingly.”

Pruitt said Pendoski has expressions that they call P-isms, such “do or do not, there is no try.”

“I wouldn’t have come to where I am without Coach P,” Pruitt said.

One of Pendoski’s main philosophies is learn to love to train.

“That’s the key to anything whether it’s wrestling or being a parent or street cleaner,” Pendoski said. “We don’t spent a lot of time about talking wins and losses. If you train just to win, what do you have. If you love to train, it’s sustainable and it goes a long period of time.”