14 episodes

Wrestling is the world's oldest sport. In Arkansas, it's the newest.
Follow the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as it starts up a brand new sport in a place that hasn't seen major college wrestling in half a century. Rocked up follows the fledgling wrestling program as it begins from scratch with a start date of November 2019. Produced by the Mat Talk Podcast Network.

Rocked Up Jason Bryant, Mat Talk Podcast Network

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Wrestling is the world's oldest sport. In Arkansas, it's the newest.
Follow the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as it starts up a brand new sport in a place that hasn't seen major college wrestling in half a century. Rocked up follows the fledgling wrestling program as it begins from scratch with a start date of November 2019. Produced by the Mat Talk Podcast Network.

    Where the journey begins

    Where the journey begins

    Wrestling is the world's oldest sport. In Arkansas, it's the newest.

    This is Rocked Up, the story of the foundations and formations of a new college sports team at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. What makes this story unique isn't just the fact it's a new sport, but the sport itself is new to the entire state.

    It's a journey unlike any other.

    Rocked Up is a presentation of the Mat Talk Podcast Network and can be found on the web at GetRockedUp.com or at MatTalkOnline.com.

    SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN TO THE SHOW
    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Spreaker | RSS

    SUPPORT THE SHOW
    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a TEAM MEMBER today. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of team membership. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a team member and supporting the show. You'll get some cool stuff too.

    • 28 min
    The Chicken or the Egg

    The Chicken or the Egg

    What came first, the chicken or the egg?

    On the second episode of Rocked Up, we'll meet Little Rock radio personality and former Arkansas football player David Bazzel. He'll introduce us to how Greg Hatcher, an insurance man in Little Rock, talked him into pitching a press conference to try to introduce wrestling to the state's high schools.

    Hatcher will further explain the process in going from idea to sanctioned high school state activity and Hatcher's overall impact in the process, including how it wasn't exactly what people might believe financially. We'll meet Carter Lambert of Central Arkansas Christian, legendary wrestling announcer Sandy Stevens as well as catch back up with Bentonville's Bill Desler and Don Schuler.

    Rocked Up is a presentation of the Mat Talk Podcast Network and can be found on the web at GetRockedUp.com or at MatTalkOnline.com.

    SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN TO THE SHOW
    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Spreaker | RSS

    SUPPORT THE SHOW
    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a TEAM MEMBER today. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of team membership. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a team member and supporting the show. You'll get some cool stuff too.

    • 31 min
    First, Best or Different - How Ouachita Baptist paved the way for college wrestling in Arkansas

    First, Best or Different - How Ouachita Baptist paved the way for college wrestling in Arkansas

    First, Best or Different - How Ouachita Baptist paved the way for college wrestling in Arkansas

    This entire series has been telling you one story to set up another. On Episode 3, we look back at the impact of the first college wrestling program in Arkansas in nearly 50 years, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

    Ouachita Baptist started wrestling in 2010. The nearest opponent within Division II was six hours west in Oklahoma. We meet with Rex Horne, then the President of OBU, to find out why his university was the place to start and the impact recurring figures Greg Hatcher and Mike Moyer had in the process.

    Moyer, Executive Director of the NWCA, explains the broader plan for college wrestling and how Ouachita Baptist was a crucial step to allow more schools to start the sport at the college level in Arkansas.

    Rocked Up is a presentation of the Mat Talk Podcast Network and can be found on the web at GetRockedUp.com or at MatTalkOnline.com.

    SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN TO THE SHOW
    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Spreaker | RSS

    SUPPORT THE SHOW
    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a TEAM MEMBER today. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of team membership. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a team member and supporting the show. You'll get some cool stuff too.

    • 26 min
    A Legend Comes To Town

    A Legend Comes To Town

    A Legend Comes to Town

    In the lore of college sports, there's always the aura of having done something no one else had ever done. In 1994, a wrestler from Oklahoma State University named Pat Smith became the first wrestler in NCAA Division I wrestling history to win four straight national championships.

    Years later, Smith would be talked into moving to Arkansas and helping create one of the largest grassroots wrestling movements the sport had ever seen. On Episode 4 of Rocked Up, we'll meet Pat Smith and discover how one of the legends of wrestling found himself in a state with zero wrestling and his involvement in helping build the high school and summer wrestling circuits. We'll also take a look back at 2009 and the first Arkansas team to go to Fargo.
    Check out that old video feature from host Jason Bryant during his time at USA Wrestling by clicking here.


    Rocked Up is a presentation of the Mat Talk Podcast Network and can be found on the web at GetRockedUp.com or at MatTalkOnline.com.

    SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN TO THE SHOW
    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Spreaker | RSS

    SUPPORT THE SHOW
    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a TEAM MEMBER today. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of team membership. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a team member and supporting the show. You'll get some cool stuff too.

    • 20 min
    Capturing the Nation's Attention

    Capturing the Nation's Attention

    Capturing the nation's attention

    In the big money world of Division I college athletics, only five championship sports actually make the NCAA money. Of course, the biggest is the Final Four, the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. Now 68 teams play their way to a championships. The venues are large and the volume of printed brackets and online office pools is astronomical.

    The other championships that make the NCAA money are the College World Series, held annually in Omaha, the Frozen Four, the name for the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey tournament, the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse championship – AND – to the surprise of many – the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship.

    Before you say “but what about football,” did you know the NCAA actually does not award a trophy and present an actual championship for what’s called the Football Bowl Subdivision? Oh, sure, there’s a trophy, but the only NCAA logo on a Division I football trophy belongs to the winner of what’s called the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as I-AA.

    Semantics and officialness aside, wrestling has been a consistent moneymaker at the championships level for decades. Much of that has come from the move away from campus sites and into larger metropolitan areas and major league arenas. Or in the case in 2020, NFL Stadiums. Yes, Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, is expected to draw over 40,000 fans across each of the six sessions in March of 2020. It’s an indication that the health of wrestling has improved.

    It’s also a great spot to sell the sport of wrestling to curious college administrators. For people looking to start a Division I program in Arkansas, a sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland in March of 2018 was the perfect backdrop to make history.

    Welcome to Rocked Up, the story of the foundation and formation of the first Division I college wrestling program in Arkansas, starting in November of 2019 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. This is the fifth edition of this story. The first four set the table, because to tell the story of the Little Rock Trojans wrestling program, you had to start from the ground up – with the foundation of Arkansas high school wrestling, which didn’t even exist 11 years ago.

    Since the beginning, we’ve introduced you to high school coaches, wrestling leaders, athletic directors, financial benefactors as well as some of the pioneers within the state. Today, we meet one of the architects and one of the people who needed to say yes in order for this dream to actually become a reality – Little Rock Athletics Director Chasse Conque.

    EPILOGUE: As this episode gets released in August of 2019, there was a personnel change between the time we had meetings with Conque for this project. In early August of 2019, Conque took a similar position at Division I Texas-Rio Grande Valley. While he’s no longer at Little Rock, his fingerprints are still all over this move.


    Rocked Up is a presentation of the Mat Talk Podcast Network and can be found on the web at GetRockedUp.com or at MatTalkOnline.com.

    SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN TO THE SHOW
    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Spreaker | RSS

    SUPPORT THE SHOW
    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a TEAM MEMBER today. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of team membership. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becoming a team member and supporting the show. You'll get some cool stuff too.

    • 24 min
    Who is Neil Erisman?

    Who is Neil Erisman?

    If you’re the athletics director at a Division I institution and you’re looking to hire a head coach to start your team from scratch, what are some of the credentials you look for?

    If you’re starting a basketball team, are you going to look at someone like a legendary coach like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski or UConn’s Geno Auriemma? Would you go with a legendary athlete like a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James? In football, are you looking for the Joe Montana-type or are you looking for someone who’s built a career on coaching despite not having lavish athletic credentials like New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick?

    Are you looking for a person to groom the culture and create a community and family or are you looking for someone who wants to win at any cost. The one thing about college sports is all of those types of coaches get jobs at some point or another.

    In wrestling, Division I head coaching jobs are rare. As we enter the 2019-20 college wrestling season, there are 78 Division I wrestling teams. In Division I basketball, there are 347 teams. Wrestling teams are often classified as non-revenue sports, meaning the school isn’t taking in a lot of money on gate receipts. At the Division I level, basketball and football are revenue sports, where schools sometimes rely on the attendance and success of those programs to help finance the other sports in the department.

    Whether or not those teams bring in positive cashflow doesn’t change their distinction. So the pressure to win and put butts in the seats isn’t as imperative on a wrestling coach, although in the competitive climate of athletics with rising costs, coaches are now being charged to make their programs more valuable in the eyes of a department. If you’re a team with low graduation rates, poor grades, disciplinary problems and a culture of trouble, you’re going to be at risk, especially if you’re a non-revenue sport.

    With all that being considered, wrestling fans typically get stars in their eyes about the latest up-and-coming coach, usually someone who’s got tremendous credentials on the mat. It’s almost a let down for some fans when they hire a coach who isn’t a national champion. I don’t have anything statistically to justify this claim, but the impression I get is wrestling believes more than other sports that you have to have achieved at the highest level to be a successful coach. If it’s not a “name” hire, then the administration failed the fans and the alumni.

    So what type of hire was Little Rock AD Chasse Conque going to pick up?

    Welcome to Rocked Up, the story of the foundation and formation of the first Division I college wrestling program in Arkansas, starting in November of 2019 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. This is the sixth edition of this story. The first five set the table, because to tell the story of the Little Rock Trojans wrestling program, you had to start from the ground up – with the foundation of Arkansas high school wrestling, which didn’t even exist 11 years ago.

    Last episode, we talked with Chasse Conque shortly after the announcement came in March of 2018 that Little Rock would add Division I wrestling to its sports offerings starting in 2019-20. On June 20, 2018, Little Rock introduced the man who would lead their new program and set the tone for what to expect.

    So who is Neil Erisman?

    Rocked Up is a presentation of the Mat Talk Podcast Network and can be found on the web at GetRockedUp.com or at MatTalkOnline.com.

    SUBSCRIBE & LISTEN TO THE SHOW
    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Spreaker | RSS

    SUPPORT THE SHOW
    And if you're a fan of the extensive and broad-based reach of the shows on the Mat Talk Podcast Network, become a TEAM MEMBER today. There are various levels of perks for the different levels of team membership. If you like wrestling content -- scratch that -- if you LOVE great wrestling content, consider becom

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

wrestlingfanrobert ,

Great listen...

Very interesting to hear about the start of a big tome D1 college wrestling program in Arkansas, including the formation of HS wrestling in Arkansas which crazily just started about 12 years ago. Fast paced, good info. Give it a try.

JWeitzel6 ,

Phenomenal

Awesome and fascinating look into the development of wrestling in the state of Arkansas. Love the interviews with the actual people involved. Look forward to the next episode as soon as I finish one.