Snow College is pleased to announce the hiring of both men’s and women’s wrestling coaches to begin an intercollegiate wrestling program based at the Richfield Campus.
After an extensive search and interview process, Kimball Bastian has accepted the position to lead the men’s program, and Ross Taylor has accepted the position to lead the women’s program. Both coaches are excited to lead Badger Athletics in this new direction.
The wrestling program at Snow College has been funded by various private donations and will include both men’s and women’s wrestling under a long-term commitment.
“I’m really looking forward to establishing a culture with a brand-new wrestling program,” said Coach Bastian. “I want Snow College to be known as a program where wrestlers know they can go to make that next level jump. A place that they can reach their goals and move on to the next level.”
Bastian was a three-time NCAA qualifier and a four-time NWCA Scholar All-American on the mat for the UVU Wolverines at 174 pounds and will now move into the coaching ranks. He was also a four-time first team academic Big 12 Conference honoree and a four-time Big 12 Championship place winner.
Bastian, who wrestled for Utah Valley from 2015-2020 and who was nationally ranked in the top 10 of his weight class for most of his senior season, recently capped his stellar collegiate career with 77 total victories to move him into fourth place in the all-time UVU record books (77-44).
Bastian hails from Mapleton, Utah, where he was a two-time Utah Wrestling State Champion at Maple Mountain High School. He also scored a perfect 56-0 during his senior year at Maple Mountain and took home a 2014 Reno Tournament of Champions championship as well as a third-place finish at USA Folkstyle Nationals during his senior year of high school.
“Obviously as a program we will always have more needs/wants, but I have a lot of reason to believe that this new program will have the support it needs to have success,” said Bastian. “As long as we can get the Utah wrestling community to rally and see what a special opportunity this is for Utah wrestling, we should be okay.”
Coach Taylor has an undergraduate degree in exercise science and a Master of Business Administration from Utah Valley University, where he also competed as a collegiate wrestler for the Wolverines. He has a mission to leave a lasting impression through service and education.
He is currently the head wrestling coach at North Sevier High School. He is married to Angela Taylor, who serves the district as a mental health coordinator, and together they have a beautiful baby girl.
“My wife and I are really excited about this new chapter of our lives,” said Taylor. “The new challenges it comes with, and the increased ability it offers us to give back to the community of wrestling and Utah.”
“Wrestling has always been a large part of my life,” said Taylor. “After college I had to stay involved, so I started coaching high school and even got a teaching job to make it work. Close friends of mine know that being a college coach has always been a distant dream of mine. After my sister Launa started wrestling in high school, I have been a huge advocate for girls wrestling. Girls’ wrestling has brought a lot of good to the sport. I feel honored to be a part of its growth.”
Snow College plans to begin competitive wrestling in the fall of 2022 with a schedule against various NJCAA opponents and some four-year schools.
“This is a big challenge, but we feel there is a need in this area to provide an opportunity for more local kids to both get a quality education and have a chance to compete nationally,” said Snow College Athletic Director Rob Nielson. “We see this as a win-win situation for the community, the college and the students that will be involved in the program.”
Bastian recognizes the challenges that lie ahead, but he believes he is up for the challenge and ready to make a difference in the sport he loves.
“I’d be lying if there wasn’t an individual component to this opportunity,” said Bastian. “I’ve spent a lot of time and energy focused on the mastery of this sport, and I look forward to the test. I’m excited to help these kids surpass themselves and see the joy they receive from the fruits of their hard work and discipline.”
Taylor also believes Snow College is up to the task. “We are starting from scratch. There are a lot of unanswered variables logistically that we need to work through or set up for the first time,” said Taylor. “There is going to be some natural growing pains through the norming process. The bright side here is that we have an overwhelming amount of support and community members that want to see this program succeed.”
The Snow College Athletics website snowbadgers.com will have more information on recruiting and schedules in the near future.