(Editor's note: Cascade Collegiate Conference media release)
With COVID-19 putting live sporting events on hold, the Cascade Collegiate Conference wanted to take the time to highlight families within our #ThisIsTheCCC community. Many of our member institutions have administration, coaches and student-athletes family members competing together, making the CCC truly a family affair.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Steve Komac has been coaching for over 25 years, long before his sons were born and people used to ask him if he would want his kids to get into wrestling some day.
“I would reply, ‘Oh, I don’t care. They can do whatever they want,’” said Steve, who is the Interim Head Men’s Wrestling Coach at the University of Providence. “Then I had kids that were running around on the mat everyday, then they start wrestling in the living room and it just happens. I am very fortunate my kids took to wrestling and made it their own. It has been a very rewarding experience over the years.”
The Komac house was definitely a wrestling house growing up. Jarren and Jordan both fell in love with the sport they grew up around and would “practice” in the house all the time.
“I think growing up with an older brother and wrestling with Jarren all time – getting into little fights in the basement – made us who we are,” said Jordan, a redshirt freshman 165-pound wrestler at UP.
They both played other sports in their youth, but Jarren only wrestled from middle school on. He was hooked.
“All of my wrestling career, I have always looked up to my dad,” said Jarren, a redshirt senior 141-pound grappler for the Argos. “He taught me so much about the sport and all the things that make you fall in love with wrestling.”
Over the years, having a constant grappling partner, as well as a coach, under the same roof has led Jarren and Jordan to really develop their craft.
With wrestling a part of the Komac DNA, it led Jarren to wrestle for the University of Providence. Jordan followed three years later and Steve was hired as the interim head coach prior to this last season, giving the three men one season all together.
“It was always a dream of mine to wrestle in college,” said Jarren, who is majoring in accounting and business administration. “To have my brother Jordan wrestle at the same college along with my dad now coaching there was an added bonus.”
While Jordan grew up loving wrestling, he also loved football and grew up thinking he would play in the NFL. When he decided to continue his wrestling career past high school, Jarren and some of his other teammates were at UP so it was always something in the back of his mind.
“I always wanted to go out of state and chase the NCAA Division I dream, but some things don't always work out the way you envision them,” said Jordan, who is an HPE education major and would like to follow in his dad’s footsteps as a wrestling coach. “I had a difficult choice, but I am very happy with my decision.”
His choice didn’t take him far from home as Jarren and Jordan both grew up in Great Falls, Mont., where UP is located.
“It is awesome because it truly feels like home,” said Jordan. “It is fun to have my family a part of this team and wrestling in front of our home town.”
It wasn’t Steve’s plan to follow his sons either, but an opportunity came up and he decided to take it.
“I have been their club coach, their high school coach and I always thought that I'd pass them on to someone else for college,” said Steve, “but life takes us in directions we are not always expecting.”
Having their dad as their coach has had its ups and downs for the Komacs, similar to a wrestling bout.
“There were definitely some hard times between the father/son coaching relationship, and wrestling with Jarren everyday; however, I think it made us all better,” said Jordan. “My father and I have learned so much from each other. I learned how to be more coachable with him, and he learned how to kind of take a step back. Jarren and I have learned so much wrestling each other as well because we wrestle differently, which helps a lot.”
Since the three Komac men are together at UP, it has also allowed the whole Komac family to spend quality time together.
“Wrestling has allowed us to spend a great deal of time together since my work and their activities happen in the same place,” said Steve. “We are always together, and that includes Mom and our youngest son Jace (12).”
Steve’s wife Dawnell has been the glue that has stuck the Komacs together and the Komac men are very grateful for her support.
“She has bought in, supported, and traveled many miles for many years and while keeping the family grounded,” said Steve of his wife, who he believes is the “toughest person in the family. We are all extremely thankful for her!”
Jace is in middle school and enjoys playing a variety of sports, including wrestling, so it is still to be determined if he will follow in his father’s and brothers’ footsteps. Whatever he chooses though, wrestling will always be a part of the Komac household.
“Having my younger brothers Jordan and Jace wrestling felt like it brought our family even closer together,” said Jarren. “We all have one thing in common: we love to wrestle. I am very thankful to have my family be a wrestling family.”