Moenkedick found success as a wrestler during his time at Concordia, as a two-time NCAA National Champion, three-time All-American and still holds the all-time career wins record for the college. Now as head coach, Moenkedick looks to grow and challenge the young student-athletes on the Cobber wrestling team

Phil Moenkedick

What is unique about the Cobber experience as a student-athlete?

I can speak most intimately to this experience within the sport of wrestling at Concordia. I think what is unique about this experience is that there is a philosophy of taking an individual approach to accomplishing program goals. There is not a “one size fits all” approach. Each individual has different needs in order to maximize their potential as a student, athlete, and person. This experience is unique in the effort that is put forth to identify and provide the resources for those individual needs so that each individual has the opportunity to maximize what they are capable of during their time here.

Could you tell us about your time as a student-athlete at Concordia?

I was a physical and health education major at Concordia and, during those four years, I was very blessed in the experience that I had. I developed extremely close and meaningful relationships with teammates and coaches. I even named my oldest son after my head wrestling coach, Clay Nagel.

A large part of my experience that I didn’t necessarily appreciate until later on in my life was how it exposed me to a level of diversity that I didn’t have prior to coming to Concordia. This consisted of exposure to and education about different backgrounds, viewpoints, religions, etc. It caused me to reflect on, challenge, and dive deeper into my own background and viewpoints. It helped me change in some areas and strengthened others. An example would be that my Catholic faith was strengthened as a result of being challenged by, exposed to, and engaged in dialogue with people of varying faith backgrounds and worldviews. 

Learning how to engage with people of varying opinions in an effective and respectful manner was a part of my experience. Athletics was, by far, what I was most consumed by and engaged in. I was fortunate to have a high level of success in an environment, led by coaches, in which wrestling was a tool to learn and develop characteristics that would be effective in my life after college. Overall, I was extremely blessed and fortunate in my experience as a Cobber student and athlete and it was a very formational experience in regard to where and who I am currently.

What makes the wrestling program at Concordia special?

The focus is on the person as a whole. Athletic success is a large part of that focus, but it doesn’t stop there. There is a high expectation that each individual in our program is going to be responsible for controlling the controllable areas in their life in a way that allows them the opportunity to realize their potential as a student, an athlete, and a person – to be the best version of yourself in every aspect of your life. There is a very high standard and the result of a group of people living and holding one another accountable to that standard is personal growth and extremely intimate and meaningful relationships.

What is your favorite part about coaching at Concordia?

Working with young people who are striving to grow and challenge themselves to maximize what they are capable of. Helping young people overcome challenges and adversity in a way that many of them have never encountered prior to their experience here and getting to be a part of guiding and witnessing that growth. It is very fulfilling to engage in the process of helping people develop and attack their goals.

What advice do you have for a prospective student-athlete at Concordia?

Seek out the right fit. Don’t look at what is going to be the easiest, get the most recognition or be the most comfortable. Seek out the experience that is going to challenge and support you in becoming the best version of what you are capable of being.