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From wrestler to lecturer

Published on October 11, 2022

From wrestler to lecturer

Shirzad Ahmadi driven through life by wrestling

Shirzad Ahmadi competes in the final match of the 1967 Iran University National Championship.

Eastern physical sciences lecturer Shirzad Ahmadi’s résumé looks like it could belong to three different people. He has been a wrestling coach at several universities in New England, and he spent over 30 years as a high-school science teacher. Oh, and he has won national and world titles as a wrestler. The drive to take his life down this path, he says, comes from wrestling.

Shirzad Ahmadi

Ahmadi’s journey began in Iran, where he had to serve two years in the military after earning his bachelor’s degree. He won four national college wrestling championships prior to graduating. During his service, Ahmadi made the Iranian national wrestling team. This led to being sent to Italy in 1973 to represent Iran in the Military World Championship, where he won a gold medal.

In 1976, at age 26, Ahmadi immigrated to the United States. What prompted him to leave Iran? “The main goal in that time was to continue my higher education in the science field,” explained Ahmadi, “since there was no master’s or Ph.D.-level program in Iran then.”

While following his passions for science and education, Ahmadi made a one-year stop at the University of Hartford “just to learn the English language.” He then studied histology at Bridgewater State University before finally starting a master’s program in cardiovascular physiology at Northeastern University.

He received his master’s degree, and in keeping with the theme of traveling, returned to the University of Hartford. This time, his role was professional, as he had earned the job of head wrestling coach. Unfortunately, this position came to an end in 1987, when the University of Hartford lost its wrestling program.

Ahmadi at the 1973 Russian University Olympic Games.

Ahmadi made the most of this adversity, continuing to teach chemistry and physics at Stafford High School, where he had been hired in 1980. He also taught in the Connecticut technical high school system for four years. For the last seven years, Ahmadi has been a lecturer at Eastern, teaching chemistry and physics.

All the while, Ahmadi has remained a coach. His credentials include coaching at American International College for 18 years and Western New England University for 6 years before being hired at Trinity College, where he is now entering his 10th season.

His competitive wrestling career also continued. Ahmadi has spent the past 40 years trying to make the US team in freestyle Olympic wrestling. He shone on the world level in the process, winning numerous medals for the US. These accolades added to his already-decorated career, along with having been a two-time alternate for the Iranian Olympic team and having made the final tryout for the US Olympic team twice.

A decorated person in education, wrestling and coaching, Ahmadi’s journey has taken a very high level of motivation and drive. When asked where this drive came from, Ahmadi said, “I do know that wrestling gave me the drive to get where I am now, especially academically, morally, and financially.”

Ahmadi started as a national champion wrestler in Iran, where there was no higher education available in his field of choice. Now, he has three impressive careers, two of which result from his pursuit of higher education overseas, the other a sport in which he never lost his competitive drive or ability.

Written by Noel Teter

Categories: Physical Sciences