WSC Alumnus Shane Carwin to Fight for UFC Interim Heavyweight Title
Feb. 24, 2010 -- When Shane Carwin’s hopes of a National Football League (NFL) career vanished, he relied on his education to provide for his family.
These days, the 1999 alumnus balances family, work, and a career as a professional athlete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). On March 27, the undefeated fighter will contend for the UFC interim heavyweight title in Newark, New Jersey.
Carwin’s interest in mixed martial arts (MMA) was sparked by his friend, Ron Waterman, who requested his assistance with wrestling while preparing for a fight. Instantly Carwin was hooked and began looking for places to train.
His career in the UFC has been nothing short of dominating. He is currently undefeated at 11-0 and all of his fights have been won in the first round. His nickname is “The Engineer.”
His agent, Jason Genet, estimates that five to ten million viewers will tune in for his heavyweight title. He will take on Frank Mir, who is ranked third in the world.
The fight, obviously, means a lot to Carwin.
“I’ve always wanted to test myself against the very best opponents I could,” he said. “Mir has the talent to be the best and he is exactly what I envision for a real challenge.”
Carwin came to Western from Greeley, Colo. He was raised by a single mother who encouraged his athletic pursuits, but most of all, put an emphasis on education.
“I’ve been involved with competitive sports since I was six, but my mother impressed upon me that education was more important than anything,” he said.
Carwin credits his former wrestling coach Greg Waggoner with taking a chance on him, which ultimately led him to attend Western.
“Coach Wags believed in me and my abilities,” he said. “He went out on a limb that most schools were not willing to do by giving me the opportunity to play football and wrestle.”
Waggoner, who is now the athletic director at Western, was also a mentor to Carwin, in sports and in life.
“He is one of the main reasons I am where I’m at today,” he said. “He not only taught me about wrestling but the mental game, lessons about life and how to be a true man. I hope that my kids are lucky enough to have someone like Coach Wags in their lives.”
Carwin’s athletic career was successful and prolific to say the least. As a wrestler, he had a record of 105 wins and only 28 losses, broke several WSC records, was the NCAA II Division Champion in 1999, and he was an All-American three times. Current head wrestling Coach Miles Van Hee coached Carwin from 1998-99 and to his National Championship.
For football, he played on three RMAC championship teams under Coach Duke Iverson, Carwin was a three-time all-conference defensive linebacker, he holds the WSC record for most tackles in one year, and he was twice named an All-American.
After his final year in football Carwin trained in an attempt to make the NFL, only to be shut down with a back injury.
Carwin has many great memories of his years as a student-athlete, and thinks of his coaches and fellow teammates fondly.
“Our football teams were dominating, we were hungry and we loved the game,” he said. “Our wrestling team was just as dominating and I think I’ll be friends for life with my teammates.”
It is not simply the competitions that stick out in his mind.
“When I think back, a lot of the time it is the memories of hanging out, fishing and hunting that me and my former teammates talk about the most,” he said.
After receiving his degree from Western in environmental technology, Carwin went on to get another undergraduate degree from the Colorado School of Mines in mechanical engineering.
Today, in addition to being a professional fighter, he works as an engineer with the North Weld County Water District. Carwin lives in Greeley with his wife, Lani. They have a newborn daughter named Alexis. He also has a son, Kamden, who is nine.
Carwin himself is grateful for the support he’s getting from his alma mater.
“Western brings back a lot of great memories for me, from the college to the community. I would like to say thanks for supporting a fellow Mountaineer. Western truly made me a champion out of thin air.”
Story by: Luke Mehall, assistant director of public relations