As Daishawn Tilghman tried his best to enjoy the summer between his junior and senior year of high school, he had a looming decision to make – where would he continue his education and athletic career? Having had notable success in both football and wrestling, Daishawn was fortunate enough to have several viable options in front of him across all three collegiate divisions. While he was grateful to have so many choices for his future, however, he found himself overwhelmed at times and struggled to narrow his shortlist of schools based on the factors that were most important to him. While Bloomsburg University was always a school Daishawn had interest in, initially, it wasn’t among his top choices. Albeit a Division I school with a respectable marketing program (his desired field of study), and within a reasonable proximity to Philadelphia, Bloomsburg’s rural setting and lack of diversity gave him pause.
That summer, Daishawn attended Freestyle/Greco-Roman Nationals in Fargo, ND. It was there, halfway across the country, that Daishawn had a chance encounter with a former coach in PRTC athlete & Bloomsburg alumni, Richard Perry. For a number of years Rich made time to have a consistent presence in BTSP wrestling rooms throughout Philadelphia. Daishawn fondly remembers Rich having coached him at both the PAL Center in Port Richmond & Belmont Charter.
Where normally, a high school wrestler might find it intimidating to approach someone of Richs’ caliber, Daishawn’s personal connection with Rich made the conversation easy:
“When I saw Rich out at Fargo coaching with team Connecticut, I jogged right over to him. I hadn’t seen him in a while, but I remembered him coaching us over the years at Beat the Streets & I knew he was a Bloomsburg guy. After talking to him, as a black role model who had success there, I think that was when I really started looking at Bloomsburg as a serious option.”
Whether Rich realized it in the moment or not, his conversation with Daishawn was extremely impactful. Daishawn walked away with an entirely different attitude toward Bloomsburg. In summation, he said “If a guy like Rich went there, had a positive experience and found success there, I can too.” After returning home, Daishawn took a more proactive approach to deciding his future. He initiated follow-up conversations with the coaching staff, took visits to campus, and announced his decision this past March. He’s no longer intimidated by the new environment he’s walking into – instead, he’s excited for the new experiences in front of him!
We’re so proud of Daishawn. He’s accomplished so much as a wrestler, but frankly, we’re infinitely prouder to see the type of young man he’s grown up to be. As sad as we are to see him leave us, we know his departure is only temporary and we can’t wait to see the impact he has on younger wrestlers for years to come.