In Memory of Mike Gleason

On April 20th, Michael Gleason of Williamsburg, VA formerly of Vienna, VA died of injuries sustained in a biking accident. Mike was a dedicated coach at all levels of youth wrestling.

A football player at Yorktown HS, and an active club weightlifter, he began coaching wrestling with Vienna Youth when his son Mark showed an interest and eventually became the Commissioner.

During the time Mark was on the wrestling team at George C. Marshall High School, Mike helped the team in various support capacities. In 2005 after Mark graduated, he became an assistant coach to Jason Planakis at Marshall. 

With his booming voice, Mike was a presence at wrestling tournaments. Mike always helped the wrestlers while shouting next moves or encouragement.  He was named the Liberty District Assistant Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2012. Mike continued as an assistant wrestling coach at Marshall until 2020. For the past three years Mike helped coach with Jason at John R. Lewis High School.

Mike was a steady, positive influence on the wrestlers on his teams and wanted all his athletes to succeed, on and beyond the mat. He worked with any student that wanted to succeed at wrestling, regardless of gender of disability.

He stressed the importance of academics, healthy lifestyles, and personal responsibility. An example of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle was Mike’s famous Birthday Challenge.  Each year he would do pushups on his birthday, a number equal to his age.  In January of 2022 he did “75 for 75” at Lewis.

A people lover, he always had a handshake, a backslap, or a story to share with the coaches, referees, students and parents. He had many friends throughout wrestling in Virginia.

A donation to the U.S. Wrestling Foundation (USWF) in memory of Mike Gleason will go to support the #LetsWrestle program.  It closely aligns with Mike’s philosophy to “give all students the opportunity to improve themselves through the sport of wrestling.”