If you have watched Steve Rounsaville conduct a Kodiak Kid Wrestling Club practice and seen how he handles kids who barely reach his knees, you would understand why he was recently inducted into the Alaska Wrestling Hall of Fame.
However, weeks after being honored at the Alaska Airlines Center during the high school state wrestling tournament, he is still pondering why he was selected.
“It’s an honor, but if I was voting on it, I don’t know if I would have voted for me,” Rounsaville said.
Rounsaville has been a part of the island’s wrestling community for four decades, first as a wrestler for Kodiak High School, then as a coach.
His lifelong commitment to wrestling on The Rock has him in the hall alongside Kodiak greats Jack King (Rounsaville’s uncle), Joe Floyd, Scott Norton, Pat Costello and Dan Carstens, who was inducted last year.
“I’ve been blessed to have good kids to work with and good coaches,” Rounsaville said. “God gives me the ability to keep coming up to the room.”
Rounsaville started wrestling as a youngster in Port Lions. His dad was his coach, and they wrestled on horse-hair mats in a small room in one of the old buildings in the village.
“He knew nothing about wrestling, and we rolled around and practiced stuff that we didn’t know,” Rounsaville said.
That year he attended his first tournament in Kodiak and was pinned twice. A year later, he was a freshman and moved into the dorms at Kodiak High School.
After a “terrible” freshman season, Rounsaville caught fire and only lost six matches for the rest of his prep career. He won regions as a junior, but a knee injury kept him from wrestling at state. He returned to finish third at state as a senior.
After graduating in 1977, Rounsaville landed at Willamette University in Oregon, where he wrestled for two years before knee injuries ended his career.
It was then he turnedto holding a whistle. He returned to Alaska in 1986 and has been coaching wrestling in the Kodiak archipelago every since. He has helped at Kodiak Middle School, Kodiak High School and with the Kodiak Kid Wrestling Club.
“I just like working with kids,” Rounsaville said. “I like seeing them improve, rather they are going to a second-place to a first-place or never winning a match to winning their first match.”
For the last 10 years, he has been the first coach of many wrestlers, working with the kindergarten through second-grade classes.
“They are just a blast to coach,” he said. “You can’t have any expectations, because they are just here to have fun and run around.”
Nathan Benton, another lifelong member of the Kodiak wrestling family, said Rounsaville has the perfect peronality to work with youngsters.
“He has a good reputation with the kids. He has made it fun for them and keeps it positive,” Benton said.
Rounsaville acknowledged that wrestling is not a lifelong sport, but it builds character and gives athletes the tools to succeed in any enviroment.
“I don’t know if I have made an impact on any kid’s life. I hope if I did, it was more than just a wrestling coach,” Rounsaville said. “Wrestling did a lot for me, and this community did a lot for me, so if I can have a positive impact on them, that is all I can ask.”