MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A wrestling coach in the Twin Cities is leading by example for her students on and off the mat.

Ms. Chandell Knox has broken barriers in the world of wrestling throughout her life. But at Harvest Network of Schools in North Minneapolis she coaches many students who live in an urban setting and are challenged economically and academically.

Through wrestling she gives them an outlet to a world full of opportunities. It’s what makes Ms. Knox an Excellent Educator.

“I love the competition, the discipline and the fact that it’s just you out there by yourself showing what you can do,” said Knox.

Chandell Knox (credit: CBS)

Wrestling has been part of Knox’s life pretty much since day one.

“I have seven brothers and that is probably what helped me out because they practiced dummy on me a lot,” she said.

But out of all those brothers it was her, a girl, who followed her grandfather’s and father’s footsteps. The third generation coach started as a successful wrestler.

“She was one of the first girls to win a city title and a state title wrestling girls,” said Sam Knox, her dad.

Knox went on to compete in Europe on the USA Wrestling Team. But she always knew she wanted to work with young people.

“A lot of these children out here I see myself in them, I was kind of rough too so I can kind of relate to them,” she said.

She coaches mostly boys with the goal of using wrestling as a window to a world they otherwise may not know exist.

“I hope wrestling provides a chance to get away from the neighborhood and the stress sometimes and be able to see bigger things beyond what’s around them,” she said. “Like when we travel up north I’m always excited when the children spot a cow or a llama and so they’re always excited to see all of Minnesota not just their small neighborhood, it tells you things are bigger than just a little spot.”

A once competitor now coach, making a difference.

“I can’t be more proud you just don’t know,” said her dad. “Every time I see her name I say that’s my daughter.”

Kim Johnson