By Tamas Mondovics

Members of The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce got a crash course on the meaning of success from one of the most respected members of the community, Brandon High School Wrestling Coach Russ Cozart.

Cozart spoke to a room full of residents during the Chambers’ Synergy Membership Luncheon, held monthly on the first Tuesday at The Regent, located at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview.

Event sponsors included the Greater Brandon Foundation, Leadership Brandon Class of 2014, Service with Style, Shooters World, Tampa Bay Times, The Regent and US AmeriBank.

Following a brief introduction and special member recognitions led by event chairman Tony Del Castillo, Cozart entertained new and longtime members.

Considering his long history of running a winning wrestling program and a successful business in the Brandon community, Cozart, who was Brandon’s 2014 Leadership Award Recipient, had no difficulty commending the attention as he addressed the audience.

Known as a wrestling legend locally and across the world, Cozart has more than three decades of coaching under his belt. Coming to Brandon, Cozart had the privilege of continuing in the footsteps of his predecessor, Jim Graves, who by then claimed seven undefeated seasons and a state title.

But that was 34 years ago, followed by 34 years of all wins no losses, which was featured in an ESPN documentary entitled The Streak.

Cozart’s accomplishments at Brandon High include 23 State Championships, 101 individual State champions, 42 consecutive Hillsborough County titles, 39 consecutive district tiles and 13 consecutive State titles.

“I started out with a dream to be a coach at a winning high school with a program that wanted to be successful and had a supportive administration,” Cozart said.

As for his success Cozart emphasized to his audience that as a coach, he is also a businessman as the owner of the Brandon School of Wrestling.

“You must be an example to your team,” Cozart told Chamber members. “Being successful starts with leadership. The secret to my success starts with me and ends with me.”

In closing Cozart mentioned that he is often asked about retirement, which he said is in fact an odd question considering his view of where he currently is in life.

“I just now started having fun,” he said.

For more information about The Brandon Chamber of Commerce and its Synergy Luncheon, contact Christie Lemar, at clemar@brandonchamber.com or call 689-1221 ext. 8812.