After a 10-year run as tournament director of the Beast of the East, Bobby Shaw is stepping down the position and letting Steve Lex take over.
Shaw took over as tournament director from previous director Vic Leonard, who ran it for the first 10 years, and he cites a couple of reasons why he chose to step down.
“Ten years at this time of year, you’re not around your family, and you’re down here the whole weekend,” said Shaw, a 1976 state champ at Salesianum. “To run the Beast of the East as tournament director, you have to work at it 12 months of the year. It’s a lot of work, and I thought it was time to spend some time with my family.”
Shaw has brought in several innovations that have greatly improved the experience at the tournament. He helped bring in big screen that gives spectators an idea of where each match takes place and added the track wrestling Web application, which allows people to keep track of each match.
Shaw specifically named Lex as his successor and had nothing but praise for him. Shaw said the tournament will not miss a beat with Lex as tournament director.
“Steve Lex is a very good guy. He’s very detail-oriented. With the Beast at this level, and the teams you have to deal with, you have to be detail-oriented,” Shaw said. “Steve’s been with us a couple of years, and he knows it because he’s run the whole floor operation and getting everything set up.”
Salesianum coach Cameron Davis said the biggest thing that Shaw has brought to the Beast of the East is his ability to get things done using his business savvy.
“It’s going to be his dedication. I’ve known Bobby for a long time, and he’s got a good business sense and [is] a good businessman,” Davis said. “That is something he brings to the tournament. In order to get something like this done, you have to be a doer.”
While stepping down as tournament director, Shaw will still be a part of the Beast of the East as a worker, rolling up mats and continuing in his role vice president of the Delaware Wrestling Alliance.
Shaw said the one thing he will miss the most is the relationships he’s developed with coaches from all the schools that participate on a yearly basis.
“Whenever I go to different event, you see these coaches,” Shaw said. “I’ll miss hearing how people enjoy coming here.”
Four schools have grappled in every Beast: St. Mark’s, Sussex Central, Blair and DeMatha (Md.).
The Beast is operated by the Delaware Wrestling Alliance and has raised $656,000 since its inception to fund college scholarships for high school wrestlers from Delaware. It has also exposed Delaware wrestlers to better competition that has significantly increased the number now wrestling collegiately – close to 40 this year, Beast founder Vic Leonard said. Proceeds also help send wrestlers to summer competition.
“When I wrestled and you were a Delaware state champion, you couldn’t even compete in Pennsylvania,” Shaw said. “I took offense to that. Now we’ve proven that our state champs can wrestle with anyone in the country, and they do it right here at the Beast, and they prepare that way and say ‘Here’s my opportunity to shine.’ “