An Iowa wrestling coach who trained Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez at Red Bank High School in suburban Chattanooga, Tenn., recalls him as someone who was mature beyond his years.
Kevin Emily said Abdulazeez, blamed by authorities in the shooting deaths of four Marines and a sailor, seemed to have an inner peace that prevented him from becoming ruffled even after losing a match.
“Whoever that was who did those things two days I don’t know,” Emily, now a wrestling coach at Waterloo West High School, said Saturday in a telephone interview.
Abdulazeez, who graduated high school in 2008, was well-liked and respected by his teammates, but Emily said he didn’t recall him dating in high school or having a girlfriend.
Wrestling is an intense sport and participants have to “be able to turn it on and turn it off,” Emily said, but Abdulazeez had an unusually calm demeanor.
“I can’t recall him getting mad even when he got beat,” he said.