Tito Santana recently spoke with Michael Rothstein for ESPN.com; you can read a few highlights below:
Tito Santana comments on why he became a teacher:
I had a degree. When I went to college, I graduated with a physical education major and Spanish minor, and I hadn’t used it because I was involved in sports. My eighth-grade gym teacher, Luis Sanchez, got me involved in sports. He got me starting to play football my freshman year, and he was a big, positive role model for me and put me on the right road. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would have not. I was a quiet guy. I never would have gotten involved in sports.
So, he made a big difference in my life, and when I got to college I decided I was going to be a coach and hopefully that I would do the same thing for somebody like [how] he helped me out. That’s the main reason. And, it was my wife who kept telling me, “Why don’t you try teaching? Why don’t you try teaching?”
Teachers didn’t make a lot of money and I just said, “I don’t know how we can afford to live on a teacher’s salary.” But it all worked out.
Santana reveals which one wrestling moment really stands out for him:
It was probably when I wrestled Greg “The Hammer” Valentine in Baltimore. I had been chasing him for the Intercontinental Championship, and finally I beat him in a cage match and there were maybe only 18,000 people at capacity, but it was sold out. The “pop” that we got when I won the match was just unbelievable.
Do his students know or ask about his wrestling career?
They know. Their parents were wrestling fans, so I can’t tell you how many times kids come up and say, “My mother used to be in love with you. She was about 5, 6, 7 years old.”
When I have some downtime, I’ll let them put a match on the smartboard or the computer and we watch it. For them, my last name is Solis, they call me Señor Solis. I don’t talk about wrestling that much.