Each year in college wrestling, there’s something of a game of musical chairs as dozens of coaches are promoted at their present schools, or move on to greater opportunities at other programs.
Among the more significant coaching moves in 2011:
- Cody replaces Spates at Oklahoma: In January, Jack Spates announced he would be retiring after 18 seasons as head coach at the University of Oklahoma to enter the ministry. Three weeks after being named NWCA Coach of the Year at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Mark Cody left American University to take the reins of the Sooners.
- Russell leaves Gophers for George Mason: Joe Russell, who’s been on the coaching staff at University of Minnesota for 17 years — the last four as head assistant to head coach J Robinson — was named head coach at George Mason University outside Washington, D.C. The Gophers then promoted mat-alums-turned-staff-members Brandon Eggum (to Russell’s position) and Luke Becker (to Eggum’s previous job).
- Coaching changes bring together Wolverines, Badgers, Sooners and Hawkeyes (oh my!): Now here’s a real game of musical chairs. It all started in early May, when the University of Michigan fired Kirk Trost and Mike Kulczycki, who had been on staff for 23 and six years, respectively. On June 12, Donny Pritzlaff resigned as top assistant at University of Wisconsin; Jared Frayer was promoted to Pritzlaff’s spot. On June 17, Pritzlaff announced he had joined the staff at Michigan (along with Sean Bormet). The next day, Frayer left the Badgers. In July, Mark Cody announced that Frayer — along with Tyrone Lewis and Michael Lightner — would serve as his assistants at Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Wisconsin unveiled its new coaching staff, with University of Iowa All-American Ryan Morningstar, and former Badgers Kyle Ruschell and Trevor Brandvold working for head coach Barry Davis.
Want to know more? Click on the link Coaching Changes to see links to the full roster of College Wrestling Examiner articles on the hirings and firings on coaching staffs.
College Wrestling Examiner’s Top Ten Stories of 2011
For the last week of the year, the College Wrestling Examiner will take a look back at some of the top news stories (and news trends) involving college wrestlers, and/or affecting collegiate wrestling, that we’ve covered in 2011. For links to the entire list of Top Ten Stories of 2011, click here.
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