Penn State Sports from WPSU

November 23, 2009
07:17 PM

Wrestling Preview

Posted by Steve Jones

It is amazing what one hire can do to energize a program.  The hiring of Cael Sanderson as the head wrestling coach has energized a program stunned the wrestling world and excited the Nittany Nation fan base.

Sanderson is the new era Dan Gable.  The 169-0 and Olympic Gold medal are huge recruiting tools.  Let’s face it…he walks into a living room and the wrestler and the parents say…IT IS CAEL SANDERSON! 

But Sanderson has never had a finish outside of the top five as a head coach and won three straight Big 12 titles.  He has proven that he knows how to teach and motivate.

Penn State signed four wrestlers in the early signing period.  The four wrestling recruits have combined for six PIAA titles heading into their senior seasons.

Sanderson also stunned everyone by red shirting his freshman class.  It was a daring move but one made with the security of a long-term commitment.  He knows what he wants and Sanderson knows how to get there.

The wrestling fan base at Penn State is loyal but vocal.  They were as stunned as anyone to see Penn State hit this kind of hiring grand slam.  With hire they have responded.  Many remember the 50’s and 60’s when you could not find a seat in Rec Hall.  The home dual meet with Bloomsburg drew better than 4,000 fans.  Remember that was for a dual meet in November. 

The four home dual meets that will take place in January and February will be against Big Ten teams and Rec Hall will be rocking.

So far Sanderson has generated recruits and rejuvenated a fan base.  Now the mission is to make it a long-term situation that will make Penn State the wrestling envy of the nation on the mat and in the stands. 

Check out Penn State Access Granted in December when Kellie Goodman sits down with Nittany Lion head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson.

Check out an excerpt from our recent interview with Cael Sanderson.

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{name} Author: Steve Jones
Bio: Penn State Sports play-by-play announcer. Check for Steve's posts each week.


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