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Oklahoma State Wrestling

Oklahoma State Hires Olympic Champion David Taylor as Next Wrestling Head Coach

May 6, 2024
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STILLWATER – Oklahoma State formerly announced on social media on Monday night (May 6) the hiring of former two-time NCAA champion Penn State wrestler and USA Gold Medal winning Olympic wrestler David Taylor as the sixth head coach of the Cowboys wrestling program. Taylor follows another heavily decorated USA wrestler in two-time Olympic Gold Medal winning John Smith. Like Smith, Taylor has no formal coaching experience as the 33-year-old has been competing around the World in freestyle wrestling since his collegiate career at Penn State ended in 2014. There are similarities to the hiring of Taylor and the hiring of Smith, who went on to become the winningest head coach in Oklahoma State wrestling history.

Pokes Report
John Smith and Coleman Scott coaching together this season.

The hiring of Taylor will come as a surprise to many Oklahoma State fans and wrestling enthusiasts. It was assumed that assistant head coach Coleman Scott would follow Smith after Scott left the head coaching job at North Carolina to become the top aide to John Smith. Smith insisted that no promises were made when Scott was hired.

This will set off some alarms as Scott was instrumental in the improvement in the program this season and he received credit from Smith, the other coaches on staff, and the wrestlers on the team. It was universal.

Oklahoma State Athletics
Weiberg on the plane last month picking up Steve Lutz, the new OSU basketball coach.

Our sources at Pokes Report told us that several top donors and boosters to the program had suggested Taylor as a candidate. Pokes Report did confirm that Oklahoma State athletics director Chad Weiberg made a trip to State College, Pa. to meet with the former Nittany Lions wrestler and Olympic and multiple World Championship Gold Medal winner. Weiberg had dinner with Taylor and they discussed the job. The reported donors and Weiberg’s interest could be the thought of making a “John Smith” type hire. The difference is Smith, while he had not formally coached before Oklahoma State hired him, he did completely know the lay of the land having grown up and wrestled in the shadows and inside of Gallagher Hall. 

Weiberg, who previously had only hired one coach in women’s basketball coach Jacie Hoyt, has now hired two head coach for two prominent sports in the last month in Taylor for wrestling and previously Steve Lutz for basketball. 

This hire will be considered outside the box and will be looked at as a splash hire that could either be tremendously successful or some will look at it as a slap at one of the program’s own. Weiberg has to look at it as hiring the best coach he can find for one of college athletics most successful all-time programs, regardless of sport. 

Nittany Lions Wrestling Club
David Taylor

Taylor, who just finished his freestyle wrestling career at the 2024 Olympic trials in April, was a two-time national champion at Penn State, where he finished his career as a two-time Hodge Trophy winner, just the third multi-award winner in NCAA history, a four-time Big Ten champion and with a 134-3 overall record, including 50 pins, 42 tech falls and 29 major decisions.

Following his collegiate career, Taylor went on to post a 152-21 overall record in freestyle wrestling, which included three US Open Championship gold medals, three Pan American Championship gold medals, one World Cup gold medal, three World Championship gold medals and an Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo games. 

Taylor has been a mainstay in helping Cael Sanderson build the powerful Penn State program as a wrestler for the Nittany Lions and Sanderson. Since his collegiate career, he has remained in State College as a resident athlete with the Nittany Lions Wrestling Club. He has competed under that support system and has contributed to the entire Penn State operation.

This is a quote from his bio in the Nittany Lions Wrestling Clube website: “David’s personality, attitude, and success on the wrestling mat have contributed greatly to the success of the entire NLWC program.” 

One of the greatest concerns in hiring Taylor is what happens when current Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson decides to retire? He is young, but he is extremely accomplished. Does Taylor factor as a candidate to succeed his former college head coach? By then you hope Taylor has made Oklahoma State his home and is having success equal or greater to Penn State.

Oklahoma State is expected to have a formal press conference to introduce Taylor later this week. The details on that will come out on Tuesday. 

Discussion from...

Oklahoma State Hires Olympic Champion David Taylor as Next Wrestling Head Coach

7,101 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by RodeoPoke
TUSKAPOKE
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Not sure this was the best move. I am not sure the program had stagnated to the point there needs to be a house cleaning. I feel for Cowboy Coleman Scott giving up a head coaching job to come back here. I still feel when going to Penn State to get a coach you get Sanderson and spend the money to do it. Maybe the boosters who pushed for Taylor will pony up the funds for the new training facility. I hope that was part of the deal. GO POKES!!!
RowdyRawhide
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An absolute shocking hire!
Richard Kunze
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As suggested at the end of RA's story, this appears to be Taylor's stepping stone job to place himself in line for a departure of Sanderson.
We have had a century of success with wrestling coaches in Stillwater being our own!! The only outsider in that time was Joe Seay and even John Smith said last week that was a bad decision by Myron Rodrick.
RodeoPoke
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I'm excited... what we were doing hasn't worked in a long time.

Maybe this will get the new wrestling facilities off the ground too
Zen
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I would suggest that Richard K. go back and read the transcript of John Smith's retirement event because he said that Roderick firing coach Chesbro was a bad decision. Seay won a NCAA title during his time as OSU coach and before that his Division 2 program won multiple NCAA titles at Cal-Bakersfield.
After watching Cowboy wrestling for the past 57 seasons I believe our program has stagnated and that is what bothered coach Smith the most. There has not been enough talent on the team. One or two super stars at the most each season of late. While PSU has 4-5 guys each season contending for NCAA individual championships. The writing was on the wall. This will turn out to be one of the greatest hires in all of OSU sports. Chad listened to the right people. Yes, seems likely that Cael will someday get bored with all that success and retire in order to spend more time with his hobby of doing artwork. DT would be his logical choice to replace him at PSU. That could be a long way off from now. Only new seed yields a new crop. This is a clean sweep. We finally have the PSU/Cael Sanderson playbook. Kudos for Chad for bucking the system and bringing in new blood to revive the program! We can assume that the super donors have pledged significant NIL money in order to once again bring the level of talent needed to compete against PSU. It will be interesting to see who DT will want to be his assistant coaches. He would be wise to let Coleman Scott show him the ropes for one year while Coleman seeks another head coach position. I would replace the rest of the coaching staff. This is really exciting for Cowboy wrestling. DT as coach along with enough NIL funding. How does this plan not succeed? We already have a few young guys on the roster who could be successful and it sounds like a few more at that level coming in. That's a good foundation. The athletic department is not tolerating mediocre results. It's all about championships; "loyal and true" got thrown out the window with the advent of NIL. The baseball program, I think, is going to be soon evaluated, especially because of inconsistent relief pitching and difficulty hitting good pitching. Some really great individual talent on these teams, but the teams, as a whole, not reaching their potential lately. Go Chad go!
NJAggie
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This is a turn I wasn't expecting, but sometimes you have to tap into what's working. Everyone in the world has tapped into OSU now its time to maybe get some outside influences.
SirPokesAlot
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This is like hiring a new football coach at Alabama or Notre Dame. You don't just restrict your applicant pool to alums of those schools. You hire the best possible person to restore the glory. DT seems to be that person. Will the naysayers be unhappy if DT brings a string of national championships back to Stillwater?
RodeoPoke
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SirPokesAlot said:

This is like hiring a new football coach at Alabama or Notre Dame. You don't just restrict your applicant pool to alums of those schools. You hire the best possible person to restore the glory. DT seems to be that person. Will the naysayers be unhappy if DT brings a string of national championships back to Stillwater?
you're telling us that Alabama and ND hired guys to lead their programs with NO head coaching experience?

NJAggie
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Wrestling is a different beast almost all the best coaches have gone straight from top wrestler to top coach with no slog through the lower levels of coaching.
RodeoPoke
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NJAggie said:

Wrestling is a different beast almost all the best coaches have gone straight from top wrestler to top coach with no slog through the lower levels of coaching.

If you say so.... for example...

Cael Sanderson had a 44-10 record in 3 seasons as HC of his alma mater Iowa State before taking over the Penn State job.

Sanderson began his wrestling coaching career with the season ending in 2004 as a special assistant at Iowa State. After short stints in associate head coaching positions, he became the head coach for the season ending in 2007. In three seasons, Sanderson led Iowa State to NCAA Division I finishes of second, fifth, and third overall
NJAggie
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RodeoPoke said:

NJAggie said:

Wrestling is a different beast almost all the best coaches have gone straight from top wrestler to top coach with no slog through the lower levels of coaching.

If you say so.... for example...

Cael Sanderson had a 44-10 record in 3 seasons as HC of his alma mater Iowa State before taking over the Penn State job.

Sanderson began his wrestling coaching career with the season ending in 2004 as a special assistant at Iowa State. After short stints in associate head coaching positions, he became the head coach for the season ending in 2007. In three seasons, Sanderson led Iowa State to NCAA Division I finishes of second, fifth, and third overall

Well lets start with John Smith and Myron Roderick. Then you have Ed Gallagher who never wrestled or coached before taking on the job.

I think Dan Gable did it as well.

RodeoPoke
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NJAggie said:

RodeoPoke said:

NJAggie said:

Wrestling is a different beast almost all the best coaches have gone straight from top wrestler to top coach with no slog through the lower levels of coaching.

If you say so.... for example...

Cael Sanderson had a 44-10 record in 3 seasons as HC of his alma mater Iowa State before taking over the Penn State job.

Sanderson began his wrestling coaching career with the season ending in 2004 as a special assistant at Iowa State. After short stints in associate head coaching positions, he became the head coach for the season ending in 2007. In three seasons, Sanderson led Iowa State to NCAA Division I finishes of second, fifth, and third overall

Well lets start with John Smith and Myron Roderick. Then you have Ed Gallagher who never wrestled or coached before taking on the job.

I think Dan Gable did it as well.


LOL... I thought he was talking about the modern era, not 4 decades and more ago
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