Seven candidates to consider for Iowa women’s wrestling head coach

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IOWA CITY – Perhaps the most important next step in building Iowa’s women’s wrestling program is.

Who will be the coach?

“We’re going to hire a coach, the best coach in America,” said Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta expressed mostly similar thoughts when asked what he looked for in the program’s first coach. He also said Brands and deputy director of sports and senior women’s administrator Barbara Burke would be involved in the rental.

“I don’t know how to answer other than that we are going to look for the best coach,” Barta said. “We want to win championships. We’re going to look for the coach who we think can get us there.

“I would be a fool not to rely on Tom’s expertise as we go looking for a new head coach.”

After discussions with members of the wrestling community over the past week, we’ve created this list of seven potential candidates as Iowa continues the hiring process, along with other names. at the bottom that could also be taken into account.

Clarissa Chun, American Wrestling

Chun is currently USA Wrestling’s top female wrestling assistant. She has been a decorated athlete, five-time US Open champion, two-time Olympian and five-time member of the senior world team. She won a world title in 2008 and Olympic bronze in 2012.

She joined the USA Wrestling team in 2017, under the guidance of Women’s Head Coach Terry Steiner, and has helped lead the US Senior Women’s Team to new heights. With her on the team, the United States won 10 total world medals: five gold, two silver and three bronze.

Most recently, Chun played a vital coaching role in USA Wrestling’s remarkable performance at the 2020 Olympics, where the US women’s freestyle team won four medals, led by gold from Tamyra Mensah- Stock. For perspective: The United States had won five all-time medals in women’s freestyle before winning four in Tokyo.

Nate Engel, Oregon State

Engel is currently an associate head coach with the State of Oregon, having previously been an assistant for one. Before arriving at Corvallis, he coached at Stanford for two seasons and, before that, in the Navy from 2014 to 2018.

Considered a fantastic wrestling spirit, Engel has a ton of top level experience. He was a member of the U.S. National Team twice in his own competitive career and coached the U.S. Greco-Roman World Junior Team at the 2018 World Junior Championships.

While in the state of Oregon, Engel also worked with the Beaver Dam Regional Training Center, which includes a star team of wrestlers like Adeline Gray, Alyssa Lampe, Mallory Velte, Alexandria Glaudé and Skylar Grote. Engel was Gray’s personal trainer at the 2020 Olympics and coached her to a silver medal in Tokyo.

Jessica Medina, United States Wrestling

Medina is currently the National Women’s Development Coach for USA Wrestling, a role she has held since 2019. She has been instrumental in the rise and success of USA Wrestling on the international world stage. Last summer, the US women’s cadet and junior freestyle teams both won world team titles.

The cadets finished with seven medalists, including three champions, and won the first-ever Cadet Women’s World Tag Team title in American wrestling history. The juniors put five on the podium and four won gold, marking the first time the United States won multiple junior women’s world titles in the same year.

Many of those girls who have won medals and represented the United States on both teams are about to become available for recruitment. Medina already has a great relationship with them and has shown her ability to develop this age level into wrestlers who will soon be the future of America’s senior women’s teams.

Lee Miracle, Campbellsville

Miracle is currently the head coach in Campbellsville, Ky. And has led the Tigers to incredible heights since taking the job in 2013: two Women’s College Wrestling Association National Team Championships and, most recently, the National Championship. NAIA 2021.

Miracle has coached eight people at 13 national championships in eight seasons. This includes his daughter, Kayla Miracle, four-time WCWA National Champion, member of the 2019 World Team, 2020 Olympian and sole member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

Lee Miracle, a Navy veteran, has coached all levels of wrestling over the past two decades. He was a volunteer coach of the US Women’s World Team in 2011 and US Assistant at the 2012 World Championships, and he helped coach the World Junior Team in 2017.

Jason Moorman, King University

Moorman is currently the head coach of women at King University in Tennessee, one of the most successful female varsity coaches. Since 2009, he has led King to four national team championships as well as four national doubles titles.

King wrestlers racked up over 100 All-American honors at the WCWA National Championships under Moorman, including 10 wrestlers who were four-time All-American. His wrestlers have also combined to win 20 individual national titles, and two, Haley Augello and Sarah Hildebrandt, have been on the US Olympic team.

Moorman has been named WCWA Coach of the Year three times during his career. His CV speaks for itself. Since resuming women’s work, King has been a consistent and consistent winner when it comes to women’s college wrestling.

Sam Schmitz, McKendree

Schmitz is currently the women’s head coach at McKendree, Ill., Which is another successful women’s college program. Schmitz has been the coach since the program started in 2013 and has gradually made McKendree a national powerhouse.

Under Schmitz, the Bearcats have won three national team titles, as well as back-to-back doubles national crowns in 2019-20. Her wrestlers combined for 68 All-American accolades – including 2021 national champion Felicity Taylor of South Winneshiek. McKendree had eight wrestlers qualified for the US Olympic trials last spring.

Schmitz has also been active assisting USA Wrestling coaches, having participated in trips to the World University Games in 2013, the World Junior Championships in 2015, and the World Cadet Championships each of the past two summers. Three of his wrestlers were on age-level world teams last spring.

Terry Steiner, American wrestling

Steiner is currently the Head Coach of the USA Wrestling Women’s Freestyle Program and has been instrumental in not only the overall growth of the US Senior Women’s Freestyle Team, but has also been a strong advocate. and ally of the overall growth of girls and women struggle across the country.

A former Hawkeye and 1993 NCAA Champion, Steiner has been USA Wrestling’s top coach since 2002 and has guided the US women’s program to 48 total world medals: 13 gold, 11 silver and 23 bronze. In the last quad, from 2017 to 2019, the United States won 10 world medals in total, followed by four Olympic medals in Tokyo last summer.

It may be odd for Steiner to leave his post at USA Wrestling, but the idea here is that he could leave the women’s program in the very capable hands of Chun and Medina to return to Iowa City to coach the Hawkeyes. It might be overkill and may not happen, but it’s a fun idea and would make a splash as a first-time hire in Iowa.

Other names to watch out for

  • Justin abdou: The women’s head coach at Simon-Fraser who led SFU to second places at the WCWA Nationals in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  • Joey bareng: The women’s head coach at Menlo College who led the Oaks to WCWA and NAIA team titles in 2019, and was named WCWA, NAIA and National Coach of the Year Wrestling Coaches Association.
  • Adeline Gray: One of the most successful acrobatic wrestlers of all time, five-time world champion and most recently Olympic silver medalist. Could she go straight into a head coaching role after finishing the competition?
  • Vladislav Izboinikov: Nicknamed “Izzy” and two-time USA Wrestling Female Coach of the Year award winner. He was the personal trainer of Jacarra Winchester and Tamyra Mensah-Stock at the 2020 Olympics.
  • Helene Maroulis: Another incredibly decorated wrestler, double Olympic medalist and first American gold medalist in women’s wrestling. Could she be ready to enter coaching immediately?
  • Tamyra Mensah-Stock: The face of the USA Wrestling Women’s Program right now, 2019 World Champion and 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist. It would be a slam-dunk rental if she’s ready to train.
  • Marc Perry: Could Former Hawkeye Wrestling Club Coach Come Home? Unlikely, because Perry loves his Arizona State gig, but it’s a fun idea.
  • Aaron Sieracki: Currently female trainer for the Army World Class Athlete (WCAP) program. He was named USA Wrestling Female Coach of the Year in 2015 and was instrumental in building the WCAP Women’s Team, which includes a handful of former and current team members. global.
  • Troy steiner: Terry’s twin brother, another former wrestler Hawkeye and former coach of Fresno State, who dropped out of the program last year. There’s a fight going on to save Fresno State, much like the efforts that saved the fight from Stanford, but Troy coming to Iowa City for that job makes sense.
  • Ashley Sword: Currently the head coach at Life University, who finished second at the NAIA National Championships last year. Sword and Iowa have had a great working relationship in recent years, ranging from helping out with women’s wrestling camps to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club Showdown Open.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.


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