Cael Sanderson: Wrestling sensation

Video posted April 15, 2013 in Sports by Richard Cancro


Penn State has a rich wrestling history. Take a walk through the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex at Recreation Hall, where the wall is lined with plaques honoring the school’s past wrestling greats, and you will feel vibes glory. Cael Sanderson has taken the team's high standards to a whole new level.

In his four years as the Nittany Lions’ head coach, Sanderson has brought three straight championships to the school. His team says he’s not only a good teacher, but also a great motivator who brings a level of discipline that most people don’t have.

“He’s a motivator. He tells us what to do and how to do it, but he also motivates us to give our very best performance,” said Matt Brown (sophomore, 165).

Sanderson won four national titles in his college days. He went 159-0Sanderson at Iowa State and took home the gold at the 2004 Olympic Games.

“That’s where you’re the best in the world. It comes around every four years, so it means a lot. In our sport, the gold medal, that’s what it’s all about. The greatest of wrestlers are Olympic champions,” said Sanderson via The Jim Rome Show.

An olympic gold medal is the highest achievement a wrestler can achieve.

“It’s what everybody wants to win. Even before I won one, I couldn’t have pictured my life without being an Olympic champion,” Sanderson said.

His wrestlers said the key points of his coaching, the things that put his team above all the others, are that he always encourages his wrestlers to outlast the opponent, to fight to the final second, and most importantly, to have fun while doing it.

“Were having fun,” Brown Said. “Every other team gets tired but we’re having fun, and I think that’s a lot of our coaching, they encourage that.”

Most people wouldn’t think of fun as a theme for one of the toughest guys out there, but Sanderson said it's an important element of his game.

“What we’ve got to do is take care of ourselves and make sure each one of our guys is improving, and if we do that we can just go compete and have a good time,” said Sanderson.

The idea seems to be working. His wrestlers have been on top of the country for three years in a row, and they all say the same thing: he’s a great coach. 

“He’s a good man. He’s the best coach in the nation, in the world. He’s a good motivator and he tells you what to do. You couldn’t ask for anyone better,” said Dylon Alton (sophomore, 157).

“He’s awesome. He’s a good guy, [he’s] got a sense of humor too,” said Nico Megaludis (sophomore, 125).

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Wrestlers talk about keeping in shape during the offseason and looking forward to next year.