It has been a very difficult decision for me and my family to go to Penn State University. I have a deep passion and love for Iowa State University. But most importantly I love the staff and wrestlers at ISU like family. I really don't have the words to explain how hard this decision has been. My family and I feel terrible about the kids in the program. I don't have any soothing words to make this ok. It was a tough decision. It's was especially tough because the decision affected a lot more people then just me and my family.
There has been a lot of speculation as to why I have decided to take the job at PSU. I have taken the job because of the long term opportunity and limitless potential of Penn State Wrestling. When I say opportunity, I am not talking about money. I have answered many questions where people are speculating that I got a million dollar contract (dont know where that came from) or something ridiculous like that. The truth is that the offer I received was less then a 10% increase from what I made last year.
The reason I have chosen to take the opportunity to coach PSU is because Pennsylvania is consistently the top high school wrestling state in the country. PA also borders Ohio, NJ, and NY, three of the top ncaa wrestling all-American producing states in the country. Penn State is probably the most popular athletic department in the country. Penn State has more kids apply to school then any other school in the country. The potential is unbelievable. That is why I have decided to make the change at this time. Through a lot of prayer and discussion with my family I feel that I am supposed to go to Penn State.
The opportunity to step in and awake a sleeping GIANT is exciting. I know ISU will always be at or near the top. I feel terrible that I didn't accomplish what I said I would do at Iowa State and that was to win the national championship. That alone almost made me pass on what I feel is a better opportunity for my family. It hurts but down deep I know I have made the right decision. I can't explain that. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I had to compete and coach at Iowa State. I am grateful to Coach Douglas for recruiting me to Iowa State in 1997 and guiding me all the way through my competitive and coaching career.
I am grateful that Jamie Pollard gave me a chance to coach and for the outstanding support he gave me and the program along the way. ISU is lucky to have Jamie Pollard. I sincerely mean that. It was hard to tell Jamie that I was leaving because he has been so supportive of the program. I know that with the right guy ISU will win the NCAA title again very soon. The fact is that ISU has one of the richest traditins in all of college sports. What's important is that ISU Wrestling rolls on and continues to be a force in college wrestling. It will.
I think ISU is sitting in a great position for future success. There is a reason that ISU has the third strongest history in college wrestling. There is a reason that ISU has had close to 70 NCAA champions. The people of Iowa State are incredible. Iowa State has a great chance to win the national tournament next year.
This happened so fast that I didn't get a chance to talk to the many people that have been so special to me, before they heard the news through rumor or another source. I apologize about that. In addition to the kids in the program, ISU has some extremely loyal fans and supporters that I wanted to win so bad for. There are so many incredible people that I would like to thank, here a few names that really come to mind:
Jim and Joan Moore, Jeff Murphy, Tony Coltvet, Dan Paca and Kent Feeds, Gary Lynch and Lynch Livestock, The Jensen Family, Brad, Bev, Marcus and Matt, Jeff Gibbons, Joe Smith and Hunziker & Assoc, Frank Santana, Becky and Darrell Willhite, Jim McCoullough, Nick Passalano, John Allen, Willie Gadson, Barry Weldon, Matt Mulvihill, Derek Mountsier, Cecil Rueter, Bernadette and Ted Greedy, Tim Krieger, Mark Spangler, Lynn McElrath, Coach Les Anderson, Gary McCall, Bill Mitchell, The Kelly Brothers & Family, Tom Peckham, Al Nacin, Joe Paulson, Molly Donnelly, Jean Vogel, Tom Kroeschell!!, Carrie Drake, Cyon Williams, Dustin Gray, Nathan Terry, Ron "Bear" Gray, all of the ISU Staff, all the season ticket holders, and all of the CWC members and everyone else that has been so supportive.
Thank you all so much!!
I know there are many people who are disappointed and angry with me for the decision that I have made. I completely understand your frustration. Despite the many emails wishing me and my family ill will, I still love Iowa State and am very grateful for the 12 years of my life I spent in Ames. I have not ever questioned my decision to be a Cyclone and never will.
Go Cyclones! and Go Lions!