ISU transfer back in business at Iowa
By Andy Hamilton "¢ Iowa City Press-Citizen "¢ July 3, 2009
Rankings apparently came into play when Tyler Clark made his decision to leave Iowa State and transfer to Iowa.
The two-time NCAA qualifier was listing some of the factors Thursday that led to his departure from the Cyclones when the business major mentioned the University of Iowa's Tippie Business School, which recently ranked 44th nationally by U.S. News. Iowa State was unranked.
Of course, Iowa's No. 1 wrestling program factored into the equation too.
"Right now," Clark said, "this is the place to be."
Clark, a 125-pounder, feels so strongly Iowa is the place for him that he's sacrificing a scholarship check and an opportunity to compete next year to join the Hawkeyes.
Clark said Iowa State granted him a conditional release after coach Cael Sanderson left the Cyclones for Penn State and Kevin Jackson took over in Ames. Clark was restricted from transferring to Iowa penalty-free. Thus, he can't have contact with Tom Brands or the Iowa coaches until his first day of classes in the fall, he'll have to pay his way through school next year without scholarship assistance and he won't be eligible to compete for the Hawkeyes next season.
Clark's situation is similar to what four current Hawkeyes went through in 2006. Seniors Brent Metcalf, Jay Borschel, Dan LeClere and Joe Slaton, along with graduated senior T.H. Leet, left Virginia Tech after their first year at the school to attend Iowa and follow Brands, who had been named the head coach of the Hawkeyes that April.
Clark, however, didn't use his redshirt at Iowa State so he won't lose a year of eligibility next season and has two years left to compete.
"I would like to wrestle," Clark said. "I'm on track as it is to graduate in four years. I've kept up on my schooling, so it would've been nice to graduate and have wrestling done in four years and focus on getting my master's. But it might be a blessing in disguise. This could be a big improvement year for me. Not having that redshirt coming straight out of high school, I gained a lot of experience and I really didn't have a chance to focus on my weak areas. This might be a time I can do that."
Clark said a year of strictly training will give him an opportunity to hone his basic skills and get back to wrestling with an attacking style.
"I was like that in high school, and I kind of drifted away from that," he said. "I'd like to get back to the way I was " always attacking, always being the aggressor."
Clark picked Iowa State over Iowa during his senior year at Bettendorf. He said he was drawn to Ames by the recruiting pitch and plan that Iowa State assistant Cody Sanderson offered and envisioned himself going into engineering at the time.
The Cyclones pulled Clark out of redshirt for the National Duals in 2008. He went 18-12 as a freshman and posted a 25-8 record last year, notching a victory in January against national champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana before going 1-2 at the NCAA Championships.
Clark said "there were quite a few factors" that led to his decision to leave Iowa State.
"Obviously, coach Sanderson quitting was a big disappointment. I really liked him and it sucked to see him leave," he said.
"I wanted to wait and see who the (new) coach was. There had been rumors that (Iowa assistant) Terry (Brands) was going to take the job, so I wanted to wait and see. I didn't really make a decision until I found out who the coach was. I went and talked to coach Jackson maybe two and a half weeks after that and told him I wanted a release."
Jackson told The Des Moines Register he got the feeling Clark "wasn't comfortable with the change" and said Clark "would have had a tough time making our lineup next year with Andrew Long and Anthony Valles."
"That's not the reason I left," Clark said. "I don't run away from a challenge. If I did, I wouldn't be coming into the returning national champions' room, so it's not that I'm running. But at the same time, he's got to motivate those guys who are still there. Anthony Valles and Andrew Long are both tough competitors, and he's got to find a way to motivate them."
Clark will be reunited with high school teammates Jordan Johnson and Nick Trizzino at Iowa.
"I've talked to a lot of guys (at Iowa), and they've been pretty nice and welcoming," Clark said. "They haven't really held any grudges that I know of. I've talked to some of the guys at Iowa State, some close friends and they all understand. They just said you've got to do what's best for you, and I believe this is the best place for me right now."