PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Entering its inaugural season in the Big Ten Conference, the Rutgers wrestling program made a big addition to its coaching staff Friday, hiring longtime Big Ten coach and former grappler Donny Pritzlaff to its staff as associate head coach.
"I believe that this is one of the best coaches in the country and a hire that can change the landscape of this wrestling program," said head coach Scott Goodale. "Donny has years of Big Ten experience as an athlete, coach and recruiter. He is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country and will certainly make an impact immediately as we enter the Big Ten."
A decorated collegiate and freestyle wrestler, Pritzlaff owns more than 10 years of collegiate coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level. The Lyndhurst, New Jersey, native spent the last three seasons at the University of Michigan (2011-13) as an assistant wrestling coach after spending five years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the associate head wrestling coach.
"I feel like I can make a big difference here and I'm excited to get to work and start developing relationships with guys on the team and the whole athletic department," Pritzlaff said. "I think I felt drawn to Rutgers being in the Big Ten. I wrestled in the Big Ten and coached in the Big Ten Conference for many years."
"I've always felt pride in the state of New Jersey. I tried to get out here and recruit as much as I could when I was away. I feel really close to the kids that come out of the state and this area. It's going to be a great situation for everyone"
Pritzlaff mentored four Wolverine All-Americans in his time in Ann Arbor, Michigan, working closely with Kellen Russell, who captured his second NCAA title and fourth Big Ten title to finish a stellar collegiate career in 2012. Russell became just the 11th four-time Big Ten Champion in league history.
Two Wolverine grapplers reached the national podium in 2014, as Pritzlaff and the staff helped lead Michigan to a 17th-place finish at NCAAs in Oklahoma City.
An experienced recruiter, Pritzlaff has done nothing short of drawing top talent, securing a top-10 recruiting class in 2012 ranked No. 5 by The Open Mat, No. 7 by InterMat and No. 8 by W.I.N. Magazine.
Prior to arriving at Michigan, Pritzlaff served five seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin (2007-11), including his last two as associate head coach. He helped lead the Badgers to top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships in each of the last three seasons, including a fourth-place finish in 2010.
Pritzlaff was instrumental in developing the Badger middleweight wrestlers, battle-testing notable performers under his tutelage such as NCAA champion and three-time All-American Andrew Howe, NCAA finalist Craig Henning and All-Americans Tyler Turner, Zach Tanelli and Kyle Ruschell.
Pritzlaff previously served as an assistant coach at Hofstra University (2004-06) and as a volunteer assistant at Wisconsin (2002-03). While at Hofstra, Pritzlaff worked with three-time All-American Jon Masa and two-time All-Americans Mike Patrovich and Chris Skretkowicz, helping guide the Pride to three-straight Colonial Athletic Association titles and an 11th-place NCAA finish in 2006.
As a collegiate wrestler at Wisconsin (1998-2001), Pritzlaff compiled one of the most impressive careers in the program's history. Pritzlaff was a two-time NCAA 165-pound champion (2000, 2001) and four-time NCAA All-American, placing fifth as a junior at 165 pounds in 1999 and sixth as a freshman at 150 pounds in 1998.
Pritzlaff's success has continued on the international scene, as the experienced grappler completed a successful eight-year career in the 74 kg/163-pound freestyle division. He captured the bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships and earned medals at the Pan American Championships (silver, 2006), New York Athletic Club Holiday International Open (gold, 2001; silver, 2005; bronze, 2002, '03, '04), Henri Deglane Challenge (bronze, 2002), Dave Schultz Memorial International (gold, 2002, '05) and Sunkist Kids International Open (gold, 2002; silver, 2004). While in college, Pritzlaff captured the 1998 Junior World championship at 70 kg.
A native of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Pritzlaff graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. He and his wife, Robin, have two daughters, Adalena and Onaliese.
RU enters its inaugural season in the Big Ten with 13 grapplers returning that earned dual starts in 2013-14, including a handful of highly anticipated redshirts and transfers expected to make key impacts next season. The team's full 2014-15 Big Ten Conference slate was released in April and is listed below.
Ticket information for the 2014-15 Rutgers wrestling season is not yet available and is expected to be released at a later date as the season draws nearer. To be placed on the waiting list for wrestling season tickets please call 1-866-445-GORU (4678) or email the ticket office at firstname.lastname@example.org.