Brandon Eggum coaching at the NCAAs (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
Former University of Minnesota wrestler and assistant coach Brandon Eggum was made interim head coach of the Golden Gopher wrestling program Wednesday, after head coach J Robinson was fired by the school's athletic director for "just cause" over the 30-year coach's handling of alleged prescription drug use on the part of some of his wrestlers.
In the span of approximately six weeks, Eggum held three titles at Minnesota. As recently as late July, Eggum was head assistant coach. On August 1, the Sidney, Montana native was made acting head coach when Minnesota AD Mark Coyle put Robinson on paid administrative leave. On Wednesday, Eggum became interim head coach.
Eggum joined the Minnesota coach in 2000, immediately after graduating. He is about to embark on his sixteenth season as a coach at his alma mater, having spent nearly two decades at the school as a student-athlete and member of the coaching staff.
Brandon Eggum the wrestler
Brandon Eggum at the 2001 World Team TrialsBefore setting foot on the Minnesota campus, Brandon Eggum was a three-time Class A Montana state champion. He graduated from Sidney High School in 1995, then headed east to the Twin Cities to continue his education and wrestling career.
Eggum was a four-time letterwinner for the Gophers from 1997 to 2000. As a sophomore, Eggum earned NCAA All-American honors at the 1998 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, placing fifth in the 177-pound bracket. In 1999, Eggum moved up to 184 pounds, where he won the first of two Big Ten titles (defeating Penn State's Ross Thatcher, 6-3, in the finals), then, a couple weeks later, made it to the 184 finals at the 1999 NCAAs, losing to eventual four-time champ Cael Sanderson of Iowa State, 6-1. As a senior, Eggum notched another Big Ten crown (over Illinois' Nate Patrick), then earned his third All-American honor at the 2000 NCAAs, placing third at 184.
During Eggum's time as a Minnesota wrestler, some referred him as "little Lesnar" for his resemblance to his heavyweight teammate -- and future UFC/WWE champ -- Brock Lesnar. Eggum's impressive physique was matched by some muscular statistics. His 115 career wins -- along with his .833 career winning percentage (115-23) -- both put the Montana native among 25 best in Gopher history, while his 61 dual victories is tied for 12th.
Eggum was not only a standout on the mat, but also in the classroom. He was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and 2000 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. Eggum graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2000, with a bachelor's in Applied Economics.
Brandon Eggum competed in Real Pro Wrestling (Photo/Danielle Hobeika)In addition to his folkstyle wrestling career in high school and college, Eggum also competed in freestyle. Among his highlights: he earned a silver medal at the 2001 World Freestyle Championships as well as at the 2002 Pan American Freestyle Championships, and was a bronze medalist at 2003 U.S. National Freestyle Championships.
What's more, Brandon Eggum twice participated in Real Pro Wrestling, a venture from the previous decade which provided amateur wrestlers with an opportunity to continue to compete in their sport, and earn some money doing it. Real Pro Wrestling bore little resemblance to WWE; it was a hybrid of various amateur styles, with wrestlers wearing fight shorts (without shirts) competing on a raised circular mat. Eggum was a participant at a premiere event in 2002 (which was akin to a TV show pilot, to show to potential networks and advertisers) ... as well as the first and only official season in 2005. Real Pro Wrestling served as inspiration for some more recent pro ventures such as Agon and Tour ACW (Association of Career Wrestlers).
Brandon Eggum the coach
Right after hanging up his college headgear, Eggum launched his long coaching career at Minnesota. Starting in 2000, he served as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator. In 2004, Eggum became an assistant wrestling coach. For the past five seasons, Eggum had been head assistant coach to J Robinson.
Brandon Eggum coaching at thje 2016 Big Ten Championships (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)During Eggum's time on the coaching staff, the Gophers won three NCAA team titles in 2001, 2002 and 2007 ... and a total of five Big Ten team titles. What's more, Eggum helped Minnesota wrestlers win 62 NCAA All-American honors, including nine individual national titles and 27 individual Big Ten conference crowns.
As an assistant coach, Eggum played a part in the national title-winning efforts of Luke Becker, Jared Lawrence, Dustin Schlatter and Jayson Ness, as well as two-time champions Damion Hahn, Cole Konrad and Tony Nelson. All seven of these NCAA champs also won Big Ten titles during Eggum's tenure ... along with these conference titlewinners: Garrett Lowney, Owen Elzen, Ryan Lewis, Leroy Vega, Jacob Volkmann, Mack Reiter, C.P. Schlatter, Roger Kish, Mike Thorn, Kevin Steinhaus, Dylan Ness and Chris Dardanes.