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Doane fires head coach Hansen days before national tournament

Matt Hansen, head coach at Nebraska's Doane University for the past three seasons, has been fired just days before the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) wrestling championships.

Matt Hansen
Hansen was informed of the school's decision Friday, Feb. 15; Doane wrestlers got the news the following week. The 2019 NAIA wrestling championships start this Friday, March 1 in Des Moines.

Hansen's biography has been deleted from the official website for the Doane wrestling program. The school recently advertised the open position at InterMat.

Matt Franzen, Doane Athletic Director, offered this explanation of Hansen's dismissal: "It was a personnel decision made by the department that we will go in a different direction with the head wrestling coach."

However, at least one Doane wrestler believes there are other reasons for Hansen's dismissal.

Zach Linton, a junior who has been a national qualifier, told the Doane Line student newspaper that he was told the reason behind firing Hansen was to get a head start on getting a coach who could begin recruiting right away. However, Linton blamed Hansen's firing on the athletic director, saying Franzen had been undermining the Doane wrestling program.

"At Doane we don't get enough money, we don't get the room (a designated wrestling room)," Linton said. "It is all about money and enrollment for Doane, not about winning."

Franzen denied Linton's allegations. Coach Hansen did not respond to the Doane Line's query.

Franzen denied accusations that he does not support the wrestling program, saying that assistant coaches will accompany Linton to the Nationals later this week in Iowa. Zach Linton hopes to follow in his older brother's footsteps. Cody Linton won the 197-pound title at the 2016 NAIA championships, becoming the school's first national mat champ.

Hansen had been the second head coach since the Doane wrestling program was reinstated after having been eliminated in the 1970s.

Prior to taking the reins of the Doane Tiger mat program in fall 2015, Hansen had served as an assistant coach at Luther College, Hastings College, and Simpson. Hansen wrestled at University of Nebraska-Kearney, where he was a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Division II wrestling championships.

Doane University is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in Crete, Neb., just southwest of Lincoln, the state capital. The school has an enrollment of approximately 2,900 students.

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