Sanderson voted InterMat Coach of the Year for sixth time

Cael Sanderson coaching at the NCAAs in PIttsburgh (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Penn State head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson has been named 2019 InterMat Coach of the Year, the amateur wrestling website announced Friday.

It is the sixth time Sanderson has earned Coach of the Year honors in the award's 14-year history. What's more, it's the fourth consecutive year for the 39-year-old Utah native to have received this honor ... and it happens to be the fourth straight year Penn State has won the team title at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Presented each year since 2006 to the best collegiate wrestling coach in all divisions, the award is based exclusively on the votes of writers and executives at InterMat prior to the announcement of other college wrestling awards. Each staff member is asked to select five coaches and rank them from first to fifth based on their performance for the season just completed. Point values are assigned to each placement, ranging from one point to a wrestler listed fifth on a voter's ballot, up to nine points for a first-place vote.

Sanderson received half of the first-place votes from the InterMat staff, for a total of 49 points, to propel him to the top of the balloting for the fourth straight year. Close behind in the balloting was Rutgers head coach Scott Goodale who guided Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault to titles at 133 and 149 pounds, respectively ... making them the school's first-ever champs in the nearly 90-year history of the NCAA wrestling championships. Goodale received a total of 42 points, including one first-place vote, to put him in second place in this year's balloting. Also receiving one first-place vote each: Iowa State's Kevin Dresser (who place third overall, with 41 points), Minnesota's Brandon Eggum (in fourth place, with 20 points), Tony Robie of Virginia Tech (in sixth place, tallying 15 points), and Lock Haven's Scott Moore (coming in seventh, with 12 points).

Much has been made about a Penn State wrestling dynasty ... with the Nittany Lions having won eight team titles since Cael Sanderson took the reins of the program in April 2009, including four consecutive championships since 2016. (Penn State has a total of nine NCAA team championships, having won its first at the 1953 NCAAs with legendary head coach Charlie Speidel guiding his wrestlers to the crown in their home gym, Rec Hall.)

The NCAAs capped off yet another incredible season for Penn State with Cael Sanderson as head coach. The team built a perfect 14-0 dual meet record for the 2018-19 season. Among the season highlights: winning the Southern Scuffle title and breaking the tournament record in the process, as well as winning the Big Ten title by over 30 points.

At this year's NCAAs in Pittsburgh, Penn State had clinched the team title hours before the finals, tallying 137.5 points, approximately 40 points ahead of second-place Ohio State. The Nittany Lions had a finalist in fully half of the finals matches ... with three winning individual championships: Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal at 157 and 197 pounds, respectively (the third title for each), and Anthony Cassar winning his first national crown at 285.

To put Penn State's on-the-mat performance into perspective: The program now has had 26 individuals win a total of 46 national championships, including 23 under Sanderson.

2019 InterMat Coach of the Year Voting Results
1st-5th-Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)

1. Cael Sanderson, Penn State 49 (5)
2. Scott Goodale, Rutgers 42 (1)
3. Kevin Dresser, Iowa State 41 (1)
4. Brandon Eggum, Minnesota 20 (1)
5. Chris Ayres, Princeton 19
6. Tony Robie, Virginia Tech 15 (1)
7. Scott Moore, Lock Haven 12 (1)
8. Steve Costanzo, St. Cloud State 11
9. Doug Schwab, Northern Iowa 10
10. Sean Bormet, Michigan 9
11. Brian Smith, Missouri 7
12. Jim Moulsoff, Augsburg 6
13. Keith Gavin, Pitt 3
14. Tom Brands, Iowa 2
15. Chris Bono, Wisconsin 1
15. Glen Lanham, Duke 1
15. T.J. Miller, Loras 1
15. Tom Ryan, Ohio State 1

InterMat Coach of the Year Past Winners

2018: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2017: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2016: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2015: Tom Ryan, Ohio State
2014: Tim Flynn, Edinboro and J Robinson, Minnesota
2013: John Smith, Oklahoma State
2012: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2011: Mike Denney, Nebraska-Omaha
2010: Rob Koll, Cornell
2009: Tom Ryan, Ohio State
2008: Tom Ryan, Ohio State
2007: Cael Sanderson, Iowa State
2006: John Smith, Oklahoma State


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rburke1024 (2) about 5 months ago
While I applaud Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions for their championships this past week, I have to believe this award now goes to the national champ coach. Otherwise Rutgers Scot Goodale should have been a more serious contender for the award...
DannyClarke (2) about 5 months ago
Cael is certainly deserving of this award and his accomplishments at PSU cannot be overstated. However I think instead of presenting this award to Cael for the 6th time it would have better served the wrestling community to present this award to another deserving coach. Coach Goodale is building Rutgers from the ground up. When Scott Goodale took over Rutgers they didn't even have national qualifiers. This year they had their first and second national champion in program history AND their first Top 10 finish as a program. Achieving parity in our sport is no small task and Goodales effort's should be commended. Just my personal opinion.
psulou64 (2) about 5 months ago
PSU is my alma mater and I love what Cael has done there. That being said I would have had to give the nod to Goodale this year. Two champions is a giant accomplishment. Being born and raised in New Jersey I have always said that if Rutgers could keep the top high school wrestlers in the state it would be a powerhouse that could be competing for team championships every year. Being that 4 Champions are from New Jersey from this year only helps prove my argument.
BadgerBoy (2) about 5 months ago
Cael is a great coach. However, a better criteria than the team title would be teams that exceed their seeds and expectations. Several Penn State kids wrestled below seeding. Same issue with other sports, the coach of teams outperforming expectations is most deserving!
cradleman (1) about 5 months ago
Almost like giving the sportsmanship award to a kid that loses. Cael deserved the award and his kids are top notch. I'm very much ok with him receiving it as his program has been a great representation of our sport. His kids should also receive sportsmanship credit and that is something that Rutgers is not even close to receiving anything sportsmanlike at this point. Hopefully that changes because they do have some great wrestlers. Suriano actually took a great step in the right direction this year. And he was an absolute stud.
jamper1 (1) about 5 months ago
I have been a season ticket holder at Penn State 20+ years and I agree with the other comments about giving it to a more deserving coach whose team exceeded their expectations. And I also think the award should go to the coaching staff because the assistants do as much and probably even more than the head coach. After saying all of that Cael has done an amazing job here at Penn State.
Lehigh Fan (1) about 5 months ago
Thought Kolat would get at least a little bit of love for what he's been doing at Cambell. No small hill to climb in building a program there.
Lehigh Fan (1) about 5 months ago
Campbell University. Sorry, poor phone typing skills.