California's Simpson adds women's wrestling, hires Zhang as coach

Simpson University will be adding women's intercollegiate wrestling to its sports roster and has named Fan Zhang as head coach, the northern California school announced Friday.

Zhang brings a diverse wrestling and coaching experience to the new women's program at Simpson University. This past year, he served as head women's wrestling coach at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Wash. Before heading to the Pacific Northwest, Zhang spent three years as an assistant coach for the storied men's NCAA Division III wrestling program at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa where the Knights have won eight national titles in the past decade, with four of those with Zhang as a coach (one of those as a volunteer assistant while he was earning his Master's degree in Leisure, Youth and Human Services at University of Northern Iowa.)

While in Iowa, Zhang also coached the Iowa Girls State Team, leading several junior and cadet female wrestlers to Junior Folkstyle National Champions and ASICS All-American achievements from 2012-18.

As a wrestler, Zhang was a seven-time national champion in his native China and was named one of the Top 10 Outstanding Athletes in Beijing, a metro city of over 13 million people, in 1997.

Born in Mongolia and raised as a child in Beijing, Zhang moved to the U.S. in 2008.

The new women's program at Simpson will take to the mats in fall 2019, joining an existing men's program. Both will compete in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) West. The new program will be the 19th varsity sport at Simpson, and the 25th women's program in the NAIA.

Simpson University is a private, four-year school located in Redding in northern California, about two hours north of Sacramento, the state capital. Founded in 1921, Simpson has an enrollment of approximately 1,200 students.


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