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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    15 Years of Cael Sanderson at Penn State

    On April 17th, 2009, Penn State shook up the wrestling world by hiring Cael Sanderson to become their next head coach. Sanderson had just completed his third season at the helm at his alma mater, Iowa State - the school he attended while winning 159 straight collegiate matches and three Hodge Trophies. One has to wonder if such a move would have been kept under wraps with today’s constant barrage of social media and the possibility of cell phone cameras everywhere. 

    The fact that the move was done without any leaks made it more shocking that it already had been at face value. Would Cael really leave his alma mater and a senior-laden team who had hopes of knocking off Iowa for the 2010 national title, just to try something new at Penn State? 

    It turned out Sanderson knew exactly what he was doing as he went to the most high-profile school in the best wrestling state in the nation and quickly built a dynasty. In only his second year, Penn State captured the 2011 NCAA team title, which was the first for the school since 1953. Three more followed. As did plenty of individual and team wins and honors along the way. 

    The numbers under Sanderson are staggering. To put things into perspective, we’ve illustrated some of the key accomplishments under Sanderson at Penn State - during his first 15 years. After that, we have Penn State’s numbers in some of those same categories in the 15 years (1995-2009) prior to his arrival in Penn State. And as a reminder, we also have outlined some of the “firsts” for Cael, many of which occurred in that initial 2009-10 season. 

    First 15 Years Under Cael

    Record: 203-16-2

    Big Ten Dual Record: 112-11-1

    8 Big Ten Championships

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