Sanderson named 2012 InterMat Coach of the Year

In just three seasons as Penn State's head wrestling coach, Cael Sanderson has taken the program to new heights. Last season Penn State won the Big Ten title and captured its first national title since 1953. This season the Nittany Lions not only repeated as Big Ten and NCAA champions, but put together a dominating postseason. Penn State scored 143.5 points at the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which was an all-time school record, and outdistanced runner-up Minnesota by 25.5 points. Five Nittany Lions reached the NCAA finals -- also a school record -- and three claimed NCAA titles.

Cael Sanderson (Photo/John Sachs,
For his coaching achievements, Cael Sanderson has been named 2012 InterMat Coach of the Year, as determined by a vote of InterMat writers and executives.

"The Sanderson-led Nittany Lions were outstanding all season long," said InterMat staff writer Tom Franck. "But perhaps the coach's biggest accomplishment was guiding three wrestlers to undefeated seasons: Frank Molinaro at 149, David Taylor at 165, and Ed Ruth at 174. While credit must go to the respective athletes themselves, one can't help but attribute a big part of their success to guidance from the only Division I wrestler to go undefeated four years in a row while winning four NCAA titles."

It marks the second time Sanderson has won the award. He was named InterMat Coach of the Year in 2007 while at Iowa State. Other past winners include Mike Denney (as Nebraska-Omaha head coach, 2011), Cornell's Rob Koll (2010), Ohio State's Tom Ryan (2008 and 2009), and Oklahoma State's John Smith (2006).

2012 InterMat Coach of the Year
1st-5th-Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)

1. Cael Sanderson, Penn State, 72 (4)
2. J Robinson, Minnesota, 48 (2)
3. Rob Koll, Cornell, 32 (2)
4. Tom Brands, Iowa, 20
5. JohnMark Bentley, App. State, 16
5. Tom Ryan, Ohio State, 16 (1)
7. Jim Heffernan, Illinois, 11
7. Pat Popolizio, Binghamton, 11
9. Jim Miller, Wartburg, 9 (1)
10. Mark Branch, Wyoming, 5
10. Pat Santoro, Lehigh, 5
12. John Smith, Oklahoma State, 3
13. Kevin Dresser, Virginia Tech, 1
13. Joe Renfro, Labette, 1
Sanderson received four of the 10 first-place votes and earned 72 points. Minnesota's J Robinson, who led the Gophers to a National Duals title and runner-up finish at the NCAAs, claimed second-place honors with 48 points, including two first-place votes. Cornell's Rob Koll also received two first-place votes and came in third with 32 points. Tom Brands of Iowa finished fourth in the balloting with 20 points. Appalachian State's JohnMark Bentley and Ohio State's Tom Ryan tied for fifth with 16 points.

Jim Miller of Wartburg (Division III) and Joe Renfro of Labette (NJCAA) were the only two non-Division I coaches to receive votes. Both coaches led their programs to national titles this past season.


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TODDLEWIS (2) about 11 years ago
Did not see this coming.
TYJEN6 (1) about 11 years ago
cael great but he had his whole team back and they were favored to win ????
TYJEN6 (1) about 11 years ago
tom ryan had 7 freshman 2 soph and 1 jr