Chris Pendleton coaching at the Pac-12 Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Corvallis -- Chris Pendleton, one of the most successful collegiate wrestlers in the history of the sport, has been selected to lead the Oregon State program, Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced Monday. His appointment is contingent on the completion of all university hiring processes.
Coach Pendleton arrives at Oregon State after spending the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Arizona State. The Sun Devils have won three of the last four Pac-12 titles, including scoring 141.5 points (most by ASU since 1993) on its way to the conference crown earlier this month. ASU finished the shortened season ranked No. 6 in the country and defeated seven top 20 teams, including snapping No. 1 Penn State's 60-match win streak.
"The interest in this position was incredibly high, but as the process moved forward Coach Pendleton quickly rose to the top," Barnes said. "Coach Pendleton's focus on the development of student-athletes on and off the mat aligns with the Oregon State culture.
"He is an exceptional leader, teacher, and tactician. His pedigree as a high-level recruiter will benefit this storied program going forward, and we are excited to welcome him to the Oregon State community."
During Coach Pendleton's tenure at Arizona State, Sun Devil wrestlers accounted for two national championships, seven All-America honors, and 25 league titles. The 2019-20 team was one of three in the country to have six wrestlers nationally seeded for the canceled NCAA Tournament. ASU also won 15 dual meets last season, the most for the Sun Devils in 31 years, and set a program record for attendance averaging 2,862 fans per meet.
"When I started on my path in wrestling I had no idea where this journey would take me; I am beyond grateful that it has led me to become the head coach at Oregon State University," Pendleton said. "This program and the state of Oregon has a rich wrestling history that I'm excited to a part of.
"I would like to thank Scott Barnes, Dan Bartholomae, and the rest of the search committee for giving me this incredible opportunity to mentor and develop student-athletes' lives. I'm looking forward to helping build The Dam!"
InterMat Magazine named Pendleton one of the top 10 wrestlers of the 2000s after compiling a record of 118-12 in his four years (2001-05) at Oklahoma State. He was a two-time NCAA champion and earned three All-American honors at 174 pounds. The Cowboys won three NCAA Championships during his competitive career.
"Coach Pendleton's experience goes beyond the college scene as he is an impactful presence with Team USA," Barnes said. "He is a three-time Team USA member as a competitor and has served as a coach with the men's and women's wrestling teams. His wealth of experience will be extremely beneficial to the aspirations of the student-athletes in our program."
He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Oklahoma State following his senior year. Wrestlers accounted for 19 All-America honors in his five seasons and the 2006 NCAA title. He left Oklahoma State for an assistant coach position at Wyoming, where he helped the program win multiple league titles and wrestlers earned six All-America titles between 2011-15.
Coach Pendleton was the California prep champion at 145 pounds at Lemoore High School. He is a 2006 graduate of Oklahoma State with a bachelor's degree in sociology.
"I want to thank chairperson Senior Associate Athletic Director Jacque Bruns, Executive Deputy Athletic Director Dan Bartholomae, and the entire search committee for their professionalism in making this outstanding hire," Barnes added.
ABOUT OREGON STATE WRESTLING
First Season: 1909
Head Coaches: 17
NCAA All-American Honors: 93
NCAA Top-10 Finishes: 19
Dual Meet Record: 1,053-359-28
Conference Team Championships: 51
What They Are Saying About Chris Pendleton
"It's exciting to see Chris move forward in his career to become a head coach. OSU has hired one of the best young coaches in the country, and in doing so has made all of our jobs tougher on the West Coast." Oklahoma State five-time NCAA Championship Head Coach John Smith
"I would like to wish Chris good luck as the new head wrestling coach at OSU. I'm personally going to miss his passion and knowledge for the sport of wrestling. OSU is getting a great coach, but a better young man." Scottie Graham, Arizona State University Associate Athletic Director
"I'm extremely happy for the opportunities that lie ahead for Chris. I had the privilege of being his teammate at Oklahoma State. There is no doubt in my mind, after following his successes since then, that he can make Oregon State into a national contender. He has all of the attributes needed to make a great coach. He has a proven track record that speaks for itself while coaching at Arizona State. I look forward to seeing his success in the future." Pat Popolizio, North Carolina State head coach and National Wrestling Coaches Association President
"I was really impressed with his interview and background. I think Chris is going to be a great coach at Oregon State. He had been a winner every place he has been and I have no doubts he will be a winner at OSU. I'm looking forward to coming back to Corvallis and watching a competitive team bringing a lot of excitement to the matches." Greg Strobel, a two-time Oregon State NCAA champion and National Wrestling Hall of Fame member