Rob Koll(Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Just over a week ago, Stanford's athletic department shocked the wrestling community as they announced that the school would not drop wrestling and ten other sports, as announced in July of 2020. Today, another bombshell is in the works as we have learned that Rob Koll will be Stanford's next head coach.
Koll comes to Palo Alto after spending 28 years at the helm at Cornell. He took a team from a contender in the EIWA to perennial favorite in the conference and a consistent NCAA trophy threat. Under his leadership, the Big Red have won the conference 11 times and produced 16 NCAA champions. Koll's teams have finished in the national top-ten an astounding 15 times and he has gone 317-101 in dual competition. They have won four NCAA team trophy's including runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011.
Cornell has proven to be a recruiting force under Koll, as the 2021 Class was ranked third in the nation by InterMat and featured five of the top 100 wrestlers in the nation and ten of the top 300.
The school has also been successful on the International scene as Kyle Dake has won world championships in 2018 and 2019 and is a member of the 2021 Olympic Team. Additionally, Vito Arujau, still a member of the Big Red team, finished as an Olympic Trials runner-up. Current team member, Andrew Berreyesa was a Junior Greco-Roman silver medalist in 2018.
In addition to his accomplishments on the mat, Koll has been adept at mentoring successful head coaches. Matt Azevedo (Drexel), Steve Garland (Virginia), Damion Hahn (South Dakota State), Troy Nickerson (Northern Colorado), Brian Smith (Missouri) and Jeremy Spates (SIU Edwardsville) have all wrestled for or coached under Koll.
It remains to be seen what Koll will inherit in Stanford. Most of the team is currently in the transfer portal. The 2021 squad featured the school's second NCAA champion ever, Shane Griffith, along with a All-American in freshman, Jaden Abas. Real Woods was an NWCA All-American in 2020, as well. Despite many challenges along the way, the school managed to send seven wrestlers to the national tournament last season.
With Arizona State coming off a fourth-place finish in St. Louis and new life injected into the Oregon State program after the hire of Chris Pendleton, the Pac-12 should be very interesting in the future.