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GFishHVT

Is Cael that much better a coach than all others?

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His success happened pretty quick compared to so many other coaches who have been coaching forever.  Why?  Because of his past as a competitor, do you think it’s just an honor for recruits to be recruited by the legend? So most choose him if he wants them? And that’s why they’re so good? Or do you think he’s just a great coach? I just think it’s weird that the USA legends when they were still wrestling, Dan Gable and Cael...just coincidentally have pretty fast success when they started coaching.  

They must be great coaches, but are they THAT MUCH better than the other coaches?  Or is it just flattering to be recruited by them and that’s why they get the great wrestlers.  

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He's is superior at:

1) Getting the recruits he wants

2) Choosing which recruits he wants (two separate things)

3) Keeping the coaching staff cohesive. Most coaching staffs need reality shows.

That combined with huge financial support and a perfect location for recruiting are what create the extremity of success. 

If you think he is just that much better in the room, that's very doubtful.

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15 minutes ago, GFishHVT said:

His success happened pretty quick compared to so many other coaches who have been coaching forever.  Why?  Because of his past as a competitor, do you think it’s just an honor for recruits to be recruited by the legend? So most choose him if he wants them? And that’s why they’re so good? Or do you think he’s just a great coach? I just think it’s weird that the USA legends when they were still wrestling, Dan Gable and Cael...just coincidentally have pretty fast success when they started coaching.  

They must be great coaches, but are they THAT MUCH better than the other coaches?  Or is it just flattering to be recruited by them and that’s why they get the great wrestlers.  

He's a great recruiter and he is in a great location. Another key is the style he teaches which mirrors his own wrestling style. He seems to know how to get the right wrestlers that fit his style, and then how to maximize their abilities to get them to their full potential. 

All coaches are trying to win championships and get the most from their wrestlers. When one coach keeps doing it better year after year you have to eventually realize he is doing something a little different than the others. 

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So two of the most successful wrestlers in US history just happened to coincidentally have a special talent for recruiting too? I’m not arguing. Maybe it’s true but I think their popularity as wrestlers helps, too. Flattering to becrecruited by them. And Penn State has always been in a great location being a hotbed of great high school wrestling, but the perennial national success they enjoy now didn’t start until Cael arrived. So I don’t think location enters into the equation as much as other factors.  Can’t argue with the success he’s had no matter what the reason for it is. 

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It's a combination of factors. Not every big-name wrestler becomes a long-term D1 wrestling coach.

Although there's J. Smith, there's also Baumgartner, Kemp, M. Schultz, Kevin Jackson, etc. And while there's Cael, there's also P. Smith and plenty of 3x D1 champs.

Cael appears to have learned how to be an effective head coach at the highest level (recruiting, coaching, team culture, administration, etc). Plus he has name recognition. Plus he's at Pennsylvania's flagship school -- a state that produces the most AAs. Plus he has financial support.

Edited by Katie

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A big part of coaching is motivating your athletes as well managing and maintaining egos. Cael seems to do a great job of this. His team is LOADED with top level guys that all seems to get along and enjoy working together. They help each other improved and genuinely seem to care of each others success (See Mark Hall run out and congratulate Bo Nickal immediately after he himself suffered a loss in the NCAA finals). That's a culture that is created and cultivated by the head coach. Does the technical move set he teaches or the physical conditioning he does differ all that much? Probably not, but many people fail to realize that's only a small portion of coaching.

Its like this with teacher as well. a great teacher can make a tremendously boring subject entertaining and enjoyable.

Put a great student with a great teacher together you have magic and produce the smartest people in the world.

Put a great student with a dud teacher.. that student will still do well, but not nearly as well as he could have.

Put a dud student with a great teacher.. that student will achieve much more than he would have on his own.

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The top recruits that go to PSU are definitely a factor, but I think what has separated Cael from the pack is a revolutionary philosophy that is different from the norm.

Just like when Gable introduced "Iowa Style" wrestling in the 70's, which was completely new and unmatched at the time, Cael has introduced a new approach to the sport (I don't really know what to call it) . We joke on here about PSU being "fun", but that seems to be a big part of it.  Rather than hard drilling all of the time, PSU does a lot of play wrestling.  I once saw an interview (I can try to find it) where Cael was in Brazil and was comparing his approach to wrestling to their approach to soccer.  The urban youths in Brazil play unorganized games of soccer all of the time on smaller fields with smaller, heavier balls and, as a result of less reaction time on a smaller field and the extra skill required to handle the smaller, heavier ball, their soccer players develop a much deeper and advanced set of ball handling skills.  PSU play wrestles often and in every position so they seem to have more developed technique and a better feel for most positions.  This certainly does not mean what is happening in their room is not hard or intense, but it is just different than what other schools are doing (and the schools that are doing it are following PSU's example).  As we've discussed on these forums before, it also seems that PSU is not cutting a lot of weight and is instead focused on developing technique.

Aside from the actual wrestling aspect, Cael and the rest of the PSU coaches  have a great connection with their wrestlers.  Everyone seems to buy in to this system and be on board with their approach.  They are outstanding in every match, yet still seem to understand the big picture and team is most important.  The PSU style is different then what we have seen in the past and is very successful.  I expect other programs to adapt their approaches and philosophies to follow this model more closely.

I think their are a log of great coaches out there, but Cael is original and has shown that he is currently the best.  Yes, he gets a lot of blue chippers, but I definitely believe that the approach of his staff takes them to a new level.

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2 hours ago, hammerlockthree said:

He's is superior at:

1) Getting the recruits he wants

2) Choosing which recruits he wants (two separate things)

3) Keeping the coaching staff cohesive. Most coaching staffs need reality shows.

That combined with huge financial support and a perfect location for recruiting are what create the extremity of success. 

If you think he is just that much better in the room, that's very doubtful.

I agree pretty much here on everything.  It's a perfect storm and I said it when he was hired. 

There is little doubt to prior to PSU that Sanderson was in the upper tier when it came to coaching and I do believe he would've eventually won a national team title at ISU, perhaps more than once and would be a perennial top 3 program.

But...if he stayed at ISU, you would most likely have seen Cornell, Iowa, tOSU and Oklahoma State also win national titles.

Geographics, tons of cash, and a rabid fan base without another true in state stateschool to compete with will make all the difference.

P.S.  I saw Tbar already had a response, I choose to ignore his drivel because he offers nothing to this conversation or any other conversation.

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1 hour ago, BigTenFanboy said:

A big part of coaching is motivating your athletes as well managing and maintaining egos. Cael seems to do a great job of this. His team is LOADED with top level guys that all seems to get along and enjoy working together. They help each other improved and genuinely seem to care of each others success (See Mark Hall run out and congratulate Bo Nickal immediately after he himself suffered a loss in the NCAA finals). That's a culture that is created and cultivated by the head coach. Does the technical move set he teaches or the physical conditioning he does differ all that much? Probably not, but many people fail to realize that's only a small portion of coaching.

Its like this with teacher as well. a great teacher can make a tremendously boring subject entertaining and enjoyable.

Put a great student with a great teacher together you have magic and produce the smartest people in the world.

Put a great student with a dud teacher.. that student will still do well, but not nearly as well as he could have.

Put a dud student with a great teacher.. that student will achieve much more than he would have on his own.

I can guarantee you when it comes to recruiting the best recruits is that there is very little motivating in the PSU room, it's already there.  I've heard it multiple times that the staff loved Retherford because he always showed up on time, worked really hard, didn't say one word and didn't hear from him again until the next practice.

Also when it comes to recruiting the right kids, it does seem PSU lacks the egos to have to manage on a day to day basis.

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Based on the almost unbelievable success he has had lately compared to everyone else I would say yes, without a doubt he is that much better. It's not like high school where you are limited to the talent literally in your own backyard. Tom Ryan is the only other guy who can claim to be close to Cael's level at present.

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PSU was still a very good program before Cael got there and they had a lot of fantastic talent come through over the years as well.  They were nowhere near the level Cael has taken the program though.  Cael is doing something different at PSU that was not there before he arrived and it's working.  The results speak for themselves.  He has turned Penn State into a monster and a dynasty.

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5 minutes ago, teach said:

Yes, but would he have this success anywhere else.  (He would have success, but this much?)

PA does add something to the equation, but he probably would have had a lot of success anyway. It may seem insignificant today, but Iowa St. was 2nd in Iowa back then so the hurdle was somewhat higher. Coming to PSU changed that, but Cael is the one driving all this success. Success no one before him at PSU had come close too.

As someone else wrote. Dynasty.

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Dan Gable came into a program moving forward with new head coach Gary Kurdelmeier taking over at the school that had never won a national Title.

https://hawkeyesports.com/news/2012/4/17/before_gable_there_was_a_hawk_named_kurdelmeier.aspx

Kurdelmeier stepped down, Gable took over and the rest is history. Gable did not just get kids who were grinders - he got kids who wanted to compete at the highest level and bought into his attitude and work ethic. The rest is history.

Cael Sanderson comes from a family of wrestlers. His father wrestled at BYU and was his High School Coach. At a school that had a very successful program. Cael learned a lot from his fathers coaching methods - and his fathers way of caring for and coaching all the wrestlers, not just the stars.

Then Cael spent time under the paranoid Whiz Bobby Douglas. One great wrestler himself, Douglas could put together a mat plan for a wrestler that worked. Cael had the talent but I don't believe he would have his record at another school - especially if he had attended BYU where his father applied for the job.

Penn State before Cael was good but had not won a Title since 1953. Close, but no cigar - over and over and over again. A State with great talent and a school that got some of it but never got it to perform at its peak. That changed with Sanderson. Just as Iowa changed with Kurdelmeier and Gable.

John Smith at OSU is great but somehow they can't keep up. The Ohio State University is good but they can't keep up either. Iowa is good, used to be great - but they can't keep up.

It is the coaching attitude and staff. Penn State does not get every top guy. Even if they did it would not guarantee titles. Then, there are slumps. Remember that Iowa at one point under Gable went four years without a title.

So far we watch Penn State under this coaching staff - because it is the whole staff, not just Cael - that has them winning. A team effort with the coaches leading the way and their wrestlers buying into it. I think Dan Gable could do a lot by force of personality. A darned good staff but Gable was the Program. Not sure about Cael in this way. He's more like John Smith in his approach and maybe the difference is in Support staff? Assistants who want to be there and want to stay has to help a lot. Whatever it is, it is working and for now he is the premier Coach in the nation at a School that supports him well - and that is different from before his hiring. How many sellouts did Penn State have before Sanderson go there? Now it is an every match deal.

Good luck to him, his team and his program. Still think John Smith is the greatest wrestler the US has ever produced. Dan Gable in the running for the best College Coach ever with Sanderson having an honest chance at that level.

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Cael knew the only chance he had to have this much success was to move on from Iowa St. as he would never of had this much success if he'd stayed.  Like TBar said, he was playing second fiddle to Iowa so he had to bail on Iowa St.  Of course it does not hurt to have an unlimited supply of funds and to have a state that produces more D-1 championship caliber wrestlers than any other state (maybe next to Ohio but I don't think that is the case).  So the simple answer is, he would have had success but not even close to the amount of success he has today.

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There are many great coaches.  Many work at the D2.& D3 levels. The best and most important coaches are at the high school level. 

There are some coaches who work at major universities that are fully funded but just aren’t very good. They were good wrestlers and because of having scholarships to give, have decent teams. But some of these guys are marginal coaches. If college wrestling continues to grow and more money is thrown at the sport, these coach will be exposed. 

Is Cael a great coach?  Yes. 

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2 minutes ago, gowrestle said:

There are many great coaches.  Many work at the D2.& D3 levels. The best and most important coaches are at the high school level. 

There are some coaches who work at major universities that are fully funded but just aren’t very good. They were good wrestlers and because of having scholarships to give, have decent teams. But some of these guys are marginal coaches. If college wrestling continues to grow and more money is thrown at the sport, these coach will be exposed. 

Is Cael a great coach?  Yes. 

I agree with this, but will add the most important coaches are youth and middle school coaches. Getting kids interested in wrestling in high school is too late.

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4 hours ago, stp said:

Would the reality show of Iowa City coaches, get the best ratings?

corner antics aside, that one would be boring I think. My sense, not informed but a guess, of that staff is that the Brands just dominate the other personalities. 

tOSU would be hilarious I think. Iowa State for certain would be ridiculous. Tech's obviously would have been good up until a few weeks ago.

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One huge factor in Cael's success seems to be the experience gained as coach at Iowa State.  He seems to have developed insight into what did and did not work in Ames and brought improved methods to PSU.  Add in the recruiting advantage, rabid fan base and a rare knack with technique and we see what has taken place.  I'd also point out that Cael remains remarkably adept at keeping his program focused on their task at hand.  He gets a lot of criticism for not doing more to grow the sport via National Duals, All Star Meets, etc...but his sole purpose seems to be training his wrestlers to be prepared to dominate at NCAA's.  He reminds me of Belichick in this regard (without the cheating).  

One poster wrote that the entire staff is responsible for the success of the program.  I am flabbergasted that anyone would fail to see that Cael informs every aspect of how his staff functions.  

 

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Because of who he is and how he's performed, he has the very fortunate circumstance to be picky about who he recruits and not be forced to go all-in on every good recruit that shows interest. As a result, he recruits the right type of athlete with the right attitude to succeed under his system. That's a huge factor not to be overlooked. 

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