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Cael's stints at ISU and PSU

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What happened? What was he at ISU - four years? Middling results, given ISU's tradition. At PSU he has built a monster program that is collecting ridiculous recruiting classes. Was it just a matter of location? Maturity/seasoning on Cael's part as a coach? Is it that much easier to recruit to PSU (State College) than ISU (Ames)?

 

Seriously, I don't know why the trajectory of his coaching success so suddenly shot off the map - someone have some ideas?

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Location for east coast recruits and exposure, maturity in understanding the process, being able to sell that they will compete in the Big 10, better backing from school and outside sources, finding a group of recruits that were around MS age during the heart of Cael-mania so they grew up idolizing him, a fresh start for him with no past coaching or wrestling connection, getting out of the Iowa and Ok St. shadow (area), etc. Once you get the ball rolling for a few years its much easier to expand out farther and faster nationally, which is what's happening currently.

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I agree.

 

Cael fell into essentially the perfect situation for his particular history and skill set.

 

He is a wrestling legend. There are some super-stars who merely want to be where he is. That was the start of it.

 

Penn State had always been a relatively weak recruiter in-state. For every Quentin Wright they got, there were half a dozen Jordan Olivers/Coleman Scotts/Jarrod Kings that got away.

 

But Cael walked in, bringing David Taylor as a recruit from OH, and suddenly the Altons came on board and PSU became the place to be. Now the PA stars that had been going away suddenly wanted to stay home. Out of state superstars want in on the fun.

 

It helps that more than the big 3 (Taylor/Ruth/Wright) have been significant in PSU's growth. When Nico comes in and makes the finals as a frosh, of course Jimmy wants part of the action. Brown sits for a year and suddenly he's in the finals.

 

Penn State is a very attractive place to be for the big time kids. They can see themselves making the next step with a top coaching staff and other budding stars in the room.

 

Last year I remember posts implying that when the big 3 were gone, we'll learn how good a coach Cael really is. I'm thinking that question is close to being answered already.

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Last year I remember posts implying that when the big 3 were gone, we'll learn how good a coach Cael really is. I'm thinking that question is close to being answered already.

 

Cael has always been a great recruiter. We'll see how it develops out of here, but it's pretty obvious Penn State is here to stay. That said, yes, I still think there will be a noticeable drop off (as in not a runaway favorite every year, not that they will fall to the bottom of the top 10) once Taylor and Ruth are gone. Those guys are special, rare talents and I'm not sure any of the new guys measure up that way. I think Marstellar will be really good, but not necessarily Taylor/Ruth good (which is hardly an insult).

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There seems to be a snowball effect going on where there is a waiting list to get on the PSU Train / Bandwagon.

 

Cael always had an easy sell recruiting with his credentials. The skepticism has always been with the unknowns, whether he can coach effectively, and whether he can coach and maintain a winning team.

 

Not many expected PSU would have won a NC in only his 2nd season at PSU particularly with the big unknowns that season with Q. Wright, Bubba leaving, and coaching staff changes. After dominating the landscape in his 3rd and 4th seasons and cultivating a culture of "fun" kids are wanting to be part of the experience of winning national titles, competing in a fun atmosphere, and learning from the most successful collegiate wrestler in history. The problem is only the best have a chance of starting. So PSU is now starting to get only the best recruits. It's a lot like Iowa in the 80s and 90s.

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So how does Oklahoma State and John Smith go from winning their last series of titles to struggling to stay in the top 3?

 

What if Jordan Burroughs ultimately winds up coaching and recruiting at Nebraska? Do the next wave of kids growing up idolizing him flock there?

 

Dake at Cornell in x years...

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I don't think Burroughs at Nebraska will be as effective because Nebraska is not as strong of a wrestling state. With the funding Cornell has they will continue to be top 5. If you put Burroughs at a Rutgers, Rider, Ohio University, Arizona State, or Maryland they will thrive. It has to be an appealing school overall. Although I don't know that even Burroughs could fix Rutgers

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I would have been curious how Iowa State would be through this run. Matt Brown, David Taylor, Andrew Long, and Cyler Sanderson at Iowa State, it was rumored that the Alton twins would have been there also.

 

Iowa State was 1st in conference all 3 years at Iowa State and was 2nd, 5th, and 3rd at NCAA his 3 years at Iowa State.

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I guess people still don't want to give Cael his due.

 

With 3 National Championships in a row, he's staked out a place in history if he never does anything again in his life, which is highly doubtful.

 

As far as the answers to the question that started this thread, I think all of the above.

 

He was very young when he took over the program at ISU & probably didn't have a clue as to what he was doing, honestly. Now, I think he's got a better sense of what kind of athletes he wants, and can win with (the best!).

 

I also think he's got a "hook" from a selling standpoint with the kids now -- come here and win national championships and have "fun" doing it, the way Iowa with Gable had a hook -- "total domination".

 

And he's in a better place, geographically. Instead of being second fiddle in the State of Iowa, he rules the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

 

But you've got to give Cael some credit in the sense that he although the PSU opportunity was offered to him on a silver platter, he also saw it for what it was, a potential game-changer.

 

My later father used to say, "better to be lucky than good".

 

Well, Cael's both. So, watch out.

 

As far as Burroughs and Dake as coaches, I think they've both got the personal charisma to go with their credentials. But look at Cael at ISU: he was good, not great, as a coach. You've also got to be in the right situation to really catch on fire.

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Last year I remember posts implying that when the big 3 were gone, we'll learn how good a coach Cael really is. I'm thinking that question is close to being answered already.

 

Cael has always been a great recruiter. We'll see how it develops out of here, but it's pretty obvious Penn State is here to stay. That said, yes, I still think there will be a noticeable drop off (as in not a runaway favorite every year, not that they will fall to the bottom of the top 10) once Taylor and Ruth are gone. Those guys are special, rare talents and I'm not sure any of the new guys measure up that way. I think Marstellar will be really good, but not necessarily Taylor/Ruth good (which is hardly an insult).

 

 

I just think the points will be more evenly spread out. Penn State has won the past few years by getting an incredible number of points from Taylor, Ruth and Wright, but virtually no points at a few other weights. In the future the points will just be more evenly dispersed.

 

One thing to keep in mind, a guy like Sanderson isn't going to not try to get Nickal and Marstellar and all the others to score as many bonus as possible, he is. PSU will still get more bonus going forward than just about everyone else. Add that to placement and it stills equates to winning titles.

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So how does Oklahoma State and John Smith go from winning their last series of titles to struggling to stay in the top 3?

 

What if Jordan Burroughs ultimately winds up coaching and recruiting at Nebraska? Do the next wave of kids growing up idolizing him flock there?

 

Dake at Cornell in x years...

Uhhh, earth to headshuck? Oklahoma State was four points out of a national title this past year.

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Last year I remember posts implying that when the big 3 were gone, we'll learn how good a coach Cael really is. I'm thinking that question is close to being answered already.

 

Cael has always been a great recruiter. We'll see how it develops out of here, but it's pretty obvious Penn State is here to stay. That said, yes, I still think there will be a noticeable drop off (as in not a runaway favorite every year, not that they will fall to the bottom of the top 10) once Taylor and Ruth are gone. Those guys are special, rare talents and I'm not sure any of the new guys measure up that way. I think Marstellar will be really good, but not necessarily Taylor/Ruth good (which is hardly an insult).

 

 

I just think the points will be more evenly spread out. Penn State has won the past few years by getting an incredible number of points from Taylor, Ruth and Wright, but virtually no points at a few other weights. In the future the points will just be more evenly dispersed.

 

One thing to keep in mind, a guy like Sanderson isn't going to not try to get Nickal and Marstellar and all the others to score as many bonus as possible, he is. PSU will still get more bonus going forward than just about everyone else. Add that to placement and it stills equates to winning titles.

 

Everybody tries to get their guys to score as much bonus as possible. Cael lucked into two guys who could get bonus on EVERYONE (except Dake). Again, I'm not saying I expect Penn State to drop out of the top 10, or even out of the title hunt. I just don't think they will be the runaway favorites they have been for the last several few years.

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What happened? What was he at ISU - four years? Middling results, given ISU's tradition. At PSU he has built a monster program that is collecting ridiculous recruiting classes. Was it just a matter of location? Maturity/seasoning on Cael's part as a coach? Is it that much easier to recruit to PSU (State College) than ISU (Ames)?

 

Seriously, I don't know why the trajectory of his coaching success so suddenly shot off the map - someone have some ideas?

 

A little reminder of Cael's ISU experience. He was there 3 years, came into a situation with a wealth of talent--Fanthorpe, Nick Gallick, Mitch Mueller, Cyler, Varner and Zabriskie, plus seniors the Paulson twins, with Reader a year later. Thus, a recipe for continuous success, but they did not get it done at the NCAA tournament despite winning B12 2X and runnerup once. He had the talent at ISU, had recruits--Andrew Long and Taylor coming--but could not get the performances at the highest level. It was this that made folks question his coaching ability before the last three years' successes.

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I had never gotten the feeling that Cael was especially happy at Iowa State, for a multitude of reasons. Frankly, "I'm not happy here, but you should come wrestle for me here anyway..." is a very difficult sell to a potential recruit.

 

For what it's worth, I had questioned Cael's ability to develop wrestlers when he was at Iowa State. I'm happy to say that he's proven me wrong, in spades, on that point!

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One more thing--continuity depends on individual wrestlers who place or win NCAA titles three or four years running. Cael came to PSU with Wright (4X AA, 2x champ), Molinaro (4X AA, 1X champ), and Ruth (3X AA, 2X champ so far) already in place. Certainly the coaching contributed to those records, but a nice set-up, nonetheless.

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I think this sums it up. I am a Virginia guy, but happened to be at a PA club practice with my son the day it was announced that Cael was coming to Penn State. All of the parents and wrestlers were overjoyed; one of the other parents there said “why would any kid from Pennsylvania consider leaving to wrestle at another school?” With recruiting like that in arguably the toughest wrestling environment in America how can you not build a first rate team?

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What if Jordan Burroughs ultimately winds up coaching and recruiting at Nebraska? Do the next wave of kids growing up idolizing him flock there?

 

Dake at Cornell in x years...

Burroughs at Nebraska would probably be even worse than Cael at Iowa State. Both schools suffer from being far from population centers, but Nebraska is even farther out of the loop and has a weaker wrestling tradition than Iowa State. Some kids who idolize him would go there, but Burroughs would have a difficult time building a giant there. Look at this heat map of the United States....the darker the red, the more people.

 

http://www.mapofusa.net/us-population-map.gif

 

As you can see, the population of the entire US is concentrated on the East Coast, with just a few pockets on the West Coast and not much in the middle. Penn State is relatively close to the epicenter of the US population along the I-95 corridor from DC all the way up to Boston. Nebraska is mostly surrounded by white on the map. Comparatively nobody lives there, and consequently fewer people (and their families) would want to move there.

 

Dake at Cornell would be better from a recruiting standpoint, because even though Cornell is a rural campus, they are still relatively close to the population centers, and it can boast an Ivy League education.

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I always thought Cael knew how to coach. You must remember his dad was a very successful high school coach.

 

I frequently visit a living legend Stan Abel. He's a close friend of Bobby Douglas and because of Gable his OU teams only won one NCAA title. He said in the spring of 1972 when he took over at OU that Penn State and Ohio State would be top 5 programs every year if they got the right coach. He'd been at Ohio U for 5 years as an assistant coach and 1 year as the head coach at Cincinatti. It only took Penn State 40 years. Time will tell if Tom Ryan is the right coach.

 

Stan said after Cael's 2nd year at Penn State that he was impressed with how well the kids on the team had bought into his style of wrestling. Stan said that told him Cael was a good coach. You don't completely change someone's style, you just tweak it, which Gable was a master at doing. It took John Smith a long time to figure that out.

 

Cael called Penn State they didn't call him. Iowa under Gable put a lot of former Iowa wrestlers into Iowa HIgh schools. That gave Iowa a decided recruiting advantage over Iowa State. I think Cael realized he would never win the recruiting battles in Iowa because of that factor. Now he's the king pin in PA, which arguably produces the most top flight high school wrestlers in the country. To top that off now he's "cherry picking" the best kids in the US that fill weight classes he needs. Nick Neville from CA for HWT and Bo Nickal from Texas for 174. He got McIntosh before that.

 

I've been around the sport since 1960. OSU was the king pin through the mid 1960's, although OU in the 1950s battled them fairly well. Iowa State under Harold Nichols shifted the power to Iowa through the mid 60s into the early 70s. Then Iowa State makes one of the two biggest blunders in college wrestling coaching history when they lose Dan Gable to Iowa. Iowa becomes the monster challenging OSU for being the most dominant program in history.

 

Now Cael has changed things, maybe forever. OSU fans felt it was their birthright to win NCAA team titles, then Iowa came along and developed the same feeling. Now Penn state fans are beginning to get just as arrogant. I am not going to predict that Cael ties or beats Dan's 9 titles in a row, but I am not going to be surprised if it happens.

 

Cael has done some things that I think are very good for the sport.

1. He doesn't make his wrestlers cut a lot of weight

2. He's brought pinning back to college wrestling. Iowa during Gable's 9-year run has some great pinners. After the 4-year gap the Brands pinned, but not many others on the team. There weren't anybody like Lewboo, Banachs, and Kinseth. Iowa no longer pins. Penn State does, and 25 bonus points is like having another champ.

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