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Iowa State announces Sanderson will replace Douglas as coach



Iowa State University head wrestling coach Bobby Douglas - an NCAA champion coach, one of only three men in history to win more than 400 duals and an Olympian as a wrestler and coach - announced Friday that he is retiring from coaching. Douglas will remain with the ISU athletics department as an assistant athletics director.

Douglas said his move was to guarantee that his protégé Cael Sanderson - a 2004 Olympic champion and the only undefeated (159-0), four-time NCAA champion - would take over as Cyclone head coach.

"The future of ISU wrestling is what I care about most." said Douglas. "I wanted to ensure that Cael Sanderson was that future. It is what fueled my decision to step down."

Douglas added that he shares the vision of ISU athletics director Jamie Pollard for the wrestling team.

"Jamie (Pollard) understands the importance of wrestling at this institution better than any previous athletics director," Douglas said. "I've told Jamie that having Cael Sanderson as the head coach of the Cyclone wrestling team will allow (Jamie) to fulfill the dreams he has for this program."

Sanderson was Douglas' prize pupil at Iowa State and has worked his way up from special assistant to assistant coach to associate coach at his alma mater and is poised to build on the foundation that Douglas established.

"I was fortunate to have a current coaching colleague and my greatest student ready to step in," said Douglas. "When you've put as much into a program as I have at ISU, it's natural to hope one of your own succeeds you."

"I simply could not be more pleased or confident in a hire than I am with Cael," said Pollard. "As a competitor, he is unmatched. I know he'll bring the same level of enthusiasm, dedication and focus to the head coaching position. He is the ultimate winner and young wrestlers around the nation will be anxious to learn from him. I'm very appreciative of coach Douglas desire to make certain that Cael remains a Cyclone."

Sanderson said the chance to lead the program at his alma mater was a "dream come true" story.

"I'm introduced today as Iowa State's wrestling coach because of the selfless sacrifices of my college coach, Bobby Douglas," Sanderson said. "He has paved the way for me to assume this responsibility. Because of that, I'll have the opportunity to follow a legacy of legendary coaches at ISU. I promise to work as hard as I did as a competitor to build upon the traditions I've inherited as head coach. Iowa State University is a special place to our family. I'm humbled and excited at the same time about my opportunity."

In 14 years at Iowa State, Douglas' teams had 11 top 10 national finishes (including NCAA runner-up efforts in 1996, 2000 and 2002), 50 All-Americans, 10 individual national champions, 29 Big 12 champions, and a dual record of 198-75-3 (.723). He was a three-time Big 8 / Big 12 Coach of the Year and the 2000 national coach of the year. Every one of his Cyclone teams boasted at least one All-American and the 1993 team produced seven. Nate Gallick became Douglas' latest NCAA champion, completing an undefeated season last week in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Douglas also enjoyed remarkable success in 18 years at Arizona State before coming to Ames. The Sun Devils won nine conference championships (seven in a row from 1985-91), captured the 1988 NCAA title in Ames (the only one earned by a western school) and recorded a 227-75-6 dual mark. He was an eight-time coach of the year for the Sun Devils and coached three individual national titlists.

Douglas said, "my coaching career allowed me the opportunity to come to work everyday doing something I love, teaching young people how to wrestle and helping them mature into adults."

Pollard also announced the establishment of an endowed scholarship in the Hall of Fame coach's name.

"To cement the legacy of coach Douglas, I'm pleased to announce publicly the creation of the Bobby Douglas Endowed Scholarship," Pollard said. "One Cyclone wrestler will receive his scholarship aid under the name of Bobby Douglas forever. I must thank John Allen for his generous financial contribution to endow this scholarship and guarantee that Coach Douglas is celebrated annually through this endowment."
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