In all of college wrestling history, there’s been exactly one person who’s ever gone his entire career without losing a single match: Cael Sanderson. The native Iowan, Iowa State alum, and Iowa State head coach is, quite simply, the face of Iowa State wrestling’s past, present, and future. He even made it onto a Wheaties Box–and that was before he won a gold medal in 2004. He is, in all likelihood, the most beloved son of Iowa (sorry, Tom Arnold and Ashton Kutcher).
Oh, did we accidentally use the present tense? Yeah, let’s just do a find/replace and toss in some “was”es instead, because, as KCCI reports, Sanderson just peaced out and went to Penn State. For an idea of how surreal a move this is, imagine if Phil Jackson left the Lakers and went to… well, hell, Penn State. And if you’re thinking, “Hey, Iowa State, didn’t they already choke away a coach under hilarious circumstances recently?”, yes, yes they did.
Back in December, Iowa State lost head football coach Gene Chizik to Auburn after athletic director Jamie Pollard talked him up, presumably thinking Auburn would never actually take the man who just wrapped up an 0-8 campaign in the Big XII without playing Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech. Pollard reacted to Auburn’s hiring like a 14-year-old who just went through their first breakup, nearly crying during a press conference afterward. So naturally, fast-forwarding to today, Captain Emo’s press release sounds like Sanderson just died:
I am extremely saddened for our institution’s student-athletes, staff, alums and fans. It is a difficult day for all Cyclones as we cope with the departure of a truly outstanding and accomplished student and coach.
So wait– Jamie Pollard’s trying to keep the inarguably most iconic ISU athlete in history, the one who skipped the 2008 Olympics to coach for the Cyclones, to stay. His negotiation skills, then, must be an absolute liability:
In the end, Cael said that he appreciated everything Iowa State and our fans had done for him but he believes winning a national championship will be easier at Penn State. He said the high school talent in Pennsylvania and surrounding states is the best in the country and the kids in that area grow up wanting to wrestle for the Nittany Lions. He also said their overall athletics department resources are the best in the country.
Those are Pollard’s own words; the emphasis on the last sentence is ours. Pollard, for some reason, is dutifully repeating a criticism of his own work. If ISU’s athletics resources suck… that’s Pollard’s fault and probably something he shouldn’t be telling the world in a tear-stained press release. If he doesn’t make a splash of a hire immediately - we have a suggestion as to whom to hire, by the way - he should probably start packing his bags… before the locals rip him asunder with their bare hands.
And one more thing, Mr. Pollard: the Internet has a message for you.