New Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson was in Camp Hill on Friday night to speak at an alumni event. I had the chance to catch up with him for a story coming out in Blue White Illustrated.
You can view my one-on-one chat with Sanderson by clicking here.
Some of the highlights from his 20 minute chat with reporters.
On retaining members of the previous coaching staff:
One thing when I got to State College, I wasn’t in a hurry to hire coaches. We had a real good base in the people i was bringing with me in my brother and coach Casey Cunningham. But the more I was around coach Dernlan and coach Anspach and coach Letters, I just knew these were guys we needed. The bring great expertise. They have a passion for Penn State and Pennsylvania wrestling. They’ve done a lot of good things at Penn State during their tenure there. The more I’m around these guys the more comfortable and excited I am to work with them. I just feel really great that adding them to the staff I’m bringing with me, it’s a staff we can build national championships with. That’s the goal.
On the different cultures in Iowa and Pennsylvania when it comes to wrestling:
I’m seeing that. Everywhere I go people know about wrestling. People are excited about the program and the people here know how strong the high school wrestling is in the state. There’s no question about that. The passion’s there. I think as we really get things rolling and we build a program that is representing Penn State and in a phenomenal way, we’re going to have a lot of people get behind us. I think they’re already behind us, it’s one of the reasons I was really excited to take this position, is because of the interest in wrestling in the state.
There’s a lot of interest in Iowa as well. Comparing those two they’re real similar. What we can do here, it’s just, I don’t really want to say we might do this, we want to do that. I just want to get it done and see what happens. But I think that we can build a fan base where it’s going to be tough to get a ticket in (Rec Hall). I don’t think that’s too many years away.
On what type of culture he wants for PSU wrestling fans:
I want the culture to be a clean culture where what we’re known for is we’re gentlemen that go out there and we’re fierce competitors and they’re in the classroom, there’s never a question of whether this kid is going to graduate or what his academic performance is going to be. It’s just a given. You’re coming to Penn State, you’re going to graduate and when you step on the mat or the practice room you’re going to compete. You’re going to compete hard, you’re going to fight. That’s the culture I want. Outside of the classroom and the wrestling mat, socially we want kids that are here because they want to be national champions and they want a degree from a very prestigious schools. I don’t want to babysit and chase kids around town and we’re not going to. That comes down to recruiting and getting the right kids in there and it’s real simple.
The coach at Iowa State, Les Anderson, I’ve heard him say a few times “If you’re going to succeed in a few things. Academics, wrestling and your social life and you need to choose wisely.” So we’re going to choose the kids that want to do well in academics and wrestling.