Passing of the Torch

An emotional Cael Sanderson took the stand as he was introduced as the sixth head wrestling coach at Iowa State University. It is the dawn of a new era and a new Cyclone tradition but the legacy of the old was on the thoughts of many.

"I'm obviously very excited about the responsibility that I'm going to inherit here. But first off I need to thank Coach Douglas," said Sanderson this morning.


Sanderson made sure that the spotlight was not only focused on him today but also on the man who got him here.


"Today is a very special day for Iowa State University and legendary coach, Coach Douglas (pause as Sanderson wiped away some tears)…….I love coach Douglas. My family loves Coach Douglas."


Sanderson emulated his commitment to the Cyclone tradition and the program.


"I have been a Cyclone since the day my oldest brother signed a letter of intent with Iowa State and I'm looking forward to being a Cyclone the rest of my life."


Sanderson emphasized that this was an Iowa State decision and not something that was spurred on by other factors outside the Iowa State program, i.e. the Zalesky firing.


"It's a coincidence, but I'm sure that people will speculate for years," commented Sanderson.


This was a decision that was made a long time ago and Pollard was informed of Douglas' desire of his prodigy, Cael becoming the next head coach much earlier than this week.


"Bobby approached me on almost my first week on the job last year to talk about making sure I shared his same vision that he didn't want a new athletic director coming in that maybe didn't buy in to that same vision that Cael should be that next person," said Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard this morning.


Although Douglas is stepping down as head coach, he will still be around the young Sanderson for support and direction.


"Coach Douglas isn't going anywhere. He's just switching offices in the building. He's going to be there. I can't imagine him not being in the wrestling room every day," said Sanderson.


Keeping Douglas around the program was key in Sanderson's decision to become Iowa State's new head coach.


"That was my first priority. Making sure that he was happy and making sure that he was taken care of. Jamie did a great job with him."


The Iowa State wrestling program is a program with so much tradition but not very much recent success. In Douglas' 14 year tenure as head coach, he was not able to bring a NCAA Championship home; finishing second three times (1996, 2000, and 2002).


 Cael Sanderson is here to change that.


"We are expecting to compete for a national title next year……We're going to win national championships. That is our goal. There's no other goal here. That's the goal when we're recruiting student athletes who expect to be national champions." 



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