STATE COLLEGE — Three Nittany Lions will serve as personal coaches to Nittany Lion Wrestling Club-affiliated Olympic wrestlers this month as Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, associate coach Cody Sanderson and assistant coach Casey Cunningham are all in Tokyo.
The Penn State coaching trio will assist NLWC members David Taylor (Penn State), Kyle Snyder (Ohio State), Thomas Gilman (Iowa) and Helen Maroulis (Simon Fraser University) during their pursuit of gold medals in Japan. The 2020 Olympics begin Friday and conclude Aug. 8.
The games were postponed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“USA Wrestling is sending six talented people to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as the official coaches for Team USA, including five USA Wrestling National Coaches as well as an outstanding volunteer coach,” Team USA Wrestling communications manager Taylor Miller said in a statement. “There will be 11 other personal coaches traveling with the delegation to the Games.”
Cael Sanderson will serve as a personal coach for Gilman, Taylor and Snyder. Sanderson, this past season, guided Penn State to four individual NCAA championships and a second-place team finish at the 2021 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Sanderson won gold at 84 kilograms during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He was named Penn State’s coach in 2010, and has guided the Nittany Lions to a 202-24-2 overall record. Penn State under his direction has produced 84 All-Americans and 29 national champions. The Nittany Lions have earned eight team national championships under Sanderson.
Cody Sanderson is Cael Sanderson’s younger brother, and the duo has been together for the duration of the latter’s tenure in State College. Cody Sanderson will serve as a personal coach for Maroulis and Gilman. The siblings previously worked in tandem during Cael Sanderson’s time as the coach at Iowa State, their alma mater.
Cody Sanderson began his head coaching career at Utah Valley State, a program he started. He accumulated 116 career wins as a college wrestler, and won a Big 12 individual title as a senior.
Cunningham coached alongside both Sanderson brothers at Iowa State and joined the Nittany Lions coaching staff when Cael Sanderson was named coach. He will serve as Taylor’s personal coach. As a college wrestler for Central Michigan, Cunningham in 1999 won the NCAA championship at 157 pounds, and one year later, he finished as runner-up nationally in the weight class. Cunningham placed at both the 2004 and 2008 USA Olympic Trials.
Taylor wrestled at Penn State from 2010-2014 in a decorated collegiate career that included winning the Dan Hodge Trophy in 2012 and 2014. Taylor also won four Big Ten championships and two NCAA championships during his time as a Nittany Lion. He ended his collegiate career with 134 wins against just three losses.