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|College Update for May 18: The coaching rotation continues|
By Jason Bryant NWCA/InterMat
By Jason Bryant
As of Thursday afternoon, the number of collegiate coaching changes during the 2006 offseason has reached 31 across all divisions.
Two Division I positions have been filled this week, with former three-time Oklahoma State All-American and 1998 NCAA champion Teague Moore taking over at Clarion after Ken Nellis resigned just before the end of the regular season.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Moore's family name is very well-known throughout the state, with older brother Ty Moore, a former four-time high school state champion, currently heading up one of the top wrestling clubs in the state, the Angry Fish Wrestling Club.
This will be Moore's first head coaching position after serving as an assistant coach at Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and Harvard before taking the helm at Clarion.
Hofstra's search to replace Tom Ryan, who was named the CAA Coach of the Year on Thursday, came to a conclusion, but with the naming of Tom Shifflet the new Pride wrestling coach, this opens another coaching position in Division I, at Shifflet's old digs at UNC Greensboro.
"I am excited about continuing the tradition that Hofstra University has in wrestling," Shifflet said in a statement released by Hofstra on Wednesday.
"It is a great opportunity for me to move the program along, like Tom Ryan did, without missing a beat. I look forward to setting lofty goals and working with a great group of student-athletes to achieve them. I want to move the Hofstra Wrestling program into the top 10 and top five in the nation. We certainly have that opportunity at Hofstra, which was big reason why I took this position. I eagerly await the chance to work with the alumni and the friends of Hofstra wrestling to keep our program moving forward."
Shifflet's got the energy to do so. A three-time All-American at Edinboro, he was an assistant at Cornell and Georgia State before taking over at UNCG and starting up the largest Division I only invitational in the country, the Southern Scuffle.
Also moving around this week was Steve Costanzo, named the new coach at Division II St. Cloud State on Tuesday. In 2006, Costanzo led Dana College to the NAIA National Championship and the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals title in January.
A graduate of Nebraska-Omaha, Costanzo built Dana into a winner, picking up recruiting classes that were tops amongst NAIA teams and the envy of several Division I programs.
Costanzo's position at Dana will be taken over by assistant coach Richard Fergola.
Iowa vs. Virgina Tech Drama
The ugly transfer situation between wrestlers wishing to follow Tom Brands from Virginia Tech to Iowa just got a bit more colorful.
According to former National Wrestling Media Association Sportswriter of the Year Andy Hamilton, parents of several transfers are furious that Virginia Tech has denied the appeals of Joey Slaton, Daniel LeClere, Jay Borschel, T.H. Leet and Brent Metcalf.
All sought releases from their scholarships in order to transfer to the University of Iowa to wrestle for new coach Tom Brands, who recruited them to Virginia Tech before taking over at Iowa over a month ago after Jim Zalesky was let go.
The debate is becoming a back and forth "he said, she said" series of bickering.
What's becoming a modern-day wrestling soap opera, Hamilton's story in the Iowa Press-Citizen quotes several parents and their distain for the happenings in the past several weeks.
Slaton's father, Matt Shaver is adamant about Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver's comments regarding a potential release/transfer when Slaton was being recruited to Blacksburg by Brands.
"Jim Weaver made it perfectly clear to us that day (by saying), 'We have never denied a release and we would let your sons go for any reason whatsoever and we do not want an athlete at Virginia Tech who does not want to be here,'" Shaver said in Thursday's Iowa Press-Citizen.
What isn't clear is if this issue will be taken to arbitration at the NCAA level or even to the courts.
It's still remains the hottest topic on themat.com's message boards in the off-season.
Last week's college wrestling update incorrectly identified Penn State assistant Matt Dernlan as a candidate for the Clarion position. This was incorrect, and while later updated on themat.com, it was Matt's brother, Tim Dernlan, the Director of Wrestling Operations at Penn State, that was the finalist. My apologies.
With many of the nation's high schools getting geared up for final exams and graduation in the next few weeks, the tide of commitments from some of the bigger programs are slowing, however, the non-Division I teams are starting to bring in big numbers to their respective programs.
Some schools recruit well into August, waiting for the proverbial scraps (no offense) from the nation's power programs or that diamond in the rough that didn't get big offers but is big on talent and potential.
May 11-18 has seen over 260 more seniors commit to wrestle in college, with many of the signing classes coming from Division III.
While they technically don't "sign" at Division III, since the schools do not offer athletic scholarships, large commitment pools still are abundant.
The Northeast has been very active, with Johnson & Wales, Western New England College, the U.S. Mechant Marine Academy at King's Point, Lycoming, Wilkes and Rhode Island College picking up big classes.
Great Falls and Morningside of the NAIA also picked up big classes, as did Division III Mount Union.
Great Falls' program is actively picking up talented wrestlers from the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska state champion Scott Lucas of Anchorage West.
Over in Division I, Fresno State and Drexel announced numerous signings to go along with their prior commitments, and Division II San Francisco State kept with its tradition of picking up wrestlers from the California Community College system.
Three of InterMat's Top 12 (per weight) seniors have committed this week, with Morningside College and San Francisco State inking a pair of 103-pounders. Morningside picked up Kaz Hashimoto from LaSalle, Ill., while the Gators took a shot at Pierre Bondoc, the NHSCA Senior National runner-up at 103 pounds.
Appalachian State picked up its highest ranked recruit in some time, inking Collinsville, Oklahoma standout Clinton Swango. Swango is ranked 12th among seniors at 145 pounds by InterMat.
Ironman champion Eric Cameron of Cincinnati's Archbishop Moeller High School signed with Indiana, while Cornell landed fourth-ranked heavyweight Trevin Cowman of Wyoming Valley West in Pennsylvania. Cowman is expected to wrestle following the Big Red's football season.
As of May 18, InterMat's current count for reported college signings and commitments is 1,239.