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Former OSU Wrestlers Make up Majority of African American Division I Coaches

The numbers are alarmingly low, but former Cowboys make up most of the head coaching positions.



One of the most talked about legacies credited to Coach Smith and Oklahoma State wrestling is the massive number of former athletes that go on to the coaching ranks. There are nine former Cowboys that are currently head coaches at the Div. I level and countless assistants in other positions across the country.

Another impressive part of that legacy is the significant number of color barriers broken in the sport by various Cowboys. The first black Big 8 champion, one of the first black Olympians, the first black Olympic Gold Medalist, one of the first black three-time NCAA champions, the first African American to hold two UFC titles at the same time, and the first and only black coach to lead a team to an NCAA title.

Bobby Douglas, who wrestled at Oklahoma State in the 1960s, is one of the best NCAA wrestling coaches ever, and most would also consider the best African American wrestling coach ever.

In this article from The Open Mat, Earl Smith took a look at the current representation of African American coaches across the country in wrestling. As far as head coaches, it’s a somewhat alarmingly low number. There are only three black Div. I head wrestling coaches.

Two of those three were Cowboys. Glen Lanham, who has been the head coach at Duke since 2012, and Chris Pendleton who was hired at Oregon State this summer, both wrestled at Oklahoma State. The third is Angel Escobedo who coaches at his alma mater Indiana.

With only three DI coaches, that means two-thirds of all black wrestling coaches wrestled for the Cowboys and 22% of the former Cowboys across the division one head coaching ranks are black.

Overall, it’s still an alarmingly low number to see that out of 78 DI wrestling programs, only three boast African America head coaches, but it’s significant to note that the majority of them are Cowboys.


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