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‘We Want to Get Back to Hanging Banners’: Weiberg on the Decision to Hire David Taylor

‘He’s been a big part of building up the standard for the sport right now.’



[Courtesy of OSU Athletics]

STILLWATER — After 33 years, Oklahoma State has a new wrestling coach, and to the surprise of many when news began to surface, the new guy isn’t a lifelong Cowboy.

David Taylor had his introductory news conference on Friday morning in the west endzone of Boone Pickens Stadium. It’s Taylor’s first college coaching job after he helped begin the Penn State dynasty as a wrestler for the Nittany Lions from 2009 to 2014 before staying in State College and training at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club while starting the M2 Training Center to coach younger athletes.

It would have been fairly standard for OSU athletic director Chad Weiberg to look within the OSU family to hire the Cowboys’ next coach. Hiring from within has worked in Stillwater plenty of times — look to Mike Gundy, Josh Holliday or John Smith, for goodness sake. But with OSU having not won a national title since 2006 in wrestling (the sport the university has been most dominant at), Weiberg turned his attention to Penn State’s behemoth of an ecosystem that has seen the Nittany Lions win 11 national titles since 2011.

“It’s certainly something that we take a lot of pride in, that has been the history and tradition of this program,” Weiberg said. “I think that you have to find the right person. I talked to a bunch of Cowboys, former Cowboy wrestlers about the position, about what they thought. I think that there was a lot of them that said, ‘Chad, just go get the best person. We want to compete for championships.’ Go get the best person we can. If that is a Cowboy, great. That’s kind of the icing on the cake, but there was support even within the family to just go get the best person that we can get so that we can win.”

The most likely among former Cowboys to get the job seemed to be Coleman Scott. A four-time All-American under Smith and a 2008 NCAA champion, Scott worked his way up to being the head coach at North Carolina and led the Tar Heels to a 12th-place finish at NCAAs in his final season. That was the best the program had done since 1995.

Scott then left his post as the head man in Chapel Hill to return to Stillwater as Smith’s associate head coach this past season. Upon Smith’s retirement, Scott was named the interim head coach and many thought it a formality that Scott would be the next man to take over before OSU hired Taylor and turned the college wrestling world on its head.

“Coleman is great,” Weiberg said. “I respect Coleman highly. He’s a great coach. He did a great job while he was here. He did a great job at UNC. He’s still young. He’s got a long runway ahead of him. I’m confident that if he chooses that he wants to continue to coach, he’s going to be able to do that. There are going to be people that are interested in him coaching their program. You just never know how things are going to work out. That’s just the way this works. Certainly wish him nothing but the best.”

Scott on Friday released a statement via his X account regarding OSU’s transition.

“I wanted to take time and space to share my heart today,” Scott wrote. “First, I want to say thank you to Oklahoma State University for giving me the opportunity to come back and coach this last year. It was an honor to finally get to do what I love in a place that had always felt like my true home.

“I also want to congratulate John on his retirement. Thank you for the time and energy you committed to my career. Good luck to David Taylor and the new coaching staff at OSU. It’s a special place and a legendary program that deserves the absolute best. It shaped my life and made me the man I am today. I will surely miss being a Cowboy. I’m not sure what the future holds for myself and my family, but I am always faithful that although the ox is slow, the earth is patient.”

In the fallout of the announcement, there were some upset that Scott didn’t get the job after leaving a head coaching position to return to Stillwater just last year. But in the end, Weiberg went with who he thought was the best man for the job — regardless of where he came from — because that’s what the program deserves.

“What I’ve heard over and over again is that the program is bigger than anyone,” Weiberg said. “I expect that everybody will rally around David and behind David and support him and help get the program where we want it to be. He’s been a big part of building up the standard for the sport right now. That’s a big hill for anybody that’s trying to compete with them, but that’s exactly what we want to do. That is our goal.

“We want to get back to hanging banners in Gallagher-Iba Arena. It’s gonna take everybody. David cannot do it on his own. It’s going to take former wrestlers, our alumni, our fans, our donors all lining up, getting aligned and supporting him to get where we want to be.”

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