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NCAA wrestling notebook: Longtime Pitt coach mulls future

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By Scott Brown
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 5:12 p.m.
 

DES MOINES, Iowa — Rande Stottlemyer's trip to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships may well have been his final one at Pitt.

Stottlemyer said he is not sure if he will return for a 35th season as the Panthers' head coach.

“You never want to stay too long,” said Stottlemyer, who was a three-time All-American at Pitt before becoming its head coach. “I'm a short timer.”

That hasn't exactly been a secret. Associate head coach Jason Peters is Pitt's head coach-in-waiting, and assistant coach Matt Kocher is also slated to move up after Stottlemyer retires.

Stottlemyer, who has 305 dual-meet victories and has guided Pitt to the past three Eastern Wrestling League titles, has tried to make the eventual transition as smooth as possible.

He stayed in the background this season, ceding more coaching duties to Peters and Kocher, a 2007 All-American at Pitt.

Stottlemyer said he will make a decision on his future sooner rather than later. If he leaves after distinguishing himself for four decades in the program, Stottlemyer will do so having coached a pair of All-Americans in 197-pounder Matt Wilps (third at the NCAA Championships) and 285-pounder Zac Thomusseit (fifth).

“The guys did a great job,” Stottlemyer said of his wrestlers at the NCAA tournament. “We've been developing a culture and they've added to it.”

The gold standard

Kyle Dakes writes down his goals on a daily basis, and the Cornell senior will focus on some new ones after becoming the first wrestler to win four national championships in four different weight classes.

“The college wrestling book I finished it,” Dakes said after capping his incomparable career Saturday night with a 5-4 win over Penn State's David Taylor in the 165-pound championship match.

Dakes will turn his attention to the Olympics with the goal of winning a gold medal in 2016 and then repeating the feat in 2020 — assuming the worldwide wrestling body is able to keep the sport in the Olympics despite an International Olympics Committee recommendation to drop it after 2016.

On the key to winning national titles at 141, 149, 157 and 165 pounds, Dakes said, “My ability to adapt really, really helped me accomplish that.”

Almost a champion

Mitchell Port gave Edinboro a national runner-up for the second time in as many years, and the redshirt sophomore nearly upset unbeaten Kendric Maple of Oklahoma in the 141-pound championship bout.

Maple rode an early takedown to a 4-3 win and perfect season. Port, however, had Maple on the defensive in the third period. He won a point after two stalling penalties were called on the Oklahoma redshirt junior to tie the match, but Maple's advantage in riding time gave him the one-point victory.

Port and A.J. Schopp (fourth place at 133 pounds) led Edinboro to a 14th-place finish. The Fighting Scots scored 37.5 points and turned in their best showing in the tournament since finishing sixth in 2009.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

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