Legendary 2X NCAA Wrestling Champion Looks Back at His Unconventional Recruitment to OSU Cowboys

Published 02/01/2024, 5:30 AM EST

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The Oklahoma State University wrestling team has visibly been one of the best in the NCAA Division I program. 34 team national championships, 143 individuals, and hundreds more in honors have placed the school at considerable heights amongst collegiate feats. This journey to the peak further is dictated by the best of recruits; one of whom today stands as a head coach of Oregon State with his many titles.

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Chris Pendleton, the current coach at Oregon State University, was one cowboy in the university’s prime years. The 41-year-old won two NCAA Division I wrestling titles at 174 pounds, etching a presence in the program. Today, as he proceeds on his next chapter, the cowboy reminisces on his journey through.

Path to being an NCAA wrestling champion

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Chris Pendleton recently arrived at Oklahoma State University’s exclusive interviews to talk about his wrestling journey. “One of the best to ever put on an orange singlet,” the page on X called him, and the origin of his interest hit the right mark. “Seeing all these guys [wrestling students], something clicked in me. I want to do that. That’s who I want to be,” he recalls. Setting on a firm mindset since then, Pendleton went on from being a non-starter to a state placer. “Until my senior year, I explored it on the scene and ended up going 58-0.” His presence called upon numerous recruiters from across, however the one he was looking for, John Smith, head coach to the Cowboys, apparently just walked away.

But further, it was Pendleton’s high school coach, whom Smith contacted and said, “He’s gonna be a cowboy”. Since then, the wrestling star went on to clinch 2 NCAA championships, 3 All American, and 3 times a spot on the National Team. Though he seldom stayed on the mats, since Pendleton’s wrestling excellence has shone through his next chapter.

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Pendleton carries on the excellence beyond the mats

In 2020, Oregon State University announced Chris Pendleton as the new wrestling coach, following his time at Arizona State. His recruitment skills, possibly resonating from his days, were picked on by the university. “His pedigree as a high-level recruiter will benefit this storied program,” authorities said. And they were not wrong.

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In the next two years, Pendleton had the Beavers as Pac-12 Conference and national contenders. In 2022 NCAA, the team finished 12th, making it the program’s best in a decade. In the days that followed, the coach brought his sport to his athletes, helping the school take a step further with every match. In honor of that, the wrestling star won Pac-12’s Coach of the Year and he continues to persist.

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Written by:

Shivatmika Manvi

688Articles

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Edited by:

BHUJAYA RAY CHOWDHURY

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