Photo: Sam Janicki

Olympic champ Taylor named head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State

STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State Director of Athletics Chad Weiberg has announced wrestling great David Taylor as the eighth head coach in Oklahoma State history.

"With 34 national championships, the Oklahoma State wrestling program is the most successful in the country by any metric, regardless of sport. We began this search knowing there is no goal that is unattainable for Cowboy Wrestling. No expectations are too high," Weiberg said. "The ambitions we have for ourselves led us to the hiring of David Taylor, someone of equally high goals and ambitions."

An Olympic gold medalist, three-time winner at the World Championships, two-time Dan Hodge Trophy winner, two-time NCAA champion, four-time NCAA finalist and four-time Big Ten champion, Taylor holds one of the most impressive résumés of any wrestler in history.

"It's an honor to be in this position and I'm extremely grateful," Taylor said. "I'm looking forward to the future of Oklahoma State wrestling. It has an unbelievable tradition and I'm excited to be part of it moving forward. I've achieved everything I have wanted in my personal career, and this is no longer about me. I am just thrilled to be in the position to help others achieve their goals, and truly make an impact in the wrestling world and on the lives around me."

"We are allowed to have very high expectations here because we have elite support and so many great people across multiple generations who care deeply about Cowboy Wrestling and the sport of wrestling," Weiberg said. "While there are many to thank for their help during this process, I'd like to particularly thank Chad Richison. Without his leadership support of our program, this wouldn't be possible. Like so many others, he cares deeply about the sport of wrestling, wants to see it continue to thrive in the state of Oklahoma at all levels, and shares my belief that a strong Oklahoma State program helps assure that continues to be the case long into the future.

"Replacing a legend like John Smith is a daunting task," Weiberg added. "He has been the face of Oklahoma State wrestling nearly four decades. In many ways, David has had a similar path in becoming our head coach. I know he respects and admires John and is up to meeting the high expectations we all share for this program. I look forward to introducing him to the Cowboy family."

Taylor has most recently served as the owner and operator of the M2 Training Center, which he created to help wrestlers learn and achieve their goals on and off the mat while he competed at the world level.

As a Penn State Nittany Lion from 2009-14, Taylor put together a record of 134-3, totaling 50 pins, 42 technical falls and 29 major decisions on his way to earning the 2012 and 2014 NCAA titles at 165 pounds. He earned Hodge Trophies each of those years to become the third multiple-time recipient of the honor. Taylor's final collegiate match saw him win a title in Oklahoma City.

His accolades helped lead Penn State to NCAA team titles all four years he competed, the first of which was the Nittany Lions' first in nearly 60 years. He was also a multiple time academic All-America and academic all-conference honoree at Penn State.

At the world level, Taylor most recently won his fourth World/Olympic gold medal at 86 kg in 2023, dominating the field. He went 5-0 at the event and pinned Iran's Hassan Yazdani in the world title bout, leading 9-3 at the time of the fall. The five wins included three falls and two technical falls.

Prior to that he won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that were held in 2021, as well as world titles in 2022 and 2018 to go with a World silver medal in 2021.

He holds a senior world freestyle career record of 152–21.

Before his collegiate and international success, Taylor won the prestigious Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award while competing for St. Paris Graham High School in Ohio. He finished his career with a 180-2 overall record in four years and won four consecutive Ohio state championships, with two titles at 103 pounds, one at 112 and another at 135. He was the 2009 Ohio State wrestling tournament's outstanding wrestler, the Ohio Wrestler of the Year in each of his last two seasons and a two-time Asics first team All-American. He also won the Beast of the East title and won the Ironman crown an unprecedented four times, becoming the first wrestler to win four titles in the storied history of the event. Other accolades include three Cadet and two Junior National titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman competition while serving as a member of the 4-H Club and being ranked in the top 10 of his class.

Taylor and his wife, Kendra, have three girls, London, Ivy and Birdie.

All head coaching hires are pending approval by the Oklahoma State Board of Regents.