photo courtesy of Richard Immel
And just like that, the third of the three vacant head coaching positions has been filled as Oregon State has decided to hire Arizona State assistant coach Chris Pendleton. Pendleton’s name had surfaced immediately as a possible candidate for the job after Jim Zalesky was let go following the Pac-12 Championships. Chris just finished his sixth year with the Sun Devil program and was instrumental in the growth of Zahid Valencia into a two-time NCAA champion and three-time finalist.
Though he wrestled in college at Oklahoma State, Pendleton was an attractive candidate for the Beavers because of his roots as a California native. When Oregon State was at its best under Zalesky, the school did well at pulling in recruits from California. With his ties in the state, as well as experience coaching in the region, in the Pac-12, most assume that the recruiting efforts will receive a boost under Pendleton’s supervision.
Chris was a two-time national champion and three-time All-American during his days at Oklahoma State. Pendleton is best remembered for his battles with Ben Askren, who went undefeated after Pendleton’s graduation. The two met twice in the NCAA finals with Pendleton winning on both occasions. After college, Chris went on to make three national teams on the freestyle circuit.. Before coming to Arizona State, Chris spent four years on the coaching staff at the University of Wyoming where his final title was Head Assistant Coach.
While the current head coaching vacancies have been filled, his move should send shockwaves throughout the assistant coaching community. A spot on the Sun Devil coaching staff should be an enticing position, which will undoubtedly lead to movement, along with the coaches Chris hires to fill out his staff in Corvallis.