Engel photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com; Martinez photo courtesy of Richard Immel
Today, first-year Oregon State head coach Chris Pendleton announced not one, but two assistant coaching hires. The Beavers will add Nate Engel and Isaiah Martinez to their staff for the 2020-21 season.
Engel has spent the last two seasons as a volunteer assistant for Pac-12 rival, Stanford. Before moving to Palo Alto, Nate was an assistant coach at the Naval Academy from 2014-18. In April, Engel was named USA Wrestling’s Greco-Roman Coach of the Year. Engel was a volunteer coach on the 2019 Junior World Team that came away from Estonia with three world medals, the first time that feat has been accomplished in Greco by a US team at the Junior level. He was also a coach on the Junior World Team in 2018, as well. That team brought home a pair of world medals. An All-American at Missouri Valley, Engel was also a two-time National team member in Greco and competed in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program.
Martinez has been a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, Illinois, in the two seasons since his collegiate career concluded. IMar is still active on the Senior level and will be one of the leading contenders for the 74 kg spot on the 2020 Olympic team in freestyle. Last year, Martinez made Final X at that weight class and pushed Jordan Burroughs to three matches before falling to the legend. Isaiah has to be considered one of the greatest wrestlers to ever come through the Illinois program. He was an undefeated national champion as a freshman and followed with another national championship, a year later. Martinez would become the first Illini wrestler to appear in four NCAA finals. His .975 winning percentage is easily the best in school history after going 116-3.
Engel and Martinez will provide Pendleton with a strong staff in year one in Corvallis. The Beavers will return three national qualifiers (Devan Turner, Grant Willits, and Hunter Willits) along with two others that have appeared in the national rankings (Brandon Kaylor and Colt Doyle).
When the OSU job opened up, most felt like the school would need to improve on their recruiting in California to have success. The hiring of Pendleton seemed to check the box for a California presence on the staff. Now with the additions of Martinez (Lemoore-native; same as Pendleton) and Engel (a St. Helena-native) there should be plenty of connections to CA.