By Amanda Dahl
Purdue Sports Information
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue head wrestling coach Tony Ersland assembled the first piece of his coaching staff with the hiring of three-time All-American and 2009 Big Ten champion Tyrel Todd as an assistant coach. A decorated collegiate career, combined with high caliber national and international freestyle experience, Todd brings a standard of excellence into the Boilermaker wrestling room.
“Tyrel is a young man that I actually coached against for years at Nebraska,” Ersland said. “I always liked his intensity, his toughness, his competitive drive and I think he is going to bring that same mindset to the Purdue wrestling room. He has the right blend of experience and he’s young, he’s still in the room with the guys everyday wrestling and training. He just recently stopped competing and I think that there’s that blend that we want; being able to train in the room with the guys and still have that good coaching experience.”
Todd comes to Purdue after serving as an assistant coach at Arizona State (2013-14) and Cal Poly (2010-11).
“First of all, I’d like to thank Coach Ersland for this amazing opportunity,” Todd said. “I am excited to be back in the Big Ten and to work with Coach Ersland. Everywhere he has been he’s had success recruiting and worked with great coaches. He’s a great leader, coach and person. I look forward to building a program with him.
“Purdue is a great school and it’s really nice to come into a good setup with a lot of positives. I can’t wait to start recruiting guys that want to grind and aren’t afraid to train with the expectation of high results. I want to recruit wrestlers that want to do something that hasn’t been done before here at Purdue. We want to turn heads and create something new and exciting and to me as a coach, that’s really exciting.”
A two-time team captain at Michigan, Todd made his mark on the Wolverine program wrestling at 184 and 197 pounds. In his first three seasons at 184, Todd posted an 82-24 record while placing fifth, third and second at the Big Ten Championships and earning as many trips to the NCAA Championships. Todd earned a spot on the podium his sophomore and junior campaigns, placing fifth and third, respectively.
Bumping up to 197 pounds in his final season, Todd registered a 25-3 record en route to a Big Ten title and a fourth-place showing at the NCAA Championships. He finished with a career record of 121-30, with his 121 wins ranking 16th all-time at Michigan. In four NCAA appearances, Todd compiled a 16-7 mark, which ranks seventh in program history. He is also tied for third all-time with a 13-4 career record at the Big Ten Championships.
Todd’s pursuit of excellence extended beyond the mat and into the classroom. He was an All-Big Ten Academic selection and Athletic Academic Achievement Award winner in 2006, received the Snip Nalan Scholarship for Wrestling in 2008-09 and was named the team’s Distinguished Scholar in 2009.
Todd also found success wrestling freestyle at 84 kg. He took fifth at the 2007 ASICS U.S. National Championships, eighth in 2008 and was seventh in 2011. In 2008, Todd placed fourth at the Olympic Trials, narrowly missing a bid for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
After a successful career at Michigan, Todd spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant at Cal Poly where he had four NCAA qualifiers (141, 157, 165, 197), including a runner-up finish from Borislav Novachkov at 141.
Following the season he returned to Ann Arbor, Mich., and took a post with the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club where he trained alongside his former teammates, while also mentoring and aiding in their individual development. His position at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club allowed Todd to spend extensive time training alongside the top freestyle wrestlers in the country and to tour and compete in Russia, Chechnya and Ukraine.
In July 2013, Todd was named an assistant coach at Arizona State where he worked exclusively with the 165-285-pound wrestlers. He played a key role in recruiting, coordinating practices, developing training schedules and organizing team travel.
Todd’s background as a competitor and as a coach has prepared him for his return to the Big Ten Conference where he knows what it takes to succeed.
“Recruiting will be the number one thing on my priority list at Purdue,” Todd said. “I want to find the wrestlers that are excited to be in the Big Ten, it’s the toughest conference out there and it’s a grind week in and week out. I embraced that as a wrestler and I want to recruit the wrestlers that are ready to get after it every weekend.
“Secondly, I want to work with and develop the upper weights on our roster. I want to build their confidence through tough work, but also mentally. There’s so much that goes into wrestling in this league and at this level. Wrestling isn’t just a technical chess match, it’s also mental. I think this group has untapped potential and I can’t wait to get to work with them.”
Todd is a native of Bozeman, Mont., and hails from a six-generation dairy farming operation. He received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Michigan in 2009, majoring in history and minoring in psychology. He and his wife, Loni, are expecting their first child this fall.