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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling: Cael Sanderson Announces Hiring of Program Great

Penn State Wrestling
Photo by Penn State Wrestling: Cael Sanderson

Penn State wrestling has hired its man to replace Jimmy Kennedy as an assistant coach.

As would be expected, PSU didn’t have to look too far to find its man.

That man is Nick Lee, a legendary wrestler at Penn State who has since been training with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.

Coach Cael Sanderson announced this news on NLWC’s podcast, “Strong and Grateful.” As a wrestler at Penn State, Lee was a two-time national champ at 141 and five-time All-American, taking advantage of his COVID season in 2021-22. Since college, Lee’s been wrestling in freestyle, where he was on the brink of qualifying for the Olympics last month.

Unfortunately, another Penn State great got in his way.

Zain Retherford, who was teammates with Lee for the 2017-18 season, beat his old teammate twice in a row to win a best-of-three series.

Retherford then clinched his qualification at the world qualifiers in Istanbul this past weekend.

Both Retherford and Lee were talked up by Penn State wrestling legend Aaron Brooks as the best candidates to succeed Kennedy.

“I think Nick Lee or Zain (Retherford) would be really cool,” Brooks said on the Baschamania podcast hosted by Justin Basch.

Kennedy, who another Penn State wrestling legend, David Taylor, hired to Oklahoma State’s staff earlier this month, worked with lightweights (125-141) at Penn State.

Lee wrestled at 141 in college, Retherford 149, so both are at least in the range where they can work with lighter wrestlers.

“Because they wrestled the weight, you know,” Brooks said. “I think Nick and Zain would be really good coaches. They really care about the guys, so I think those two are really good guys. Those are honorable men. If I had to, it’s not my decision, but if I had to [it would be one of them].”

Apparently, Cael Sanderson agreed.

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