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Penn State Wrestling Loses Assistant, NLWC Loses Member to David Taylor, Oklahoma State

Photo by Penn State Athletics

As expected, a member of Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson’s staff is leaving to join Penn State wrestling legend David Taylor at Oklahoma State.

Penn State’s Olympic training club, the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, is also losing one of its members.

Former Penn State assistant Jimmy Kennedy is leaving Happy Valley for Stillwater. Thomas Gilman, who wrestled at Iowa but is with NLWC, is also going.

When it became official late Monday night that Taylor, a two time Hodge Trophy winner at PSU and 2021 Gold Medalist in freestyle would be leaving the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club for Stillwater, many assumed Jimmy Kennedy would be on his staff.

Not only do Taylor and Kennedy have a close relationship through Penn State, they’re literally family.

Taylor married Kennedy’s sister, Kendra in 2016. Although that connection helps, this isn’t a case of nepotism. Kennedy was a three-time All-American at Illinois in the late 2000s-early 2010s and worked his way onto the U.S. World Team in freestyle. Kennedy got into coaching in 2018, becoming an assistant at Northwestern for three seasons. When Jake Varner left Penn State’s coaching staff to become the head of NLWC, there was an opening on Sanderson’s staff, and Kennedy was the man to fill it.

Kennedy will be Taylor’s associate head coach, meaning second-in-command. Cody Sanderson is Penn State’s associate head coach. At Penn State, Kennedy worked with Penn State’s lightweight wrestlers. This past season, he helped Braeden Davis (125) to a national championship as a true freshman and Beau Bartlett to a national final appearance at 141.

So Penn State certainly needs to fill that role.

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