It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights
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    It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    Troy Nickerson New Assistant Wrestling Coach - Iowa State University Athletics Official Web Site - www.CYCLONES.com - The home of Iowa State Cyclone Sports

    fantastic hire, excited to see what he can do with Ryak, Meeks, Bauer, and all the other little guys.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    He was very high on my wishlist. I really like that hire.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    This is big for the program. A top notch lightweight coach from the east.



    Loyal Sons for ever True



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    I'm really excited about the emphasis on the lighter weights. As a casual observer it just has seemed to me that the lighter weights have been in general a liability at ISU. I don't know how many times I have seen ISU essentially lose a dual to Iowa, for example, before the strength of ISU's squad even takes the mat. Iowa always has seemed to have the horses at the lighterweights to get the momentum that is hard to wrench free. I know, with the changes in the ordering of matches this is lessened, but it still is an issue.


    "There are five real good recruits in the state. We got three of them. One couldn’t get into school, and the other went to (the University of) Iowa...which is about the same thing." - Coach Johnny Orr

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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    please dear God let this work out.

    Our lightweights have been the bane of my existence for 10 years.


    John Walters is my hero

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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    I really like this hire. 4 time AA from a good school and program (Cornell). He will get down and wrestle with the guys and work hard to improve the light weight guys. Great job KJ!!!

    Also I am pretty sure Travis Paulsen got moved to head assistant and Troy Nickerson is 2nd assistant.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    Great hire. A young, smart guy who can coach up our light weights is exactly what we needed for this position. Plus, as he pointed out in the press release, a guy with recruiting connections in that part of the country is also a great get.

    Does anybody know who is in charge of our Strength and Conditioning program? Because getting a guy like Nickerson was one half of what I am hoping to see this offseason, and an overhaul of our S&C program to make us less injury prone is the other half.


    Last edited by Judoka; 05-18-2012 at 05:31 PM.

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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    Ditto on all of the above! I'm really excited for this hire. I hope he does well. I have high hopes for a guy like this making an impact on our program. Smart, lightweight, champion, I like it.

    Agreed on the S&C coach too. Not a clue who's in charge of that for wrestling right now though.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    I think S & C is lumped with other non revenue sports, so no one right now dedicated to wrestling only



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    I believe Andrew Moser is the S&C coach for wrestling...and all other sports except Football. Would be nice to be able to hire another full time S&C coach or two.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    Quote Originally Posted by buf87 View Post
    I think S & C is lumped with other non revenue sports, so no one right now dedicated to wrestling only
    Wrestling doesn't have a full time dedicated guy like Yancy. But somebody is responsible for their weightlifting and offseason/conditioning workouts. And whoever that is needs to do a better job.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    Welcome to the Cyclone family Troy. Do the best you can, and influence these great prospects to greater levels. I think this is a great hire, I bet this guy is stoked to get in the room and work in summer camps. He had a good coach in Rob Koll, and his ability took him to great acheivement. Now, he gets to know what ISU-EIU means. It's special, it's important, and there's no place on earth like Iowa for college wrestling.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    I think the staff looks like this

    Head Coach - Kevin Jackson
    Head Assistant - Travis Paulson
    2nd Assistant - Troy Nickerson
    Volunteer Coach - Jon Reader

    CWC senior members

    Trent Paulson - I figure KJ has talked to Trent about his future at Iowa State. I am curious to see if anything comes out about it. He is on the USA World team, so can get some help from USA/OTC wrestling. (Same with Travis, but not sure what stipulations are to recieve the $$$)

    Jon Reader - Plans to compete for 2016 Olympics, so will be a CWC member for awhile

    David Zabriskie - Heard he is interviewing at Rutgers and Lehigh, not sure if its coaching or club positions. I think it might be to get closer to home. I believehe is from New Jersey.

    I am thinking we will bring in another CWC member, probably a light weight.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    I don't have any inside info or anything, but I assume Zabriskie is done competing and will move into coaching somewhere. Hopefully we can get another heavyweight on the CWC roster to give Gibson a quality workout partner.



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    Re: It's Official: Troy Nickerson to Coach Lightweights

    Sounds like a great hire, just what the doctor ordered for our lightweights, and a 5-time New York state champion, NCAA champion and 4-time All-American (2nd as a true freshman, 3rd, 1st, 4th).

    As to coaching tree, even the casual fan should be interested in the history of Troy's coach at Cornell, Rob Koll, and Koll's father, Bill (UNI and Penn State). When Iowa State was looking into Cael's replacement, before hiring KJ, two names that came up a lot were Rob Koll's, and Mark Manning at Nebraska. One of the Cyclone Fanatics here even emailed Coach Koll, who quite graciously replied, saying someone would first have to convince his wife, who liked Cornell too much to leave.

    Koll has built Cornell into a powerhouse, with the following finishes at the NCAA tournament over the last decade:
    Cornell University Athletics - Cornell Wrestling History

    2003 - 10th
    2004 - 11th
    2005 - 4th
    2006 - 5th
    2007 - 12th
    2008 - 9th
    2009 - 6th
    2010 - 2nd
    2011 - 2nd
    2012 - 4th

    Cornell is in the Ivy league, but similar to Iowa State, is also the land grant institution in New York.

    From the ISU link in the original post:
    Troy Nickerson New Assistant Wrestling Coach
    ... Most recently, Nickerson served as an assistant wrestling coach for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club in Ithaca, N.Y. While coaching at FLWC, Nickerson constructed and ran wrestling practices for youth, high school, college and senior age divisions. He was the head coach of the FLWC college team during the 2010-11 season. ...
    Here is more about Troy at his webpage:
    About: Troy Nickerson

    Rob Koll's father, Bill Koll, is a legend in the sport and originally from Fort Dodge. He wrestled at UNI, where he was 72-0 and a 3-time national champion, and was twice named the outstanding wrestler at the NCAA tournament. He was the first to win it more than once, and gave up just one takedown in his college career.

    And again, he would later coach at UNI and Penn State.

    Koll wrestled for legendary Coach Dave McCuskey, whose squad brought the national title home for UNI in 1950.
    University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1931-1952

    Koll's roommate at UNI was Bob Siddens, another National Wresting Hall of Fame member, and who coached Dan Gable in high school, among many others, at Waterloo West. Other teammates at UNI included, "NCAA champs: Cecil Mott, Gerald Leeman (who won the silver medal at the 1948 Olympics), Russell Bush, and Bill Nelson."

    I'm getting most of this from a great father-son 2007 article from InterMat, which I quote extensively below. See the article for much much more on Rob Koll, Troy's head coach at Cornell. I pasted and highlighted just the last part on Rob's father.

    Bill Koll also fought at D-Day, and was known for his toughness on the mat, including the body slam, which was legal under collegiate rules at that time. The award for the outstanding wrestler at the NCAAs is named after him.

    InterMat Wrestling - InterMat Rewind: Bill & Rob Koll



    Meet Bill Koll

    Bill Koll was arguably THE superstar of college wrestling in the 1940s. A three-time NCAA champ for Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), Koll never lost a match in college. In his entire college career, Bill was taken down only once -- during the 1946 NCAA finals by Oklahoma State's Edgar Welch.

    Yet Bill Koll wasn't always the rough, tough, seemingly invincible mat star. As a high school sophomore in Fort Dodge, Iowa, [same hometown, but I'm not sure if there is any family relationship with Lisa Koll, the recent 4-time NCAA champion Cyclone distance runner and current college record holder in the 10,000 meters] he weighed only 78 pounds… and lost every one of his dual-meet matches. The following year, he experienced a tremendous growth spurt -- not only gaining almost 50 pounds, but also a ton of experience in the wrestling room and in actual matches -- and placed third at the state tournament at 125. By his senior year, Bill gained a bit more weight -- and even more strength and experience -- and won the Iowa high school state title at 135 pounds.

    College, interrupted

    In a profile for the 1981 book "From Gotch to Gable: A History of Wrestling in Iowa", Bill Koll told author Mike Chapman, "Frankly, I never seriously considered college until my senior year in high school… The only school that showed any interest in me was Iowa State Teachers College and (head coach) Dave McCuskey."

    During the 1942-43 season, first-year student Bill Koll soaked up experience in the ISTC wrestling room and in open tournaments. (At the time, NCAA rules prohibited freshmen from competing in regular dual meets). But in February 1943, Bill was inducted into the Army, and "never saw a wrestling mat for 34 months," he's quoted as saying in "From Gotch to Gable". "As a combat engineer, I spent 24 months in Europe, where our unit of amphibious engineers landed at Omaha Beach at 6:15 a.m. on June 6."

    Bill's son Rob picks up the story: "He was one of the first at the Normandy beach invasion on D-Day …
    He was among those who had to clear the beach of the dead and wounded before the generals arrived. He only started to talk about all this about the time of the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion."

    "I think from this experience, he was so able to focus on anything, and develop what he called a 'controlled anger' which he used on his opponents," says the younger Koll. "He taught me to focus that way with escaping from the down position. Emotional control -- quick, explosive, 'fight or flight.' A lot of that came from his Army training. It made him more brutal on the mat."

    Return to wrestling

    Bill Koll was discharged from the Army in December 1945, and within three days was back at ISTC. The 1945-46 season had limited dual-meet competition, but Bill qualified for the NCAAs, held that year at Gallagher Hall at Oklahoma State. "Not being in top shape, I did not have one of my top tournaments," the elder Koll is quoted as saying in "From Gotch to Gable". "I was taken down in the finals by an Oklahoma Aggie (Edgar Welch of Oklahoma State) for the only time anyone gained a takedown on me, and even though the match was not a difficult one to win, I certainly was not as precise as when I was in good shape." Koll beat Welch 7-2 to win the 145-pound title at the 1946 NCAAs, and the trophy for the most falls.

    The following season, Bill Koll continued his winning streak, culminating in a 7-2 victory over Roger Snook of Cornell College of Iowa in the 1947 NCAA finals to win his second title at 145 -- one of three champs from ISTC -- and claim Outstanding Wrestler honors. Bill's senior year, the NCAAs were a qualifying event for the 1948 Olympics, using Olympic rules. Despite being new to this style of wrestling, Koll pinned his way through the tournament, winning the 147.5 lb title, and claiming his second straight Outstanding Wrestler award -- the first wrestler to win that honor more than once.

    By winning the 1948 NCAA title, Bill Koll earned a place on the U.S. Olympic team -- and a trip to London, where he placed fifth in his weight class.

    While at ISTC, Bill Koll was surrounded by greatness on the wrestling team. His roommate was Bob Siddens -- long-time wrestling official and legendary Waterloo West (Iowa) High School coach who guided many future NCAA champs, perhaps most notably Dan Gable. Among his ISTC teammates who also became NCAA champs: Cecil Mott, Gerald Leeman (who won the silver medal at the 1948 Olympics), Russell Bush, and Bill Nelson. "Dad thought his teammates could've stood up to any top modern program," according to Rob Koll.

    Slam time

    Bill Koll was known for his tough wrestling style. But he was revered -- and feared -- for his body-slamming technique that brought opponents crashing to the mat for the pin.

    Bob Siddens described the situation in Mike Chapman's 2006 book "Legends of the Mat": "Slamming was allowed in (Bill Koll's) era … I remember clear as a bell this one time Bill slammed a foe to the mat so hard, the fellow was nearly unconscious. Bill shook him when he was on top, so it looked like the guy was trying to escape, and the referee called a pin…"

    "They changed the slam rule after that," says Siddens.

    "I would slam 'em down if I could," Bill Koll was quoted in a 1985 Des Moines Register story, "The year I graduated, they took the slam out of wrestling … It was one of my favorite moves, a perfectly legal tactic. It wasn't something that was dubious. It was in our repertoire."


    "Wing locks, double-bar arms, the body slam … those are some of the things we used that are illegal now. They were kind of painful, and helped make a person submit quicker."

    The transition to coaching

    After graduating from Iowa State Teachers College, Bill Koll launched a long and successful career as a college wrestling coach. After brief stints at the University of Chicago and Cornell of Iowa, he came back to his college alma mater, where he was head coach for eleven seasons (1953-64), compiling a 71-42-6 record for a .622 winning percentage. While at ISTC, he coached three NCAA champs … and managed to earn his doctorate in education from Oregon State.

    "He was the key to the great Iowa Teachers teams of the 1940s and 50s," according to Bill Smith, a two-time NCAA champ for ISTC in 1949 and 1950, and 1952 Olympic gold medalist. "He administered beatings to all of us in the room, no matter what weight we were. He manhandled everybody, and made us all tougher … I probably wouldn't have been an Olympic champion without Bill Koll."

    In 1965, Bill Koll accepted the head coaching job at Penn State,
    taking the reins from Charlie Speidel, who had coached the Nittany Lions since 1927. During his fourteen seasons, Bill compiled a 127-22-7 record for a .852 winning percentage -- highest in Penn State history. His teams had five seasons without a dual-meet loss, and racked up a 41-match unbeaten streak at PSU's Rec Hall from 1969 through 1976. What's more, Bill led the Nittany Lions to six Top Ten NCAA finishes, with 20 All-Americans and three individual NCAA champions.

    "I think about how hard my dad had to work," says Rob Koll. "He was a full-time professor of Health and PE, and the head coach of the wrestling program, with just one assistant."

    Bill Koll retired from coaching at the end of the 1978 season. In addition to being inducted into both the Iowa and Pennsylvania Wrestling Halls of Fame, Bill Koll is a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the Glen Brand Hall of Fame at the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute & Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

    In September 2003, Bill Koll passed away from a stroke at age 80. However, his legacy lives on. In 2007, thanks to the gift of an anonymous donor, the Outstanding Wrestler award at the NCAA Division I tournament was named in Bill Koll's honor … with Derek Moore, 141-pound champ from UC-Davis being first to win the newly-named Koll Award. And, of course, Bill Koll's legacy continues with the lives he touched as a wrestler, coach, and father.
    Anyway, I thought more people should know some of the background here. Troy surely does, and I think we all know the side he comes down on as to the Cyclones and Hawks. Congratulations, Troy, welcome, and best of luck!



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