Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson is stepping down as the team’s coach at the season’s end, the school announced on Tuesday. Jackson will take over an administrative role with the school.
Jackson has coached four NCAA champions, 14 All-Americans and nine Big 12 champions since taking over in 2009, but his team’s dual record has slipped to 1-9 this season.
“Iowa State has a great wrestling tradition and everyone involved with the program has very high expectations,” Jackson said in the release. “We have not consistently met those expectations recently which has been disappointing to me, my staff, our current and former wrestlers, the wrestling donors and our fans. I feel that a number of wrestlers on our team have the potential for strong tournament runs and making this announcement now relieves some pressures and uncertainties for our current student-athletes as well as for incoming recruits.”
Jackson is a former Olympic Gold Medalist (1992), World Champion (1991 and 1995) and NCAA Runner-Up (1987).
Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard that he will explore potential roles on campus or in the athletics department for Jackson beyond his current contract’s end. He has only one year left on his coaching contract.
“Kevin has worked tirelessly at Iowa State to develop a first-rate program on and off the mat and we are appreciative of those efforts,” Pollard said. “He is a man of great integrity, a terrific ambassador for the Cyclones and a talented coach but we agreed that our program isn’t performing at the level we expect. I truly appreciate the way Kevin has handled this situation by putting his student-athletes and Iowa State University first. His decision to step away from coaching at the end of the season is a great example of his selfless leadership.”
The future of Iowa State’s wrestling program has been a hot topic over the past several weeks as the team struggled. They lost a pair of duals to Oklahoma and No. 1 Oklahoma State over the weekend.
The Des Moines Register’s Tommy Birch cited South Dakota State’s Chris Bono, a former Iowa State national champion, as one person to watch for the job moving forward.
“As for the future of the program, it’s time for someone else to take the reins,” Jackson said. “When I came back to Iowa State as head coach, I had very high goals for the program and we simply haven’t achieved those goals. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Iowa State has provided me as both a student-athlete and as the head coach for the last eight years.”
Stay tuned to Cyclone Fanatic for more on the future of Iowa State wrestling.