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Oregon State Hires Oklahoma State Legend Chris Pendleton As Head Wrestling Coach

The new head coach comes to the program from Arizona State.

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A few weeks after Oregon State parted ways with head coach Jim Zalesky after a fourteen-year run at the school, athletic director Scott Barnes has decided to hire Arizona State assistant coach Chris Pendleton as the new head coach of the Beavers wrestling program.

Pendleton comes to Corvallis after six seasons with the Sun Devils, where he helped to revamp the program’s squad into one of the best in the Pac-12 and country alike. Prior to his time there, Pendleton was an assistant coach at Wyoming and a volunteer assistant at Oklahoma State, his alma mater.

A legendary wrestler from 2001-2005 in Stillwater, Pendleton won two NCAA Championships and was a three-time All-American selection, while posting an 118-12 overall record for the Cowboys. While I don’t claim to be a wrestling expert by any stretch of the imagination, I will take Earl Smith’s opinion on the hiring to be a sign of good fortune, considering he believes that Pendleton will be the right man for the Beavers to bring talented California recruits into the program.

“Though he wrestled in college at Oklahoma State, Pendleton was an attractive candidate for the Beavers because of his roots as a California native. When Oregon State was at its best under Zalesky, the school did well at pulling in recruits from California. With his ties in the state, as well as experience coaching in the region, in the Pac-12, most assume that the recruiting efforts will receive a boost under Pendleton’s supervision.” - Earl Smith, The Open Mat (

Oklahoma State head coach John Smith, a legendary figure in the wrestling community who owns five national titles and coached Pendleton, commented on the hiring saying, “It’s exciting to see Chris move forward in his career to become a head coach. OSU has hired one of the best young coaches in the country, and in doing so has made all of our jobs tougher on the West Coast.”