Sanderson and company sending 10 wrestlers to Des Moines for title chase
Lions host Nittany Lion Open on Sunday
Penn State on two-year NCAA and Big Ten title run
Ruth second, Molinaro fourth in voting as Lions finish 1,2 and 4 in voting.
Former wrestlers joined staff in 2011
Casey Cunningham is in his sixth year on the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling staff. Named head assistant coach by Cael Sanderson in April of 2009, Casey is in his 15th year as a collegiate coach.
Cunningham served as Cael Sanderson's head assistant coach at Iowa State as well. Prior to his one-year stint in Ames, he was head assistant coach at Central Michigan for seven years (2001-2008). He began his coaching career in 1999 as a graduate assistant at CMU and then spent a year at the Olympic Training Center. During his tenure at CMU, he helped lead 18 Chippewas to All-American honors and 35 Mid-American titles. During Cunningham's last season as an assistant, Central Michigan finished seventh at the 2008 NCAA Championships. CMU dominated the MAC during Cunningham's time with the Chippewas, winning the last 10 regular season championships (including all eight during his run as an assistant).
As a wrestler, Cunningham is among Central Michigan's all-time greats. He capped off his collegiate career in 1999 by winning the 157-pound title in the Bryce Jordan Center, earning the school's first Division I national title and only the second individual title in school history in any sport. The two-time All-American (he was national runner-up in 1998) won three MAC championships (1996, 1997 and 1999) and was twice named MAC Wrestler of the Year (1998 and 1999). Cunningham finished his Chippewa career with a 134-19 record. An accomplished international competitor, Cunningham won the 2008 Pan American Games silver medal and was two time U.S. Nationals and World Team Trials runner-up. An outstanding student, Cunningham was a four-time NWCA Academic All-American.
Cunningham earned his bachelor's degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice from CMU in 1999. His wife, Tara (Nott), is an Olympic champion, having won the gold medal in weight lifting at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. The couple has three sons, Hayden, Asher and Ryder and two daughters, Saige and Sterling.