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Lion assistant coach one of five inducted in MAC's Class of '15
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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 (2001-08). 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 the school's history in any sport. The two-time All-American (national runner-up in 1998) won three MAC championships (1996, 1997, 1999) and was twice named MAC Wrestler of the Year (1998, 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.
THE CUNNINGHAM FILE
Birthday: April 25, 1976
Birthplace: Carson City, Mich.
Hometown: Middleton, Mich.
Alma Mater: Central Michigan ‘99
Children: Hayden, Asher, Ryder, Saige and Sterling
* 2009-Pres.: Head Assistant Coach, Penn State
* 2008-09: Assistant Head Coach, Iowa State
* 2001-08: Assistant Coach, Central Michigan
* 1999-00: Graduate Assistant, Central Michigan