April 20, 2009
Opening Statement from new Head Wrestling Coach Cael Sanderson
Thank you very much. Thank you, Tim. Thank you, Dr. Spanier. I am very honored and very excited about this opportunity. I can't stop thinking about this, but we need to get the mascot on a weight program. (laughter) We have plenty of time for that.
I am excited about this. I am excited about the future of Penn State wrestling. I am very grateful for this opportunity. I am very grateful that my staff from Iowa State is going to be coming with me. I wouldn't have gone without them and my brother Cody, and Casey Kungingham, who is trying to hide in the shadows over there. Without them, this probably wouldn't have happened and I appreciate that. I don't really have a lot to say right now, I'm just in a transitional phase, but I can't wait to get my feet on the ground and really start moving. My plans are big, and my vision is big, it is just a matter of getting it done. I don't want to stand up here and talk a lot. I just want to get started and we will see what we can do. Thank you very much. Thank you everyone for being here. I really appreciate the warm welcome, it means a great deal.
Q: What has the past week and a half been like for you emotionally?
A: It has been very difficult. Making the decision to leave a school that I love and has given me so much and has been very special to my family, it has been very emotional and it has been very difficult. But I feel like I've made the right decision and I'm anxious to get started here.
Q: What about the job here attracted you?
Q: What are your overall goals coming here?
A: Pennsylvania has the best high school wrestling in the country. Second to Utah, I guess. (laughter) This is wrestling country. The potential here is very interesting to me. It is going to be a challenge. I know every change in every career has its different challenges. These are challenges I am looking forward to. The potential of the program and the strong history of the program- This is a school that people want to come to. I knew of Penn State when I was a little kid. I'd like to think that this is a school that can have many successes.
A: My goal is always to win. I believe that we can and will win. A simple focus is what we are here for. We are going to represent Penn State University, and we are going to win.
Q: Were there any non-wrestling reasons that you chose to come here?
A: I've heard that there is great ice cream. (laughter) I grew up in the mountains in Utah, so that's appealing. But really, the decision was based on the potential here. The potential I had at Iowa State was incredible. It is one of the top three programs in the country historically, and I've never dreamt of leaving there. I love Iowa State. This is just a different opportunity, and one that was very intriguing from the beginning. I do think about 'what if I stayed where I was' and 'I could have had great success there,' but we are going to have great success here as well.
Q: How familiar are you with the high school wrestling in Pennsylvania and if you aren't, how do you plan on familiarizing yourself with the in-state programs and coaches?
A: I've been in the state several times as a competitor and a few times, well I guess I haven't been here as a coach yet. I've been in the area recruiting. Those are things that I'm looking forward too. I don't have a clear answer for you how I'm going to do that right now, but I'm going get out and make sure that we keep the best kids at Penn State.
Q: When did you first think about doing this?
A: It's just been a short window. The minutes and the hours that I've thought about this over that time has pretty much been every second. My family and I have counseled with the people close to me. Like I said before, this has been a very difficult time, a very emotional time. I feel like this is the place for me and I can't explain that probably very eloquently but this is where I want to be right now and I think this is the right place.
Q: Did you contact Penn State or did they contact you?
A: I don't really want to get into the recruiting process and the history. It's been a tough time and it happened real fast. This is just a situation here that, you know, really I'm just looking forward to getting started and getting things moving here.
Q: What is your response to the crowd that showed up here today?
A: This is awesome. If we can get this many people out to a press conference, I can't wait to see what we can do for a dual meet.
Q: It was probably hard for you to leave Iowa State, what do you have to say to your fans back there?
A: My message is just thank you. I've cherished my time there. I've been at Iowa State for 12 years and I've loved it. I've loved every minute of it. There are some very special people there too me, especially the current wrestlers on the team. It's been very difficult. It's a tough time. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions.
Q: A lot of the reporting in Iowa said you made this move for financial reasons. What is your response?
A: I've heard that as well. I've been looking forward to talking to Mr. Curley about that. The reasons I'm here are, it's simple. It's not anything about the finances. It's about just the unique situation that Penn State wrestling has. It's really that simple.
Q: What did Mr. Curley and President Spanier tell you about Penn State that really intrigued you?
A: It's just a number of things. I feel very comfortable with them. The president, he went to Iowa State as an under-grad. There seemed to be a lot of connections there. But, bottom line, I feel comfortable with them and their commitment to this program and helping me to achieve my goals as a coach. This is a place that I know with that type of commitment that we can do extremely well.
Q: Have you talked to this team yet?
A: We talked briefly just before the press conference here. I'm looking forward to getting to know these guys and sitting down and meeting with them individually and that's something that we will do over the next few days.
Q: What was the reaction of the Iowa State wrestlers?
A: It's just different for each individual. It's been a tough time. You spend a lot of time and go through a lot together. There's not much more I can say. I'm not going to get into the details of anything. I'm just trying to look ahead right now.
Q: Do you have any plans in the direction of making this a stronger program and site?
A: Yeah, absolutely. We want to make this one of the main regional training sites of USA wrestling and we're going to recruit and obviously there are kids in the program now that have aspirations of being world and Olympic champions. That's something that we're going to move on right away. I think that program is in place here already. This is just a perfect site for that.
Q: As far as transfers from Iowa State, and your brother being there, what are your comments on that?
A: I can't really say what's going to happen with those wrestlers. We've spent a lot of time talking with the individuals and they're gonna try and stay. I think it's important that they stick together. We have a great junior class at Iowa State and I think it's important that they stick together and finish out what they started. But, I'm not sure 100% what's going to happen in that area.
Q: What goals do you have for this team? What achievements do you think you can make?
A: I think I really need to get in here and see where we're at. I think the program is strong. We're just going to build on the legacy of Penn State my goal is to compete for the national championship every year. It's real simple.
Q: You're affiliated with Asics, Penn State is affiliated with Nike. How are you going to resolve the so called "Stale-Mate"?
A: (Tim Curley) - We've been able to work out an arrangement that will accommodate both. We've put ourselves in a position that Cael will be able to honor his commitments that he has made and we'll be able to do the same. People work together to work it out and we'll move forward under those parameters.