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NEWS: Penn State wrestling great hired by college wrestling blueblood

Another icon of the Penn State wrestling program is heading to one of the sport’s traditional bluebloods in a top role.



Penn State wrestling, Mark Hall, Oklahoma
Mar 16, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wrestler Mark Hall reacts to defeating Mizzou Tigers wrestler Daniel Lewis during the NCAA Wrestling DI Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Another Penn State wrestling icon is moving up in the coaching world. On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Sooners introduced 2017 NCAA Champion Mark Hall as the program’s Director of Operations. Hall is the second Nittany Lion great to head to the Sooner State in as many weeks, with David Taylor taking over the Oklahoma State program last week.

Oklahoma wrestling hires Mark Hall

The Oklahoma Sooner wrestling program hired former Penn State wrestling National Champion Mark Hall as its Director of Operations, it was officially announced on Wednesday. Reports first surfaced that Hall had interviewed for the position last week.

The news comes after the Penn State wrestling legend ended his international freestyle career at April’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in State College by leaving his shoes on the mat after falling to Trent Hidlay in the 86 kg consolation bracket.

Hall had previously worked as an assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania for three seasons while training for the 2024 Olympic cycle. The decision to retire from competitive wrestling opens up Hall to explore both the coaching and administrative sides of college wrestling.

At Oklahoma, Mark Hall will oversee the program’s logistics and organizational needs off the mat. This will include travel, recruiting, budgeting, and team events. He will also serve as the Sooners’ liaison to vital support staff and resources to enhance the student-athlete experience.

“I am beyond grateful to Coach [Roger] Kish for this opportunity to join him and the rest of the staff,” Hall said in the program’s official statement. “Oklahoma Wrestling has a strong, storied tradition of success, and I look forward to working alongside the talented staff and athletes to uphold that standard while helping them achieve their dreams.”

Penn State wrestling sphere of influence continues to spread

It seemed to be a matter of time before the Cael Sanderson sphere of influence began to spread to the rest of the sport. We saw it with Dan Gable in the 1990s, with plenty of his former wrestlers finding positions across the NCAA and eventually directly competing with Iowa.

Now over the course of a few weeks, two of the five programs with the most team National Championships have former Penn State wrestlers in prominent positions. Of course, David Taylor took over the Oklahoma State wrestling program as its new head coach just last week, a move that sent shockwaves throughout the sport and could bring balance back in an era where Cael Sanderson has eliminated the team race.

Now with Mark Hall moving into an operations role at Oklahoma, it will be yet another former Penn State wrestling National Champion who has a top position at a college wrestling blueblood. How much both moves impact the Nittany Lions in the future remains to be seen. But it does appear the dam holding Penn State wrestlers up in State College has finally been broken.

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Former contributor at Nittany Central, Patrick joined Basic Blues Nation in 2023 as the Social Media Director, Penn State Wrestling beat writer, and producer of the Penn State Roar Room spaces. Patrick is also a contributor of Penn State football, basketball, and ice hockey news for the site.


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