5 Thoughts on Penn State Legend David Taylor Becoming OK State head coach

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

5 Thoughts on Penn State Legend David Taylor Becoming Oklahoma State head coach

The Penn State Wrestling community was in a frenzy following Monday night’s huge coaching news. Yes, David Taylor is moving on.

Rumors were circling everywhere the last handful of days as Oklahoma State was zeroing in on their replacement for all-time great John Smith. And the epicenter of the news was Centre County, PA.

News broke that the Cowboys were going to fly Taylor to Stillwater to discuss the job opening. Then the news shifted as the Okie State administration was getting antsy. Instead, they flew to University Park airport to meet Taylor.

As of midday on Monday, May 6th, there was still no decision.

Then after 10:30 pm local time, the following tweet was fired out.

5 Thoughts on Penn State Legend David Taylor Becoming Oklahoma State Head Coach

Thought No. 1 – Wait, what?

Following he legendary career at Penn State, Taylor stayed put in Happy Valley. There he trained with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club and started to spread his roots throughout the community.

Two years after winning his second NCAA title and taking home his second Hodge Trophy, David and Kendra tied the knot in Chicago. From there the Taylor’s opened and expanded three local businesses (M2 Training Center, K2 Roots, and Vitality Wellness Club) and were very active in fostering cats for a local animal shelter.

And just this past March, Kendra and David welcomed their third child to their ever-growing family.

David Taylor, the 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time World Championship Gold Medalist was synonymous with Penn State Wrestling, the State College community, and Nittany Lions greatness.

So with last night’s bombshell of an announcement, this came as a bit of a shock to me. Especially considering Stillwater is 1,210 miles from State College and it appeared that DT had firmly planted his flag in Centre County.

Thought No. 2 – Olympic Trials result

Aaron Brooks, Penn State Wrestling, USA Olympic Wrestling Trials
Penn State Wrestling’s Aaron Brooks. (Photo by Scott Pilutik, For NittanyCentral)
Aaron Brooks‘ improbable run at the 2024 Olympic Trials was something very few people thought would happen. At least not YET.
This was most likely Taylor’s last run at adding a second Olympic Gold Medal to his overflowing trophy case. But when Brooks blasted his way through Taylor in consecutive matches, it signaled a passing of the torch.
Following the initial shock of the announcement late last night, the result of this match was the immediate thought that came to mind. Because of course, had David Taylor won against Brooks, he would be focused on training for Paris. And there’s a 0% chance Oklahoma State would have come calling.


Thought No. 3 – Who does this affect?

The next thought that rolled through my cavernous head was, “Who does this affect?”.
Obviously, with his ties to Penn State and the M2 Training Center only a handful of miles from University Park, the Nittany Lions would be the easy answer.
While I do believe Taylor taking over the reins at Okie State will affect Cael Sanderson and the dominant wrestling machine he’s built at Penn State. I don’t think the effects will be felt immediately.
The Nittany Lions have a handful of guys in their wrestling room, as well as some guys who haven’t yet enrolled on campus, who have trained with Taylor and his staff at M2.
Levi Haines and Zack Ryder each trained for several years at M2 and 2025 commits Asher Cunningham and Dalton Perry train there as well.
However, I don’t believe Taylor’s move to Stillwater will entice anyone on the current roster or any of the already committed wrestlers. Because why would you leave a program that just won it’s 11th national title in 13 years?
And yes, I do realize Mason Gibson recently de-committed. Although I think this had more to do with a crowded room of guys between 125 and 133.
But, you better believe that going forward Taylor and the Cowboys will be in some recruiting battles with Sanderson and the Nittany Lions. And the program I think this potentially affects the most might be the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Tom Brands’ roster is currently comprised of 41 wrestlers with 20 of them coming from Iowa. It’s a difficult task for any collegiate coach to go into the state of Iowa and try to snag a top wrestler away from Iowa or Iowa State.
But when a recruiting battle emerges between Penn State and Iowa, I’m guessing Oklahoma State will enter the mix.
Of the Cowboys’ 39 guys on their roster, 25 of them are from Oklahoma. And only five of them are from east of the Mississippi.
David Taylor’s move to Oklahoma State will change this in the near future.

Thought No. 4 – What a bold move for Chad Weiberg

Aaron Brooks, Penn State Wrestling, USA Olympic Wrestling Trials, David Taylor
Aaron Brooks of Penn State wrestles Trent Hidlay of North Carolina State(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

If there’s a clear winner in Monday night’s decision it’s Athletic Director Chad Weiberg and Oklahoma State.

It’s never easy replacing a successful head coach in any collegiate sport. But trying to replace a legend? That’s almost impossible.

During John Smith’s 33 year career in Stillwater he led five teams to NCAA team titles and coached 33 individual champions. The last team title for Smith came in 2006 and it marked the end of a dominant run for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State won four straight titles from 2003-2006. However with the rise of teams in the Big Ten, Oklahoma State began to wane from the national spotlight.

So now back to David Taylor.

Does he have any head coaching experience? Other than his training with wrestlers at M2, no he doesn’t.

Does he have any ties to Oklahoma State? Nope.

Does he have any ties to the southwest? That would be three resounding “no’s”.

But, Taylor knows what it takes to be great in both college and on the international stage. And when Taylor walks into a recruit’s home with a gold medal around his neck and plops two Hodge Trophies down on the coffee table, the best recruits in the nation are going to listen.

Thought No. 5 – Teeth cutting

The next thought running through my brain was the simple fact that David Taylor leaving home and going halfway around the country to take over a storied program is going to be a massive learning experience.
As I just mentioned, Taylor does not have any head coaching experience. But that’s about to change and it’s about to change in a hurry.
So what happens when DT is thrown into the ocean without a life vest and he’s able to swim?
Now I have no idea what Cael Sanderson’s future plans are, but unless he’s a cyborg, he’s not always going to be coaching at Penn State. On a side note, I think there’s at least a 2% chance he’s not human.
When the day comes that Cael moves on, what better way to keep the Penn State Wrestling machine rolling along than to bring in a former alumni with head coaching experience at a top flight program?
Now, I’m in no way saying that being the head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State is a stepping stone. Not at all. For many great coaches this would be a destination job.
But for someone in DT’s shoes, it would be the ultimate homecoming and it could have a fairytale ending.
Will any of these things happen?
Who knows. These are just the rambling thoughts from a mediocre wrestling writer.

MORE: Projecting PSU Wrestling’s 2024 Starting Lineup

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Chris Snyder
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