UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 4, 2019 – (Release courtesy of Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling) Casey Cunningham (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) has been named the winner of the 2018 Terry McCann Freestyle Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling. This is the first time that Cunningham has won this prestigious award.
Cunningham has been the Assistant Coach at Penn State University for 10 years, which has won four NCAA team titles in a row, and eight of the last nine NCAA team titles.
He is a coach with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, which is the Regional Training Center affiliated with Penn State. The Nittany Lion WC is among the most successful RTCs in the nation, producing successful freestyle wrestlers on the Senior and age-group levels.
Cunningham was one of the personal coaches of David Taylor, who won a 2018 World gold medal at 86 kg. Taylor was named the 2018 United World Wrestling International Freestyle Wrestler of the Year, as well as the 2018 USA Wrestling Freestyle Wrestler of the Year.
The Nittany Lion WC has produced a number of Senior Freestyle National Team members during Cunningham’s years there. Included was 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner and past World Team members Zain Retherford and Les Sigman. Former Michigan State NCAA champion Franklin Gomez won a World silver medal while a member of the Nittany Lion WC. The club has also produced champions and All-Americans at USA Wrestling’s age-group levels.
Prior to joining the staff at Penn State, Cunningham was a head assistant coach at Iowa State, also working with Cael Sanderson. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Central Michigan, and also did a stint as an assistant coach there.
Cunningham was a successful and talented freestyle wrestler before joining the coaching ranks. He was a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. Cunningham was a two-time U.S. Open runner-up, and was second in the World Team Trials two times. He was also a 2008 Pan American champion.
He was a 1999 NCAA champion for Central Michigan University, the school’s first Div. I national champion. He was also a 1998 NCAA runner-up. He is originally from Middleton, Mich.
PAST TERRY McCANN AWARD WINNERS AS FREESTYLE COACH OF THE YEAR
2018 – Casey Cunningham, State College, Pa., Nittany Lion WC
2017 – Mark Manning, Lincoln, Neb., Nebraska RTC and Bryan Snyder, Lincoln, Neb., Nebraska RTC
2016 – Lou Rosselli, Norman, Okla., New York AC
2015 – Mark Manning, Lincoln, Neb., Nebraska RTC
2014 – Terry Brands, Iowa City, Iowa, Hawkeye WC
2013 – Lou Rosselli, Columbus, Ohio, New York AC
2012 – Cael Sanderson, State College, Pa., Nittany Lion WC
2011 – Mark Manning, Lincoln, Neb., Sunkist Kids
2010 – Sean Bormet, Naperville, Ill., New York AC
2009 – John Smith, Stillwater, Okla., Gator WC
2008 – Sean Bormet, Naperville, Ill., New York AC
2007 – Lou Rosselli, Columbus, Ohio, New York AC
2006 – Sean Bormet, Naperville, Ill., New York AC
2005 – Mike Duroe, Iowa City, Iowa, Hawkeye TC
2004 – Bobby Douglas, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2003 – Tom Brands, Iowa City, Iowa, Hawkeye WC
2002 – Tom Brands, Iowa City, Iowa, Hawkeye WC
2001 – Zeke Jones, Morgantown, W.Va., Sunkist Kids
2000 – John Smith, Stillwater, Okla., Sunkist Kids
1999 – Greg Strobel, Bethlehem, Pa., New York Athletic Club
1998 – John Smith, Stillwater, Okla., Sunkist Kids
1997 – Greg Strobel, Bethlehem, Pa., New York Athletic Club
1996 – Bruce Burnett, Colorado Springs, Colo., National Freestyle Coach
1995 – Bruce Burnett, Colorado Springs, Colo., National Freestyle Coach
1994 – Gene Davis, Colorado Springs, Colo., Athletes In Action
1993 – Joe Seay, Oklahoma City, Okla., Sunkist Kids
1992 – Bobby Douglas, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids