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Debating with your friends who’s the best Wrestling coach?

Dan Gable, John Smith, or Cael Sanderson?

Here is our list of the best Wrestling coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Wrestling Coaches:

  1. Dan Gable
  2. Cael Sanderson
  3. John Smith
  4. Tom Brands
  5. J Robinson
  6. Sergei Beloglazov
  7. Alexander Medved
  8. Valentin Jordanov
  9. Dave Schultz

#1 Dan Gable

  • πŸ† Achievements: 15 NCAA Team Titles with University of Iowa
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1976–1997
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Iowa
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Dan Gable is an iconic figure in wrestling, synonymous with excellence and success. Under his stewardship, the University of Iowa wrestling team captured 15 NCAA team titles and it was the dominant force in collegiate wrestling during his coaching career.

He coached 152 All-Americans, 45 national champions, and 12 Olympians, including four gold medalists. His personal wrestling achievements, including an Olympic gold medal, only bolster his legendary status.

The intensity and discipline Gable brought to coaching forged one of the most formidable teams in wrestling history, setting a standard for excellence that continues to inspire coaches and athletes alike.

#2 Cael Sanderson

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple NCAA Team Titles with Penn State University
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 2009–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Iowa State University, Penn State University
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Cael Sanderson is recognized for his remarkable coaching career, particularly at Penn State University, where his teams have won numerous NCAA team titles and sustained success that is exceptional in collegiate wrestling.

His philosophy and leadership have consistently produced top-notch wrestlers and his impact on the sport continues to resonate through the accomplishments of his athletes.

As an unbeaten college wrestler and Olympic gold medalist himself, Sanderson’s personal achievements lend significant credibility to his coaching, with an approach that emphasizes both mental and physical aspects of the sport.

#3 John Smith

  • πŸ† Achievements: 5 NCAA Team Championships with Oklahoma State University
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1992–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Oklahoma State University
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

John Smith is a legendary figure both as an athlete and as a coach. As the current head coach of Oklahoma State University’s wrestling team, Smith has led the team to five NCAA team championships and several individual champions.

Renowned for his innovative techniques, particularly the low single-leg takedown, Smith’s influence on the sport is both broad and deep. His own competitive record, including six consecutive world-level gold medals, underlines his deep understanding of the art and science of wrestling.

His commitment to molding young wrestlers into champions and solid individuals is evident in the consistent performance of his wrestlers at national and international levels, making him one of the premier coaches in wrestling history.

#4 Tom Brands

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple NCAA Team Titles with University of Iowa
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1998–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Iowa
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Tom Brands, following in the footsteps of his predecessor and mentor, Dan Gable, has maintained a tradition of greatness at the University of Iowa. His tenure as head coach has been marked by multiple NCAA team titles and numerous individual champions.

Known for his intense coaching style and his ability to instill confidence and determination in his wrestlers, Brands has solidified Iowa’s reputation as a breeding ground for champions.

Brands’ own wrestling background, which includes an Olympic gold medal, infuses his coaching philosophy with a blend of technical prowess and the mental grit necessary for success on the mat.

#5 J Robinson

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3 NCAA Team Championships with University of Minnesota
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1984–2016
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Minnesota
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

J Robinson is revered for turning the University of Minnesota wrestling program into a national powerhouse, capturing three NCAA team championships over his distinguished coaching career.

His approach to coaching combined rigorous physical preparation with a strong focus on mental toughness and personal development, which helped his wrestlers achieve success both on and off the mat.

Robinson’s dedication to the sport and to his athletes made him not only a successful coach but also a mentor to many, leaving a lasting impact on the world of wrestling.

#6 Sergei Beloglazov

  • πŸ† Achievements: Renowned International Coach, Coached Russian and South Korean National Teams
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Post-Competitive Career
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Russian National Team, South Korean National Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: Russian

Sergei Beloglazov, a legendary wrestler in his own right, transitioned seamlessly into coaching, where he has made a significant impact internationally. His accomplishments as a coach with the Russian and South Korean national teams underline his expertise and the respect he commands in the sport.

Beloglazov’s deep understanding of the technical elements of wrestling and his ability to extract the best performance from his athletes have been instrumental in the successes of the teams under his guidance.

His legacy as a wrestler, inclusive of multiple world and Olympic titles, coupled with his coaching prowess, makes Beloglazov one of the most revered figures in the wrestling community.

#7 Alexander Medved

  • πŸ† Achievements: Coached Belarus National Team, Wrestled for the Soviet Union
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Post-Competitive Career
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Belarus National Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: Belarusian

Alexander Medved, a name that resonates with greatness in wrestling, extended his influence in the sport beyond his competitive years by coaching the Belarus national team. His achievements as a wrestler are nearly unparalleled, and he brought this experience to his coaching career.

Regarded as an icon in the wrestling world, Medved’s tenure as a coach was expectedly marked by a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the nuances of international competition.

His leadership and ability to inspire wrestlers has solidified his standing as one of the sport’s great mentors, and his legacy continues to inspire athletes across generations.

#8 Valentin Jordanov

  • πŸ† Achievements: Developed Bulgarian Wrestling, President of Bulgarian Wrestling Federation
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Post-Competitive Career
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Various Bulgarian wrestling teams
  • 🌐 Nationality: Bulgarian

Valentin Jordanov dedicated himself to the advancement of wrestling in Bulgaria post his remarkable career as an athlete, climbing to the upper ranks as president of the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation. His administrative and coaching roles have been vital in developing the sport in Bulgaria.

With a leadership style that is reputed to focus as much on discipline as it is on technical skill, Jordanov’s contributions to coaching have helped Bulgarian wrestling maintain its status on the world stage.

His career, both as a world-class wrestler and as a coach, is a testament to his enduring commitment to wrestling, providing a platform for the nurturing of future champions.

Every wrestler begins with a name; find yours with our wrestling ring name generator.



Who is the greatest wrestling coach of all time?

Dan Gable is often considered the greatest wrestling coach of all time, guiding the University of Iowa to 15 NCAA team titles.

Who was the most successful wrestling coach?

Dan Gable was the most successful wrestling coach, leading Iowa to 21 Big Ten Championships and producing numerous Olympic and World champions.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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Over a span of 14 years, Sanderson’s teams have clinched 10 national titles, and it seems highly probable they will secure another this year. This achievement would bring his total to 11 titles over 15 years, solidly positioning him as the runner-up. In comparison, Gable led his teams to 15 titles during his 21-year coaching career.

Rev Nisay

We’ve updated the post with the necessary adjustments. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and helping us keep the information updated!