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Penn State Wrestling loses assistant, NLWC loses member to Oklahoma State’s David Taylor
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Penn State Wrestling loses assistant, NLWC loses member to Oklahoma State’s David Taylor

As expected, a member of Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson’s staff is leaving to join Penn State wrestling legend David Taylor at Oklahoma State.

Penn State’s Olympic training club, the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, is also losing one of its members.

Former Penn State assistant Jimmy Kennedy leaves Happy Valley for Stillwater. Thomas Gilman, who wrestled at Iowa but is at NLWC, is also going.

When it became official late Monday night that Taylor, a two-time Hodge Trophy winner at PSU and 2021 gold medalist in freestyle, would be leaving the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club for Stillwater, many assumed Jimmy Kennedy would be on his staff.

Taylor and Kennedy not only have a close relationship through Penn State, they are literally family.

Taylor married Kennedy’s sister Kendra in 2016. While that connection helps, this is not a case of favoritism. Kennedy was a three-time All-American at Illinois in the late 2000s and early 2010s and worked his way up to the US World Team in freestyle. Kennedy began coaching in 2018 and became an assistant at Northwestern for three seasons. When Jake Varner left the Penn State coaching staff to become head of NLWC, there was a vacancy on Sanderson’s staff, and Kennedy was the man to fill it.

Kennedy becomes Taylor’s head coach, that is, second-in-command. Cody Sanderson is the head coach of Penn State. At Penn State, Kennedy worked with Penn State’s lightweight wrestlers. This past season, he helped Braeden Davis (125) to a national championship as a true freshman and Beau Bartlett to a national final at 141.

So Penn State certainly needs to fill that role.