Tom Minkel
Tom  Minkel

Head Coach


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Commitment to excellence while maintaining tradition is the goal for Michigan State wrestling.

Michigan State head wrestling coach Tom Minkel enters his 24th season in East Lansing following this credo as he continues to dedicate himself to producing quality student-athletes in conjunction with upholding the prestigious Spartan wrestling tradition.

During his tenure, Minkel has produced 38 All-Americans, 13 Big Ten Champions and two NCAA Champions, building on the success of the program that has generated 25 NCAA Champions, 68 Big Ten Champions and eight Big Ten Championships. His direction has also led to team success as his squads have placed in the Top 30 at the NCAA Championships 16 times. Minkel owns the second-most wins in program history with 166 dual victories. Minkel also serves on the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee.

The ascent of the Spartan wrestling program took center stage in 1995. Minkel, who was in the fourth year of rebuilding the program to its storied past, led the Spartans to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the highest place of any MSU team since 1972. Kelvin Jackson claimed the 118-pound title, the first Spartan to win a national title in 21 years. The following year, Minkel proved that the Spartan program would be a model for consistency, guiding MSU to a seventh-place NCAA finish. The back-to-back top eight finishes at the NCAA Championships hadn't been accomplished at Michigan State since the 1971-72 seasons, when the Spartans placed in the top five for six consecutive years. Minkel coached his second national champion in 2009 as Franklin Gomez, a three-time All-American, won the 133-pound title.

Minkel's resume is one of the most impressive in the country, highlighted by numerous international coaching experiences. After serving as head coach for three U.S. World Teams and one U.S. Pan-American team, Minkel was named the head coach for the U.S. Team at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Minkel made the most of his opportunity while creating U.S. wrestling history - he led the USA to a bronze medal, the highest finish ever by a U.S. team in Greco-Roman competition. Overall, Minkel's travels have taken him to more than 40 countries and have cemented his reputation as one of the top coaches in the sport.

While Minkel has been all over the world coaching for the United States, his main focus continues to be the Spartan wrestling program. The program has made vast strides since his arrival in 1991 as he continues to create a first-class environment for wrestling at Michigan State. His efforts led to the improvement of Jenison Field House, which now features one of the nation's only dual meet platforms and a 20 x 25 foot mural highlighting the Spartan team. Minkel has fostered the growth of Takedown Club, increasing exposure and fund raising for the program enabling it to make $80,000 in renovations to its locker rooms.

For all of Minkel's coaching credentials, his career as a wrestler is just as impressive. His vast knowledge of the sport stems from his own career as a world-class wrestler. Minkel, a three-time U.S. National Greco-Roman Champion at 149 pounds, was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team and wrestled for seven U.S. teams that competed internationally.

As a collegiate wrestler at Central Michigan, Minkel was a three-time All-American - twice in Division II and once in Division I - and is the only wrestler in school history to go through an entire career undefeated in dual meets (35-0-1). He was the conference champion in 1969 and 1970, and earned the conference's Outstanding Wrestler Award in 1970. His overall career mark was 73-13-1, and his accomplishments landed him in Central Michigan's Hall of Fame in 1985. Minkel was also a Michigan High School State Champion at Williamston High School in 1967.

Minkel arrived at Michigan State in 1991 from his alma mater, where he was the head coach for two seasons and served as an assistant coach for 12 years (1977-89).

In addition to his coaching duties, Minkel has been on several wrestling committees. He was the second vice president for USA Wrestling from 1984-86 and the group's president from 1986-90. Minkel was also an athlete's representative to the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1984-86. He was recently named to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee for a four-year appointment, beginning in September 2011.

Minkel and his wife, Jackie, reside in Okemos.