Tom Minkel will retire after coaching his 25th season at MSU in 2015-16; associate head coach Roger Chandler to lead program beginning in 2016-17.
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Tom Minkel, who has directed the Spartan wrestling program since 1991, will retire following his 25th season at Michigan State in 2015-16.
Roger Chandler, who is entering his 19th year on the Spartan wrestling staff and was promoted to associate head coach in 2011, has been named head coach designate and will assume the head coaching duties following Minkel’s retirement.
"We're thankful for everything that Coach Minkel has given to Michigan State and we're looking forward to celebrating his exceptional career in the sport of wrestling during his final season," said MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis.
Minkel has dedicated 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. His direction has also led to team success as his squads have placed in the Top 25 at the NCAA Championships 13 times.
Minkel will retire as the second-longest tenured coach in program history (Fendley Collins, 32 seasons from 1930-62) and also with the second-most wins (currently with 171) at MSU (Grady Peninger, 213). Minkel’s student-athletes have also shined in the classroom, as his teams have earned National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team honors 11 times. He recently completed a four-year appointment on the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee.
Minkel led the Spartans to a third-place finish at the 1995 NCAA Championships, the highest place of any MSU team since 1972, and Kelvin Jackson claimed the 118-pound title, the first Spartan to win a national title in 21 years. The following year, Minkel guided 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.
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.
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.
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 and his wife, Jackie, reside in Okemos.