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Penn State wrestling coach is leaving to join David Taylor at OSU

New Oklahoma State head coach David Taylor has picked his first member of the Penn State wrestling staff to join him in Stillwater. This was announced on Thursday Nittany Lions assistant Jimmy Kennedy will follow Taylor to Oklahoma State. Kennedy also joins NLWC star Thomas Gilman as another member of the Cael Sanderson orbit who will follow the Olympic gold medalist to the West.

Jimmy Kennedy joins David Taylor at Oklahoma State

Penn State assistant wrestling coach Jimmy Kennedy will join new head coach David Taylor’s staff at Oklahoma State for the 2024-2025 season. Kennedy is Taylor’s brother-in-law, so the move was expected by many. Taylor was officially announced as the Cowboys’ next head coach on Monday.

Kennedy had joined the Nittany Lions before the start of the 2022-2023 seasons after Jake Varner started focusing on the NLWC. He previously served as an assistant coach for the Northwestern Wildcats from 2018 to 2021.

Before coaching, Kennedy was a three-time All-American for the Illinois Fighting Illini in 2008, 2009 and 2011. He finished his collegiate career with a record of 119-24. He made the US World Team in 2014 and finished second in the US World Team Trials in 2013 and 2017.

Impact on Penn State wrestling

Anytime a prominent assistant coach goes elsewhere, it’s a loss for the program. But in this case, the loss won’t hurt Penn State’s wrestling team too much, as it still has the big three in Cael Sanderson, Casey Cunningham and Cody Sanderson.

While Jimmy Kennedy has proven to be a great addition to the coaching ranks, especially in the lighter grades, he has only been with the Nittany Lions for two seasons. What will be interesting to see is how much of the Penn State wrestling and NLWC coaching style and culture, David Taylor, Jimmy Kennedy and Thomas Gilman can bring to the state of Oklahoma.

If Taylor is able to replicate anything remotely similar to what Cael Sanderson built, it will certainly shake up the hierarchy within the sport.



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