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NCAA wrestling champs Howe, Maple stay at Oklahoma to join coaching staff

University of Oklahoma mat champs Andrew Howe (left) and Kendric Maple join Sooner coaching staff
University of Oklahoma mat champs Andrew Howe (left) and Kendric Maple join Sooner coaching staffBoth photos courtesy of University of Oklahoma, used with permission

NCAA Division I wrestling champs Andrew Howe and Kendric Maple recently completed their wrestling careers at the University of Oklahoma, but they will remain part of the program by joining the Sooner coaching staff, head coach Mark Cody announced Tuesday.

Howe has been hired as an assistant coach, while Maple will serve as a volunteer assistant coach. The two new coaches join assistant coach Michael Lightner, who is also an NCAA champion and four-time All-American.

Howe, a four-time NCAA All-American, won the 165-pound title at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships while wrestling for the University of Wisconsin. Maple, a three-time All-American, claimed the 141-pound championship at the 2013 NCAAs.

Coach Cody weighed in with why he hired Howe and Maple to join his staff in Norman.

“Our goal through this process was to try to cover every weight class. I think we’ve done that, and we’ve done that with quality people,” Cody said. “With the addition of Andrew and Kendric, we now have three coaches on staff who have met the goals we want for all of our student-athletes. They are all NCAA champions, and all have graduated from the University of Oklahoma with excellent GPAs.

"When I am putting a staff together, my philosophy is to not only have good quality people but also coaches who can work with and work out and train with our athletes,” Cody added. “I think we have accomplished that in hiring Andrew and Kendric. They have both set a benchmark for all of our student-athletes, and who better to show our student-athletes the way than someone who has already been there?”

Andrew Howe

Howe was a four-time NCAA All-American, a three-time Big Ten champ (as a Wisconsin Badger), a three-time NCAA finalist (2009, 2010 and 2014), and 2010 NCAA champ. In his first three seasons of collegiate competition, the Cedar Lake, Ind. native wrestled for the Wisconsin Badgers, then took a redshirt year in 2012-13 before taking to the mats for the Sooners.

In addition to compiling a 122-10 overall record on the mat, Howe was equally impressive in the classroom. He was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team and to the NWCA Division I All-Academic Team in 2014. Howe graduated from Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and is currently working toward a master’s degree in human relations.

“I am very excited to begin my coaching career at the University of Oklahoma, and I would like to thank Mark Cody for giving me this incredible opportunity,” Howe said. “I have enjoyed my time here, and it's great to have a larger role in the program. I plan on continuing to foster an intense mindset and work with individuals to win at the highest level of wrestling.

Kendric Maple

Maple is one of the most accomplished wrestlers to pull on a Sooner singlet. The product of Wichita, Kan. posted an overall record of 127-25, placing him sixth for career wins at Oklahoma. He became the 25th Sooner to become a three-time All-American, including his 2013 NCAA title. In addition, Maple won three straight Big 12 titles (2012-14).

Maple has also succeeded in the classroom, being named to the NWCA Division I All-Academic Team three times (2012-14), Academic All-Big 12 First Team twice (2013-14) and to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team in 2012. This year, Maple was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I At-Large Team and was awarded the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and the Big 12 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship.

Currently, Maple is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education, with an emphasis in intercollegiate athletics administration. He also received his bachelor’s degree in health and exercise sciences from OU.

“I wanted to stay with the program because it has become my family and I believe in the system Coach Cody has in place,” Maple said. “I think as a coach I can be very interactive with the student-athletes in the wrestling room. I believe I can help them become not just better wrestlers but better men as well.”