Twice a Cowboy, now a Sun Devil: Chris Pendleton, two-time NCAA wrestling champ for Oklahoma State and assistant coach at University of Wyoming, has been hired as an assistant coach at Arizona State, Sun Devils head wrestling coach Zeke Jones announced Wednesday.
Pendleton joins Jones and Lee Pritts, who has been an assistant on the ASU coaching staff for two seasons. The former Cowboy wrestler and coach replaces Tyrel Todd, who left the Sun Devils staff this summer to become an assistant coach at Purdue University for new head coach Tony Ersland.
Pendleton brings a wealth of coaching as well as collegiate and freestyle wrestling experience to Arizona State.
The Lemoore, Calif. native launched his coaching career at his college alma mater, Oklahoma State, where he served as a volunteer assistant during the 2009-10 season. He then joined the coaching staff at Wyoming. For the past five seasons, Pendleton specialized in training the team’s upper weights, and played a critical role in the team’s success. During his time in Laramie, Pendleton’s Cowboys won back-to-back West Regional titles, two-straight All-American honors and multiple conference championships. In addition, Wyoming also won its fourth regular-season Mountain West dual title in six years.
As a wrestler at the storied Oklahoma State wrestling program, Pendleton was a two-time NCAA Division I champ and three-time NCAA All-American. He won back-to-back 174-pound national titles at the 2004 and 2005 NCAAs, defeating University of Missouri’s Ben Askren (now competing in mixed martial arts) in both finals. Pendleton was also a two-time Big 12 conference champ. As a Cowboy, Pendleton compiled an overall record of 118-12.
The 32-year-old Pendleton is still actively competing in freestyle throughout the world. In April he competed in the ASICS Las Vegas/Open Wrestling Championships at 97 kilograms/213 pounds. Pendleton was also a three-time member of the U.S. National Team under current Arizona State head coach Zeke Jones.
“We're excited about bringing Coach Pendleton on to the Sun Devil staff,” said Jones. “He brings a wealth of national and world-class experience to our program and has had success in helping wrestlers get on the podium. His technical wrestling knowledge is excellent and he'll bring a championship attitude to our team.”
“I am very excited about this opportunity to be a part of the Sun Devil family,” said Pendleton. “The support of Coach Jones, the administration, and alumni has given me the opportunity to be a part of something special here. I cannot wait to get to work.”