Why KJ is now Coach Jackson

Kevin Jackson isn’t where he is today if Cael Sanderson had continued his wrestling career.

Sanderson won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Jackson was his coach and, if you recall the match with South Korea’s Moon Eui Jae, was the one hoisting Sanderson in the post-match celebration.

Jackson’s introductory press conference Friday ended with a question about Sanderson. He spoke of his admiration for Cael and his close relationship with he and his family over the last several years while Jackson was USA Wrestling’s national freestyle coach from 2001 to 2008.

That said, Jackson believes the “icon”, as he called Cael, hung up the singlet prematurely.

“I really feel he had four years left on the international circuit and he still would have been able to land this job,” Jackson said. “I really wish he would have continued competing…and accomplish some great things.”

Instead, Sanderson called it a career before age 25, and now is  at Penn State as the highest-paid wrestling coach of all-time.

Jackson takes over what Cael left behind in Ames, and happily so. Funny how things work out.

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2 Responses to “Why KJ is now Coach Jackson”

  1. JE. Smith Says:

    I think Cael Sanderson stopped his International Freestyle Wrestling early because he lost the desire for more of that type of compitition. I think he really wanted to start coaching. He got a Silver Metal at a International Compitition before the Olympics when he should have gotten a Gold. Kevin Jackson was coach of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and both times just produced one Gold Metal. Other countries don’t even have folkstyle wrestling only freestyle. and spend thier time wrestling Internationally. Most U.S. wrstlers go to an NCAA school or a NAIA school and spend thier time wrestling folksyle and trying to get National Titles. History wants to remember the wrestler for what they do in HS, Collage, Internationally, and Coaching. You can now also include MMA on that list.
    Remember Dan Hodge, HS Champ, three time NCAA Champ Oakie State, Golden Glove Boxing Champ, Pro Wrestler, and some Pro Boxing, Also Silver Metal, 1956 Olympics and the Trophy is named after Him.

  2. curtclapier Says:

    I think he figured what else is there. He had the highest paid coaching job in the sport of wrestling waiting for him. I think I would have also retired.

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