After being named the 2011 National Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year, Mark Cody has left the AU wrestling program and been named the head wrestling coach at the University of Oklahoma.
“When I came here (American) from Oklahoma State, it was a good move for me at that time because I had not been a head coach,” Cody said during a Wednesday teleconference with members of the Oklahoma media. “Now, I think this is a good move because I am taking over one of the, potentially, best jobs in the country.”
The move ends Cody’s nine-year tenure with the Eagles, a program he transformed from the brink of extinction into a national contender. Cody took over at AU during its lowest point, when strong alumni support was the only thing keeping Eagles’ wrestling alive. In the 2002-2003 season, Cody’s first, he oversaw a team that finished 2-16.
“People thought I was crazy when I took the [AU] job, but we always had a plan for recruiting, fundraising and running the program,” Cody told SoonerSports.com.
After coming to AU when only four and a half
scholarships were available, Cody turned Eagles’ wrestling into AU’s third fully-funded sport.
On the mat, the Eagles have been a mainstay in national rankings over the past six years, and Cody has guided 14 All-Americans, 16 NCAA qualifiers and 21 Academic All-Americans in his nine years in Washington. In 2007, Cody was at the controls when Josh Glenn became AU’s first national champion in any sport since 1966.
The program’s ascension to national prominence was cemented this year when AU finished in a program-best fifth place at the 2011 NCAA Championships. The Eagles sent a school-record six wrestlers to the championships, including All-Americans Ryan Flores, Steve Fittery and Ganbayar Sanjaa, as Cody helped push AU wrestling into the national spotlight.
“The wrestling community has watched Mark Cody do remarkable things with his team at American,” Oklahoma’s Athletics Director Joe Castiglione told SoonerSports.com. “He has maximized limited resources to take a program that was once struggling and transform it into one of the strongest in the country.”
Cody will be taking over at Oklahoma for Jack Spates, who retired after 18 years with the Sooners. He will inherit a program that finished 16th overall at the NCAA Championships and will return two All-Americans. The Sooners finished 13-2 this year with a 3-2 record in the Big 12, and finished third at the Big 12 championships.