Iowa State's Willie Miklus recaps his performance at the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The Des Moines Register
After a year as a graduate assistant with the Iowa State wrestling program, Willie Miklus is headed to East Lansing.
Miklus announced Friday that he's accepted an assistant coaching position with the Michigan State wrestling team. He will work under head coach Roger Chandler, who will begin his fifth year in charge of the Spartans in 2020-21.
"I am incredibly excited to be joining the Michigan State staff," Miklus said in a release from Michigan State. "Being a coach has been my dream since I was 15. I think MSU has a great culture and an amazing amount of unity.
"I couldn't have picked a better place to begin my coaching career! I can't wait to meet the guys and get to work! Go Spartans!"
Miklus assumes the role vacated by Wynn Michalak, who left to become an associate head coach at Campbell University. Miklus will work alongside fellow assistant coach Chris Williams.
"He brings a long line of competitive success from being a four-time NCAA All-American, along with being of a program that earned a trophy at the NCAA Championships, combined with his leadership of being a captain of not just two different programs, but two very successful, nationally competitive programs," Chandler said in a statement.
Prior to becoming a graduate assistant at Iowa State, Miklus was a four-time All-American. He earned such honors three times with Missouri before transferring home and doing so again with the Cyclones in 2018-19 under head coach Kevin Dresser. He produced a 105-28 overall record during his collegiate career.
"Super excited for Willie Miklus!" Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser posted on Twitter. "Man, are we gonna miss this guy but what a great opportunity! His coaching career will be fun to watch. We were very lucky to get 2 years of him!"
Miklus is joining a Michigan State program on the rise. In 2014-15, the year before Chandler took over, the Spartans scored minus-0.5 points at the NCAA Championships because of an unsportsmanlike conduct from their only qualifier. Last season, they finished 33rd and had an All-American for the first time since 2014.
In 2019-20, Michigan State went 8-10 in duals, took 10th at the Big Ten Championships and qualified seven wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. What's more, two current Spartan wrestlers — Peyton Omania and Cameron Caffey — made the 2019 Junior Greco-Roman world team. Omania won a bronze medal at 67 kilograms (147 pounds).
"Willie no doubt raises the level of this program in so many ways," Chandler said. "We have very high goals as a program, and I know Willie's experiences will translate well here at Michigan State and take Spartan wrestling to the next level."
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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