Lakewood High School wrestling legend Damion Hahn was hired as South Dakota State’s head wrestling coach, the school announced on Monday.

There was much speculation who South Dakota State would hire after Chris Bono left to accept the head-coaching position at the University of Wisconsin in March. SDSU is a program on the rise which featured 133-pound NCAA champion Seth Gross and finished 12th at the NCAA championships last season. The Jackrabbits turned to Hahn, who was an assistant at Cornell since 2006 and helped the Big Red become one of the best programs in the country.

"I am truly honored to be named the next head coach of wrestling at South Dakota State University and am thrilled for the opportunity to lead a program that has such incredible support from the university and the community," Hahn said in a press release posted to South Dakota State’s athletic web page. "I would like to thank Justin Sell and everyone on the search committee for giving me this opportunity. I am excited for the future of Jackrabbit Wrestling."

Hahn is one of the Shore Conference’s all-time wrestling greats. He won three NJSIAA state championships for the Piners and was a four-time state finalist, finishing with a remarkable 131-3 record. He was a three-time Region VI champion and a four-time Region VI finalist, as well. He then went on to a great career at the University of Minnesota where he was a two-time NCAA champion and a four-time NCAA All-American.

Hahn made a run at making the United States Olympic team, placing second to current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at the 2008 U.S. World Team Trials. He began his college coaching career with Cornell in 2006 working primarily with the Big Red’s middle and upper weights. He was promoted to the role of associate head coach in 2013-2014 and served in that capacity until Monday.

During Hahn’s tenure at Cornell, 48 Big Red wrestlers achieved All-American status, including 20 All-Americans at 174, 184 and 197 pounds. Cornell also had three NCAA champions from the upper weights: Steve Bosak, Cam Simaz and Gabe Dean (twice). With Hahn on staff, Cornell has won 12 straight Ivy League championships and 11 of 12 EIWA conference championships.

"Damion represents everything we are looking for in being able to take our wrestling program to the next level," said SDSU athletic director Justin Sell. "His success both as a collegiate wrestler and coach, along with his ability to recruit high-achieving student-athletes on and off the mat, made him the ideal candidate. He is a tremendous ambassador for the sport who will work tirelessly to ensure wrestling thrives both on our campus and across the country."

South Dakota State went 14-2 last season, including going 8-0 against Big 12 opponents. Gross, a junior, won the NCAA title while seniors David Kocer and Luke Zilverberg earned All-American status.

Hahn will officially begin his head coaching duties on April 16, according to the press release by South Dakota State.


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