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Minkel's Last Stand

You never hear a bad thing about Tom Minkel, the Head Coach at Michigan State. I have never personally had a discussion with him other than a handshake. Everything I hear is how great he is, and how great an ambassador for the sport he may be. All these things are great, but as the Head Coach for Michigan State he is failing. It may be time to become just an ambassador. 

Minkle is in his 23rd year at the helm of the Spartans. They finished 3rd in 1995 and have had two NCAA champions under his guidance. He led the 1992 Olympic Greco team to a 3rd place finish, a feat that sounds improbable today with our first medalist in five years. He also was a member of the 1980 Olympic team. Long story short, he knows a ton more about wrestling than I do. 

The bad though is the last decade. The Spartans are routinely bottom of the barrel and haven't finished better than 10th in the Big Ten since the 2009-2010 season. They did beat Central Michigan this past season, but snapping a 12-dual losing streak to an in-state MAC school may not be a reason to boast. They did have Franklin Gomez winning a National Championship, but the only Big Ten team to not have a National Champ in the last decade is Purdue. 

The idea of retiring Minkel is not just that it's poor recent performance. It has a lot to do with that it is a desirable job. There a lot of talented young coaches out there looking for a Big Ten opportunity in the middle of a wrestling state like Michigan. I do believe Sammie Henson would have gladly chosen MSU over West Virginia, and Roger Kish (who is a Michigan native) is doing a hell of a job at North Dakota State. 

At some point this has to be about results and not character or resume. Wrestlers don't call for coaches to be fired, but we need to. Our programs need to be healthy and supported. Right now Michigan State is far from healthy. They enter this season after back to back last place Big Ten finishes with one ranked wrestler in the pre-season (John Rizqallah 17th at 184). Battling Indiana for 13th is something that should cause a coaching vacancy here this spring. There will be plenty of applicants.