Troy Nickerson, Cornell University wrestling champ and Iowa State assistant coach, has been named head coach at University of Northern Colorado, the Greeley-based school announced Monday.
Nickerson replaces Ben Cherrington, who resigned in May after five seasons at the helm.
A native of Chenango Forks, N.Y., Nickerson comes to Northern Colorado with two years on the Iowa State coaching staff, and a successful career as a Cornell wrestler.
As a Cyclone assistant, Nickerson worked primarily with lighter-weight wrestlers, 125-149 pounds. In two years, Nickerson coached an NCAA All-American and an NCAA qualifier in 2013-14. Prior to coming to Iowa State, Nickerson served as an assistant coach at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club from 2011-12 in Ithaca, N.Y. He was also the head coach of the FLWC college team during 2010-11.
Nickerson’s on-the-mat career at Cornell was one of great accomplishments: a four-time NCAA All-American, two-time NCAA finalist, and NCAA Division I wrestling champ at 125 pounds in 2009. He was also a three-time Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) champ, winning the 125 title in 2006, 2009 and 2010. Nickerson compiled an overall record of 97-8, placing him 20th all-time in wins in the long history of Big Red wrestling.
“After a lengthy, diligent process, we found a great leader for our wrestling program in Troy Nickerson,” said Darren Dunn, UNC Director of Athletics. “He is a bright star in wrestling, familiar with Colorado wrestling and he will be a great mentor for our student-athletes. I am truly excited Troy will be joining our UNC family.”
The new coach is equally eager to take the next step in his career.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Northern Colorado Wrestling community,” Nickerson said. “I want to thank Darren Dunn and the search committee for believing in me and providing me with this opportunity. I will work tirelessly to make UNC wrestling a force to be reckoned with in the future.”
Two coaches who know Nickerson well also heaped praise on the new UNC head coach.
Kevin Jackson, Iowa State head coach, said of his former staff member: “Troy’s got a passion for wrestling. I think he sees the sport for more than just wrestling. I think he really enjoys the particulars of the administrative duties that he’ll be taking on in Northern Colorado. I know that was really attractive for him and building a program is something he’s really excited about. He’s a straight worker, initiator, innovator and he’ll do a great job for the Bears. He’s been to two very successful, historically traditional wrestling programs in Cornell and Iowa State, and he’s going to try and initiate some of those things to make Northern Colorado his own.”
Nickerson’s coach at Cornell, Rob Koll, said, “Troy is a legend in New York state and is certainly known nation-wide. He was a phenomenal high school wrestler and an equally sensational college career for Cornell. He was a gutsy competitor and found a way to win a national title, literally with one arm, and that’s what I’ll always remember about Troy. He’s very intelligent, and Cornell’s tough as it is, but to be a pre-med major and to be a four-time NCAA All-American gives you the idea of the type of focus and time management skills and discipline that Troy possesses.”