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Timothy R. Clark: An interview with Cael Sanderson

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  • Dektol Powell, OH
    April 18, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    If Cael Sanderson was not LDS you would not be running this story.
    BYU cut wrestling and mens gymnastics, both individual sports. Cael could have gone to BYU as his father and uncles did.
    Cael chose his wrestling rather than a mission, just as Steve Young did football. A wise move. There has never been an NCAA champion who is a returned missionary - not one. Missions are death for top athletes in their chosen sport.
    Now, why not some editorials pushing wrestling and mens gymnastics at BYU?

  • Doug10 Roosevelt, UT
    April 18, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    World-class athletes dont necessarily make world-class coaches. I thought you were talking about Jeff Hornacek and that statement is certainly true there.

  • Wow... to say the least Cedar city, utah
    April 18, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Great article about a great individual. Cael is the real deal, I look forward to watching his success as a coach and leader continue to get bigger and better with time. Plain and simple Cael is someone that has put Utah on the map and represented the state very well to say the least.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    April 18, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    To Dektol: They ran the story because he's the "pride of Heber City."

    My nephew, a returned missionary, won the NCAA championship in cross country a few years ago. He's not from Utah nor did he go to college in Utah so it wasn't picked up by the DNews, but it made Sports Illustrated and the New York Times even though he's not from NY and didn't go to college in NY. Maybe the NYT ran his story for the LDS/returned missionary angle.

    BYU, like many universities (e.g. UCLA), dropped wrestling and men's gymnastics because of Title IX. Prominent former wrestlers and gymnasts (including an Olympic gold medalist from UCLA) fought for the programs at BYU, but the calculus of Title IX makes it challenging for any university to run all the men's programs it would like to sponsor when the football team takes up so many of the men's scholarships. Even UCLA, whose gymnasts dominated the 1984 Olympic gymnastic team had to cut men's gymnastics to meet the requirements of Title IX.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    April 18, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    Thank you 79Ute. Wonderfully put answer to a very pointed and ingnorant comment.

  • dricha65 Provo, UT
    April 18, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    What a success story! I can not comprehend going so long without a loss and then to transition into coaching so seamlessly. Is he done wrestling? I always thought he would try for another gold medal in the Olympics?

    I too was hoping that he and many others would be able to wrestle at BYU. I don't think BYU dropped their wrestling program due to Title IX. Actually, I think they would have had to keep it due to Title IX because they now have 9 men's sports and 10 women's. I think it was purely financial but it was probably a byproduct of Title IX with other schools closing their programs and making the sport more costly.

  • rattler Syracuse, UT
    April 18, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    Doug10, how can you conclude that Jeff Hornacek is not a good coach?

  • rattler Syracuse, UT
    April 18, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they measure the number of Women's sports vs. the number of Men's sports. I think it's the number of Women athletes vs. the number of Men athletes when it comes to Title IX. I'm pretty sure that Title IX is exactly the reason BYU dropped wrestling.

  • ER in EUR Belgrade, Serbia
    April 18, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    The wrestlers up at Wasatch are the real deal. I remember my first medal won as an 11-year-old in the old gym in Heber. I am so grateful for that sport. It is a foundation for much of what I have done the rest of my life. An odd combination of individual and team make it a great teacher. But the result of each match rest squarely on your shoulders.

    Cael is so right about making the right goals. As a junior I went to the state tourney with the goal of beating the State Champion from the previous year. I thought that would put me over the top. Well I beat him 9-2 and went to the championship match having taken revenge on my only loss. I was promptly wiped out by another GREAT wrestler. You see I had made the wrong goal. I was successful in achieving my goal, but was found short of the real challenge.

    Wrestling is a sport that I hope will always be found in our Junior and High schools. It can give a kid who may not make the football team an opportunity to teach himself he can excell.

  • In My Humble Opinion South Jordan, UT
    April 18, 2011 12:43 p.m.

    Title IX has helped introduce many to the benefits of sports for women:

    - Increased confidence
    - Decreased teen pregnancy
    - Better grades
    - Common interests with men

    As a father of a daughter, I applaud those gains -- and still lament some of the negatives, like elimination of many men's sports like wrestling, gymnastics, etc. at many colleges.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    April 18, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    To dricha65:

    Rattler is correct: Title IX is based on the number of scholarships, not the number of sports. That's why major universities like UCLA cancelled successful programs like men's gymnastics. UCLA had three gold medalists in the 1984 Olympics gymnastics competition held at UCLA and still sacrificed their program to Title IX. BYU in fact cancelled wrestling and gymnastics because of Title IX. Rondo Felberg, the former AD, was a BYU wrestler who fought long and hard to retain the wrestling program because of scholarship commitments made to wrestlers. I spoke with President Bateman while sitting next to him on an airplane about the gymnastics program and his meeting with one of the '84 Olympians who had "sponsored" his UCLA assistant coach to be the BYU men's gymnastics coach. Again, Title IX was the culprit. BYU wrestlers and gymnasts were the epitome of scholar-athletes. At the time the BYU gymnastics program was cancelled the average GPA of the team was over 3.75. It's a shame. Without the football revenue there are no women's teams; with the number of football scholarships the other men's sports are victims of Title IX.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    April 18, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    To dricha65:

    Rattler is correct: Title IX is based on the number of scholarships, not the number of sports. That's why major universities like UCLA cancelled successful programs like men's gymnastics. UCLA had three gold medalists in the 1984 Olympics gymnastics competition held at UCLA and still sacrificed their program to Title IX. BYU in fact cancelled wrestling and gymnastics because of Title IX. Rondo Felberg, the former AD, was a BYU wrestler who fought long and hard to retain the wrestling program because of scholarship commitments made to wrestlers. I spoke with President Bateman while sitting next to him on an airplane about the gymnastics program and his meeting with one of the '84 Olympians who had "sponsored" his UCLA assistant coach to be the BYU men's gymnastics coach. Again, Title IX was the culprit. BYU wrestlers and gymnasts were the epitome of scholar-athletes. At the time the BYU gymnastics program was cancelled the average GPA of the team was over 3.75. It's a shame. Without the football revenue there are no women's teams; with the number of football scholarships the other men's sports are victims of Title IX.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    April 18, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    To In My Humble Opinion:

    I agree that Title IX has been great for our young women. The opportunity for scholarships in college gives life to high school girls' athletics, which has give so many of our daughters another source of achievement-based self-esteem and life skills learned as a team member. And I enjoyed my daughter's soccer every bit as much as my son's soccer. Like many quota-based government initiatives, however, while it's been a blessing for recipients its cuts out other worthy programs like wrestling and gymnastics in the name of scholarship equality.

    I'm glad ASU retained its wrestling program (I think the only others in the PAC-12 that wrestle are Stanford and Oregon State) so we could share the excitement of the incredible story of Anthony Robles, the national champion at 125 with only one leg.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    April 18, 2011 1:40 p.m.

    Speaking of athletes becoming successful coaches, we have a phenomenal example in our own front yard: Jason Kreis. I'm only a casual MSL fan, but there's an athlete/coach that has earned some respect.

    As for the comments on Hornacek, and again confessing I'm also only a casual NBA fan, I don't see how you can judge his coaching when he hasn't been in the driver's seat...and only in the passenger seat for a short while?

  • eagle Provo, UT
    April 18, 2011 3:32 p.m.

    Cael is a great story in our out of Utah, whether he is LDS or not. He is the BEST college wrestler ever (159-0), a gold medalist and recently led Penn State to the national title. At Iowa State he finished runner-up as a head coach and had a couple of other Top 5 finishes. He is well on his way to becoming a great coach, much like Gable, who like Sanderson, is one of those rare breeds who excelled as a world class competitor and a coach.

    Not to embarrass Tim Clark, the author of this article, but he was a very good wrestler in high school, placing second in state as junior and third in state as a senior while also being a fabulous football player. So he has enough wrestling background to bring credence to this story.

    I'm glad Clark and the Deseret News have done this article as Cael was unbelievably left off the initial list of the 10 greatest athletes in Utah history. IMO he should be #1 (though good arguments can be made for Merlin Olsen and Gene Fullmer). Sanderson will go down as a great athlete AND coach.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    April 18, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    Tremendous story of a true man. I am sure Cael could careless about any list of Utah athletes. He has been measured and there is nothing lacking.

  • dricha65 Provo, UT
    April 18, 2011 4:00 p.m.

    Appreciate the kind corrections about Title IX. I stand corrected, and better informed.

  • che loco Springville, UT
    April 18, 2011 4:31 p.m.

    Football is what tilted the scales in cutting out the wrestling & men's gymnastic programs. The scholarship numbers just don't align when football is equated with it. If you threw out football you'd be able to fund both the wrestling & men's gymnastic programs... and maybe some other ones too!

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    April 18, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    Title Nine, like Affirmative Action has served its purpose. Many more women got the chance to participate in sports and have their college tuition paid for, that's great. But why continue to punish certain male athletes, reverse discrimination? Now that female sports are established and have a fairly set number of scholarships why not abolish the Office of Civil Rights, which oversees the program and makes it impossible to add anymore men's sports?

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    April 18, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    Thanks for this article on Cael. I had a chance to take a group of wrestlers including my son to his camp two years ago. Wrestling aside, Cael is a class man. I am so happy my son was able to be with this fine man for a week. I appreciate the entire Sanderson family for the love they have for the sport of wrestling and how they will do anything for any wrestler who wants to get better. Great wrestler, great family. Utah wrestling is awesome.

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    April 18, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    I know Cael, his mom and dad, and his brothers. They are wonderful people! I had the privilege of being Cael's Varsity Scout coach. I know little about wrestling, but I was smart enough to go and watch him and recognize that he was something special. I missed very few of his matches while he went through Wasatch High. What a thrill! Missing his matches would have been like not watching Michael Jordan play b-ball in high school! What many don't know is that Cael could have excelled in other sports too. He was an outstanding football and baseball player. And about the author's comment on Cael's rare combo of humility and self-confidence: We used to joke that he was the only kid we knew who could strut...sitting down! He was a fun kid to be around and is a true gentleman as an adult. Thanks for the article. And my vote is for Cael as Utah's #1 home grown athlete. Who else is the best in the US...and in the world?

  • bigdogjoeb boalsburg, pa
    April 20, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    Gotten to know the Sandersons out here at PSU since they arrived. Look in the dictionary and next to the word class,
    you will find their family picture. A real blessing to the Penn State Wrestling community and to our family personally.

    Cyler, who is now on a mission, is sorely missed by our family as we grew quite close to him. My kids, 15 and 12 looked up to him and he was a great example of a God centered cool young person for my kids. We can only hope to do as great a job with our kids ( beings that I am 55, all the Sanderson boys are like "kids" to me).