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PHILADELPHIA - Penn announced the hiring of Brian Dolph as an assistant wrestling coach on Tuesday, bringing Dolph back into the fold after a previous stint as an assistant with the Quakers from 1994-2003.
"When the opportunity presented itself to bring Brian back to Penn, it was a very easy decision to make," head coach Rob Eiter said. "Brian was a coach during one of the greatest eras in Penn wrestling history, producing an Olympic Gold Medalist, a NCAA champion and some of the most well-rounded student-athletes this program has graduated. He really understands what it takes to succeed as an Ivy League wrestling team and will add tremendously to our coaching staff."
"It is really nice to be back at Penn, the Penn wrestling family has always been very supportive of me and my family," Dolph said. "I have always had a tremendous respect for the Penn program and they welcomed me back with open arms. I have always said that Penn wrestlers are like 'sponges' in the wrestling room - students in everything that they do, willing to listen and learn both on the mat and in the classroom. It is very exciting to be back in this environment and the community I know so well."
During his previous stint in University City with the Quakers, Dolph established himself as a premier collegiate coach, helping guide 14 Quakers to All-American honors at the NCAA Championships during his tenure. Under Dolph's tutelage, Brett Matter claimed Penn's third national title in 2000, and Brandon Slay twice advanced to the NCAA finals. From 1994-2003, Dolph coached 33 first-team All-Ivy wrestlers, 26 EIWA champions, five Ivy League Wrestlers of the Year, four Ivy League Rookies of the Year, and four John Fletcher Memorial Trophy winners for most career points scored at the EIWA Championships.
The 1990 NCAA champion at 150 pounds, Dolph was a three-time All-American as a collegiate wrestler at Indiana. After completing his collegiate career, Dolph spent 10 years competing internationally at 68kg/149.5 pounds and 76kg/167.5 pounds. A World and Olympic Team Trials qualifier each of those 10 years, Dolph was runner-up at 167.5 pounds at the 2000 Olympic Trials and traveled to Sydney as an alternate and training partner for Penn grad - and eventual Gold Medalist - Brandon Slay, who was coached by Dolph while at the University. A six-time national team member and multiple-time international tournament champion, Dolph has continued coaching freestyle since his retirement from active competition.
In 2004, Dolph was named head coach at Massillon Perry High School in Ohio where he was twice named Stark County Coach of the Year (2004, '05) while guiding one of the country's premier prep programs. Among his student-athletes during his time at Perry were eventual NCAA champions Steve Luke (Michigan) and Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota). During the 2006-07 season, Dolph served as head coach at Cleveland State University before taking the head coaching position at North Canton Hoover High School from 2007-10.
Last season, Dolph was a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan while also overseeing the freestyle program at Michigan's USA Wrestling Regional Training Site, returning to the Big Ten where he spent his time on the mat as an undergrad with the Hoosiers.
One of the most decorated grapplers in Indiana history, Dolph was a three-time All-American with finishes of eighth (1988) and third (1989) before winning Indiana's first national title in 50 years with an 11-5 win in the title bout in 1990. His three consecutive podium finishes over that span was the first such occurrence in school history and propelled him to a 127-9 overall record which still ranks fourth all-time in the Hoosier record books. His 46 wins in the 1989-90 season and his .934 winning percentage are still the standards by which Indiana wrestlers are judged. A two-time Big Ten champion and three-time finalist, Dolph also won the Midlands Championships title in 1989.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Dolph graduated from Indiana in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. He and his wife Jenelle have a son, A.J.