University of Iowa Names First Women’s Wrestling Coach
The University of Iowa has obviously had stupendous success on the wrestling mat with the men's wrestling program over the years. The announcement of who Iowa has hired as their first coach for the women's program leaves little doubt the Hawkeyes plan to be among the nation's best women's programs as well.
Back in September, the University of Iowa became the first Division I school in a Power 5 conference to announce they were adding women's wrestling as an intercollegiate program. Today, Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta revealed Clarissa Chun will be the Iowa women's coach.
In a media release, Barta said,
Clarissa is the perfect fit to lead us in our journey to build a championship women’s wrestling program. Her credentials speak for themselves, and her approach and philosophy match well with our Win. Graduate. Do it Right. values.
Chun has been with USA Wrestling, and was an assistant coach for the women’s national team, the last five years. She was part of the staff led by former Iowa wrestling national champion Terry Steiner. During her time with USA Wrestling, Chun helped to lead the U.S. to 17 World medals, including seven gold. The U.S. also won four Olympic medals.
Before working at USA Wrestling, Chun was on the mat, competing in the Olympics in both 2008 and 2012. She finished 5th in 2008 and won the bronze medal in London in 2012. She also competed for years in the Senior World Championships and wrestled in four U.S. World Team Trials and three U.S. Opens, with great success.
Chun, 40, will become a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2022. Only three other women have received the honor. She is already a member of the Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame, where she wrestled, along with the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.
In the media release, Chun said,
... I want to thank Gary Barta, Barbara Burke and Tom Brands for their initiative and leadership, which is going to make a positive and lasting impact on the wrestling world. This didn't happen overnight; it took a lot of hard work and investment from community members and the University of Iowa's administration, and I send a sincere thank-you to all who have worked to make this happen. It is a privilege to be a part of the Hawkeye brand. With that comes great responsibility and high expectations. I am ready to meet those challenges and I am excited to build a winning program in Iowa City, Wrestling Town USA.
Iowa men's wrestling coach Tom Brands is clearly impressed with the hire, saying
Gary Barta and Barbara Burke said from the beginning that they would target the best person for the job and that’s exactly what they did Clarissa Chun has charisma. She has credentials. She has championships. She commands respect and the wrestlers that come to school here are going to love her. This is a big deal for the University of Iowa.
Chun will be introduced at a 1 p.m. news conference Friday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The University of Iowa women's wrestling program will begin competition in the 2023-24 school year.