ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan wrestling head coach Joe McFarland announced Friday (Aug. 15) the addition of Kellen Russell to the coaching staff. Russell, a two-time NCAA champion during his career at Michigan (2008-12), will serve as the Wolverines' volunteer coach.
"Kellen will be a great addition to our coaching staff," said McFarland. "As a student-athlete, he was incredibly driven and focused and a tremendous role model and leader in the program. I think he'll bring those same attributes as a coach. He loves Michigan wrestling, and he knows what it takes to be successful. I'm looking forward to him being a big contributor this year."
"I've been lucky enough to have had really good coaches throughout the years, from youth to high school to college," said Russell. "It's something I've always wanted to do and something I'm passionate about. I feel like I can add something from the standpoint of having confidence in yourself and knowing what it takes to be at the top -- what it takes to win Big Ten and national titles. I've been part of the wrestling family here at Michigan for a while; this feels like home, and I'm happy to start this new chapter here. We are definitely on the rise as a program, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to help out and see that through."
Russell was a two-time NCAA 141-pound champion (2011, '12) and three-time All-American, also placing seventh as a sophomore (2009). He became the sixth multiple champion in U-M program history with a 6-4 sudden-victory decision over Iowa's Montell Marion at the 2012 NCAA tournament. He defeated Cal Poly's Boris Novachkov, 3-2, in the 141-pound final the previous year to complete a perfect 38-0 junior campaign. Russell, who redshirted prior to his junior season, claimed 71 of 72 matches over his final two seasons. He boasted a perfect 14-0 record in collegiate overtime matches.
Russell also claimed four Big Ten titles at 141 pounds, becoming just the 11th four-time Big Ten champion in conference history and the first in Michigan history. He was named the Co-Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships as a senior (2012) and Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008.
Twice named Michigan's Male Athlete of the Year (2011, '12), Russell completed his collegiate career with a 134-12 record, tying for eighth place on Michigan's all-time wins list. His career win percentage of .918 ranks second in program history. Off the mat, he twice earned Academic All-Big Ten and NWCA All-Academic honors.
Since his graduation, Russell has enjoyed a successful freestyle career as a member of the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club. He captured the 66kg/145.5-pound title at the 2013 U.S. Open and claimed runner-up honors at the 2013 World Team Trials. Internationally, he has won medals at the Guelph Open (gold, 2013) and Cuba's Cerro Pelado Tournament (bronze, 2014). He is currently training for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Originally from High Bridge, N.J., Russell graduated from Michigan in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He lives in Ann Arbor with his fiancé Kristyne Cole, a former Wolverine swimmer (2009-12).
Contact: Leah Howard