By Tyler McCord, Staff Writer
Four days after coaching his team to its fourth Colonial Athletic Association Championship in his five years with the program, head wrestling coach Tom Shifflet resigned.
It was announced Wednesday by Hofstra Athletic Director Jack Hayes that Shifflet has resigned his position as head coach, and associate head coach Rob Anspach will take over the Pride after the 2011 NCAA Championships conclude.
"It gives me an opportunity to be at home and spend more time with my family," said Shifflet. "As much as I love wrestling and want to have my hand in it, there are other people that are important to me."
About a month ago, Shifflet was offered a job with a company called Advantage Sport and Fitness, which is based out of Ithaca, NY. The company, co-founded by former Ithaca College wrestling coach and member of the New York State Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame John Murray, provides exercise equipment for home and commercial use in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, South Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, according to the company's website, advantagefitness.com. Shifflet will be a sales representative for the company in the Long Island/New York City area.
"I felt like the opportunity, and thinking about my family, was the best move for me and for everybody who was involved," said Shifflet. "That's kind of how it played out and we'll finish up at the national tournament."
Shifflet confirmed that his decision was made for him and his family. "Someone approached me and I looked into the position and none of the administrators knew anything about it," said Shifflet. "It was something that I had looked into and when it was coming to the point where I needed to make a decision I went in and spoke with Jack [Hayes] and told him how I felt. I told him that I needed to try to make a change in my life."
In Shifflet's five years with the program he's amassed a 61-34-5 (.635) dual match record, produced four CAA championships, 17 conference champions, sent 31 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships while six earned All-America honors, and placed in the NCAA Championships top-20 twice, including a school-best seventh place in 2007.
His successor, Anspach, is in his ninth season coaching with Hofstra. Anspach wrestled for Hofstra under former coach Tom Ryan and compiled a record of 69-51 while making two trips to the NCAA tournament. "I'm excited about the opportunity to take over the program and continue what Tom Ryan did and what Tom Shifflet has followed with," said Anspach. "Now it'll be my turn to continue this program moving forward."
Along with wrestling under Ryan, Anspach has coached with 2009 National Coach of the Year and current Ohio State University head wrestling coach from 2002-2006. When Ryan left for Ohio State Anspach applied for the head coaching job, but it was given to Shifflet.
"I'm actually very fortunate that I didn't get it [the head job] at that point in time, because I got to learn a different style of coaching from Tom Shifflet," said Anspach. "I feel like I'm so much more prepared now to step into that role."
The two coaches joined by assistant coaches Zach Tanelli and Terry Madden will coach Hofstra's seven wrestlers at the national tournament. It is after that tournament that Anspach will assume the position of head coach.
"Since the five years that I've been here I've met a lot of great people, great alumni, and great supporters of the program. This has been a special place for me because there are high expectations for winning," said Shifflet. "I would like to thank the Hofstra administration, my assistant coaches and our wrestlers for five outstanding seasons. I truly enjoyed my tenure at Hofstra and look forward to supporting the program in the future."