Iowa names Clarissa Chun head coach of women’s wrestling program

cigaretteman

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She is an accomplished wrestler, earning an Olympic bronze medal and was Hawaii’s first female state champion. She has experience coaching at the collegiate level, including a stint with the West Virginia men’s program. Chun is also a big name that resonates with men and women wrestlers, especially as a National Wrestling Hall of Fame 2022 inductee.


Iowa announced Thursday that Chun has been named the first head coach for its women’s wrestling program, which is the first of its kind among NCAA Division I Power Five conference schools.


“Clarissa is the perfect fit to lead us in our journey to build a championship women’s wrestling program,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a news release. “Her credentials speak for themselves, and her approach and philosophy match well with our Win. Graduate. Do it Right. values.”


Iowa announced plans to establish a women’s wrestling program Sept. 23. The move has been viewed as groundbreaking for the sport. Women’s wrestling earned emerging sports status by the NCAA.


“It is an honor to be involved in a historic and exciting opportunity for young women across the country to compete as Hawkeyes in women's wrestling,” Chun said in the news release. “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.”


Chun’s resume is as strong and lengthy as any competitor. She is a two-time Olympian and earned bronze at the 2012 games in London. She claimed her spot on the USA Wrestling Olympic Team at the Trials held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.


She competed in five World Championships, winning a gold medal in 2008. Chun is a four-time Pan-Am Champion with five U.S. Open titles, competing for almost two decades at the senior level.


The Missouri Valley College standout was a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Chun will be one of just four women inducted into the NWHF as a Distinguished member in June. She is also enshrined in the Missouri Valley College, Hawaii Sports and Roosevelt High School (Hawaii) Halls of Fame.


“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,” Iowa men’s wrestling coach Tom Brands said. “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 has coaching experience at both the international and college levels. She was a member of the men’s wrestling staff at West Virginia University, serving as the program’s Operations Assistant while also training at the Regional Training Center.


She recently coached for the U.S. Women’s National Team, serving on former Hawkeye NCAA champion and women’s head coach Terry Steiner’s staff for four years. U.S. competitors won 17 world medals, including seven championships during that span.


“I am grateful for Coach Terry Steiner's leadership and mentorship and look forward to continuing our partnership and developing future national, world and Olympic champions for the United States of America,” Chun said. “I cannot thank USA Wrestling enough for helping me grow as a person and coach.”


Below is the news release from Iowa Sports Information Office:


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Clarissa Chun has been named head coach of the University of Iowa women’s wrestling team. The announcement was made Thursday by Gary Barta, Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair.


“Clarissa is the perfect fit to lead us in our journey to build a championship women’s wrestling program,” said Barta. “Her credentials speak for themselves, and her approach and philosophy match well with our Win. Graduate. Do it Right. values.”


Chun is the first head coach in the history of the program. Iowa announced on Sept. 23, 2021, that it was adding women’s wrestling as an intercollegiate program, becoming the first NCAA Division I, Power Five conference institution to offer the sport.


“It is an honor to be involved in a historic and exciting opportunity for young women across the country to compete as Hawkeyes in women's wrestling,” said Chun. “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.”


“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,” said Iowa men’s wrestling head coach Tom Brands. “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 joins the Iowa women’s wrestling program from USA Wrestling, where she was an assistant coach on the women’s national team from 2017-21. Working on staff with former Hawkeye national champion and women’s national team head coach Terry Steiner, Chun helped lead the United States to 17 World medals, including seven gold, four silver and six bronzes, as well as an Olympic gold, Olympic silver and two Olympic bronzes.


“I am grateful for Coach Terry Steiner's leadership and mentorship and look forward to continuing our partnership and developing future national, world and Olympic champions for the United States of America. I cannot thank USA Wrestling enough for helping me grow as a person and coach,” said Chun.


In the United States’ most recent showing at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway, the women’s team won two gold, two silver and three bronze medals, a historic seven-medal performance that led Team USA to a second-place finish.


Prior to being hired at USA Wrestling, Chun was among the most accomplished athletes in international wrestling.


A two-time Olympian, she took fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games before earning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Games, competing at 48 kg. Chun wrestled at five Senior World Championships, which included a gold-medal performance at the 2008 Worlds in Tokyo. She also competed at the 2000, 2009, 2011 and 2012 World Championships.


During her career, Chun won five U.S. Open titles. She was a 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist and won four gold medals at the Pan American Championships. She was a runner-up at four U.S. World Team Trials and three U.S. Opens, in a career which spanned 18 years competing at the Senior level.


Chun competed for Missouri Valley College, where she was a star on one of the pioneer women’s college wrestling team programs. She made the Senior Women’s National Team while still a student at Missouri Valley.


After leaving college, Chun became a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete for many years, but has also trained at Regional Training Centers on college campuses.


Chun has coaching experience at both the international and college levels. She was a member of the men’s wrestling staff at West Virginia University, serving as the program’s Operations Assistant while also training at the Regional Training Center.


Chun will be inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in June, 2022. She is one of only four females bestowed Distinguished Member honors. In 2018, Chun was inducted into the Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame, Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.

 

Tfxchawk

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Great hire with huge expectations. Hope she does incredibly well. So glad we have a woman sport that Iowans will actually feed. Field hockey has zero programs in the state and while I'm happy they are successful it is sad we have a sport at UI that Iowa kids can't really be a part.

Now get with the program already Iowa girls high school athletic union and sanction the sport already. It's past time.
 
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Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Great hire with huge expectations. Hope she does incredibly well. So glad we have a woman sport that Iowans will actually feed. Field hockey has zero programs in the state and while I'm happy they are successful it is sad we have a sport at UI that Iowa kids can't really be a part.

Now get with the program already Iowa girls high school athletic union and sanction the sport already. It's past time.

I’ve been surprised at the level of interest with the City High program in Iowa City. We’ll see if it fades but there are a lot of girls showing up and curious about the sport.
 
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