Taylor to become next Oklahoma State head coach

Updated: May 7, 2024

David Taylor and Oklahoma State stunned the wrestling world yesterday when it was learned that the 2021 Olympic gold medalist, three-time World champ and two-time NCAA titlist from Penn State, would become the Cowboys’ next head coach.

“Welcome to Stillwater, Head Coach David Taylor. Let’s make some magic!” said OSU’s social media page.

Taylor, 33, replaces the legendary John Smith, who recently announced that he was retiring after 33 years.

This will be Taylor’s first head coaching position. While competing in international wrestling, Taylor has been coaching younger wrestlers in his M2 Training Academy just outside State College, Pa.

Prior to the recent Olympic Trials, where Taylor lost to Penn State’s four-time NCAA champion Aaron Brooks in the Best-of-3 Finals, Taylor down-played any rumor that he was being considered as a college coach.

“Right now, my focus is (the 2024 Olympics) and then we will re-evaluate what comes after that,” he said on April 18. “My desire is to help people in wrestling. It would be a big change to do something different. I see what college coaches have to do to be the best at the highest level. It’s more than a full-time job.”

But Oklahoma State, which finished 10th in the 2024 NCAA Championships, decided to make Taylor its top coaching prospect, instead of someone like Coleman Scott, the former NCAA champ from Oklahoma State and former head coach at North Carolina, who returned to assist Smith in last winter’s wrestling season.

David Taylor had a strong rivalry with Iran’s Hassan Yazdani, including winning an Olympic gold medal over the Iranian in 2021.

Taylor first grew up in Wyoming before moving to Ohio, where he was a four-time state champion for St. Paris Graham High School. He eventually joined head coach at Penn State, where the four-time NCAA finalist won national titles and Dan Hodge Trophies in both 2012 and 2014.

Later, he appeared in five World/Olympic tournaments, claiming gold in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and World titles in 2018, 2022 and 2023. He also claimed a silver medal in 2021.