Manning named Nebraska wrestling coach

Manning named Nebraska wrestling coach Mark Manning, a native of Vermillion, was introduced May 23 as the Nebraska Cornhuskers' new wrestling coach.

Manning, the 16th coach in the school's history, immediately set a goal none of his predecessors had achieved: Winning a national team championship.

"That's a big statement, but I'm a big thinker," said Manning in an Associated Press report.

In three seasons, Manning, 38, brought Northern Iowa's wrestling program back from near obscurity into national contention.

He wrestled at Nebraska one year before transferring to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he won two NCAA Division II national championships.

Nebraska got a firsthand look at what one of Manning's teams could do in January when the Panthers visited Lincoln, NE and left with a 20-all tie. UNI went on to finish 10-5-2, its first winning record in seven years.

The Panthers placed 11th at the NCAA tournament in March and got their first national champion since 1963 in Tony Davis, who won the 149-pound title.

Athletic director Bill Byrne said that after a national search, "the name we kept hearing was Mark Manning."

Manning's teams were 23-24-2 at UNI, showing steady improvement every season. He said he had a hard time with the decision to leave the program he rebuilt not far from the wrestling dynasty at Iowa, the winner of 20 national championships in the last 26 years.

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