Three Gophers named to NWCA All-Academic team
Nine Gophers will wrestle at the championships; Sanders looking to become four-time All-American
Six Big Ten schools ranked in top eight in the country
NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals
Gophers will wrestle at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.
Luke Becker wrapped up his second season as an assistant coach and his 11th season on the Golden Gopher staff in 2012-13. Prior to his role as the assistant coach, Becker was the program's volunteer assistant coach. Before his duties in coaching he was the Gophers' marketing and promotions director.
Since joining the coaching staff in 2009, Becker has helped develop 19 All-America honorees including 2013 and 2012 NCAA champion Tony Nelson and 2010 NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner Jayson Ness. Becker also coached five Big Ten Champions; Tony Nelson (2013 & 2012), Dylan Ness (2013), Kevin Steinhaus (2012), Jayson Ness (2010) and Mike Thorn (2010). After serving as one of the key contributors on the mat for Minnesota's first two national titles in 2001 and 2002, Becker was on staff during its run to the 2007 national championship. Becker has also helped guide the team to back-to-back National Duals titles in 2012 and 2013.
Becker came to the full-time staff as one of the most consistent and top performers in Minnesota wrestling history. One of just five Golden Gopher wrestlers in history to earn All-American certificates in each of their four years, Becker was the 157-pound national champion at the 2002 NCAA Championships as a junior. He then closed his career with his fourth All-America certificate, earning a fourth place finish. Becker ended his career ranked eighth in school history with a 125-29-0 career record and ranked 10th with 29 career pins. Currently he stands at 11th and 15th respectively in each category.
Becker was also a two-time individual Big Ten Champion and was part of a class that claimed three Big Ten Championships, two NCAA Championships and a 72-8 dual meet record. He and his Golden Gopher teammates won back-to-back national championships in 2001 and 2002, added Minnesota to a list of only four schools (along with Iowa, Iowa State and Oklahoma State) that have won back-to-back titles in the last half century.
Becker concluded one of the most historic collegiate careers in the history of Minnesota wrestling with his second consecutive Big Ten individual title and fourth All-American honor in 2003 with a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships. Becker's senior campaign also included most of a 27-match unbeaten streak that still stands as the 10th-longest in the history of the program.
A fantastic junior season in 2001-02 culminated with an individual title for Becker at 157 pounds and a second consecutive team title for the Gophers. Becker also won his first Big Ten individual title as a junior, defeating Michigan's Ryan Bertin in the title bout. He was named Minnesota's most valuable wrestler at the conclusion of the 2001-02 campaign.
A runner-up performance at the Big Ten championships and a fourth-place finish at the national meet highlighted a 32-9 sophomore season for Becker, as he led the team to their first NCAA team title. A reputation for piling up points on his opponents followed Becker closely, as he earned bonus points in nine of his 14 dual meet wins during his sophomore campaign.
As a redshirt freshman for the Gophers, Becker compiled a 30-12 record on his way to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA meet. Along with teammate Jared Lawrence, who would also become a four-time All-American, Becker was voted the program's Most Outstanding Freshman following the 1999-2000 season. During his first season at the 'U' while serving as a redshirt, Becker recorded what still stands as the sixth-fastest pin in program history when he stuck Jeff Carlson in just 20 seconds on Nov. 21, 1998.
The Cambridge, Minn. native came to the Minnesota as the nation's top high school recruit at 152 pounds in 1998 after finishing his high school senior season with an unblemished 42-0 record. The three-time Minnesota state champion finished his high school career as the winningest high school wrestler in Minnesota history with 210 prep victories.
Becker graduated in May of 2003 with a B.A. in an intercollegiate program consisting of educational psychology and youth studies. He is married to Christa (Nalezny) Becker and they have one daugther named Brittlyn.