Head assistant wrestling coach Marty Morgan resigned from his position at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon after 16 years with the program. Morgan will go on to train former Gopher All-American wrestler Brock Lesnar, a popular Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) competitor, on a full-time basis.
“I’m going to step back for a year to help Brock [Lesnar] train and I’ll see where I’m at next summer. I’ve been working with Brock [Lesnar] the past few years on his training and now I’ve been offered a unique opportunity to work with him full time.” Morgan said. “This has definitely been a difficult decision, considering that I have been involved with the program for 20 years as an athlete and coach. I am happy to have a great relationship with the University of Minnesota administration, J Robinson, the wrestling staff, past and current team members, and numerous fans around this great wrestling state.”
A native of Bloomington, Minn., Morgan began his collegiate wrestling career at North Dakota State where he won a Division II national championship as a true freshman before transferring to Minnesota. Morgan was a three-time All-American for the Gophers and won a national title at 177 pounds as a senior in 1991. With a 39-0 record during his senior season, Morgan became the first wrestler in school history to finish with an unblemished record and is one of just three wrestlers in Minnesota history to accomplish that feat. He capped off his career with the Big Ten Medal of Honor, which is awarded to a Big Ten student-athlete who demonstrates excellence in academics and athletics.
Morgan was the top assistant under head coach J Robinson for 13 of his 16 seasons with the program. During his time at Minnesota, Morgan helped secure Minnesota Wrestling’s status as one of the most storied and successful programs in the nation. Under Morgan’s watch, the Gophers attracted some of the nation’s most sought-after recruits on a regular basis and won national titles in 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2006-07. The Gophers have also captured six Big Ten Conference championships under Morgan’s tutelage.
“Marty has been around Minnesota Wrestling for 20 years, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him to step away for a year and to see what else is out there,” head coach J Robinson said. “I think it’s important for people to see different opportunities that life has to offer from a different perspective and a year away from the program can provide that perspective for Marty. He will be obviously missed this year with the way we do things, but we look forward to working with him in the future.”
The Gopher wrestling program, which boasts one of the nation’s highest-rated recruiting classes again this year, begins its 2008-09 season with the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D. on Nov. 15. Minnesota’s first home wrestling event comes when the Gophers host fellow perennial national power Oklahoma State in a New Year’s Day dual at the Sports Pavilion.