The South Dakota wrestling program is turning over the reigns to a man who knows all about winning big matches as a competitor and as a top assistant coach.

Longtime Cornell assistant and former University of Minnesota wrestler Damion Hahn has been hired to take over in Brookings.

Hahn, a four-time All-American as a wrestler for the Gophers, won a pair of national championships in college. He was also the Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year in 2004.

In his 12 years on the staff at Cornell, Hahn was part of a program that recorded 11 top ten team finishes at the NCAA Championships, including consecutive runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011. He mentored 50 All-Americans, 12 of whom were individual NCAA champions. Cornell also won 12 straight Ivy League dual championships and 11 consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles.

This will be his first head coaching job.

In a SDSU press release, athletic director Justin Sell said:

Damion represents everything we are looking for in being able to take our wrestling program to the next level. His success both as a collegiate wrestler and coach, along with his ability to recruit high-achieving student-athletes on and off the mat, made him the ideal candidate. He is a tremendous ambassador for the sport who will work tirelessly to ensure wrestling thrives both on our campus and across the country.

In that same SDSU press release, Hahn said:

I am truly honored to be named the next head coach of wrestling at South Dakota State University and am thrilled for the opportunity to lead a program that has such incredible support from the university and the community. I would like to thank Justin Sell and everyone on the search committee for giving me this opportunity. I am excited for the future of Jackrabbit Wrestling.

Hahn will begin his duties at SDSU April 16, replacing Chris Bono who left after six seasons to take over at Wisconsin. During that time the Jackrabbits went 64-41 in dual meets and posted four straight winning seasons with 22-3 mark against Big 12 Conference foes since joining the league at the start of the 2015-16 season.

SDSU was ranked as high as 12th in the national polls last season.


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