Rhoden reminisces about his first year at OSU

Sydni Zidarevich, Sports Contributor

With NCAA and PAC-12 Championships just around the corner, new assistant coach Josh Rhoden reflects on his first year with the Oregon State wrestling team.

“It’s been a good change,” Rhoden said. “Chris put together a dynamic group…Change is always hard, it’s not been easy, necessarily, but it’s been fun, it really has.”

Rhoden spent nearly 20 years with Clackamas Community College, 16 of those years as the head coach of the wrestling team. Rhoden began his professional career at CCC in 2006, won the NJCAA National Championship five times, and was named National Coach of the Year four times.

“Coach Pendleton had approached me a year before this about this opportunity and to work with these guys and I sort of stalled and delayed and messed around a little bit on the idea, just because it is a big step and a big change for my family,” Rhoden said.

At the time of Pendleton’s first offer, Rhoden and the CCC wrestling team were pursuing their fourth national title, which would have tied the National record for that level. Rhoden decided to maintain his professional status as head coach and lead CCC to the National Championship this past year. It was after this success that Rhoden turned his attention back to Pendleton’s offer.

“It was very hard [to decide] because it [CCC] was the place I knew for my entire professional career,” Rhoden said. “I think professionally, it’s certainly what I needed to continually be challenged. I don’t say it boastfully, I sort of hit the ceiling of where I was at that level. To chase myself and try to continue to grow as a professional, Chris gave me the opportunity to do that.”

Acclimating into his new role, Rhoden describes his first year as a passive participant in the process.

“I told somebody this year, like, I haven’t really gotten to coach wrestling tactics and participate in wrestling practice as I have this year, ever,” Rhoden said. “Maybe since my first year [as a head coach] when I didn’t know what I was doing, still just faking it till I made it, right? But once you get it, it’s like, fundraising, alumni, donations, and scheduling. All these other things: periodization of my athletes, what it looks like for Johnny’s grades and study halls, and all these other hats that I wore, like 16 different hats. Where now it’s, here are the hats you’re going to wear: recruiting, alumni engagement, you know, things that I’m really good at cause I’m outgoing and have the gift of gab…That’s been pretty freeing too.”

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