The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team was honored by the Big Ten Conference as the Big Ten's 2011-12 Men's Team of the Year. Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson also was tabbed as the 2011-12 Big Ten Men's Head Coach of the Year.
For the Nittany Lions, it was the team's second straight Big Ten Men's Team of the Year honor. Sanderson's Lions rode three national champions and six All-Americans to their second straight NCAA title, winning the 2012 championship in runaway fashion in St. Louis on March 15-17. David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) each went undefeated on the year and rolled to individual national crowns at 165, 174 and 149 respectively. They were joined as All-Americans by 125-pound national runner-up Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), 184-pound national runner-up Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) and third place finisher at 157 Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.).
Two weeks early, Penn State won its second straight Big Ten title with another resounding conference performance, this time claiming the 2012 Big Ten Championship at Purdue on March 3-4. Taylor, Ruth and Molinaro each won Big Ten individual crowns as well. The Nittany Lions went 13-1 in dual meets, including a 7-1 mark in Big Ten duals, earning a share of the 2012 Big Ten regular season title.
Sanderson's second Coach of the Year honor comes after guiding Penn State to its second straight NCAA and Big Ten titles as well as its second straight Southern Scuffle Championship. Sanderson now sports an 86-18-2 dual meet mark in his sixth year as a collegiate head coach. He is 42-8-2 after three years at Penn State.
This year, Sanderson led Penn State to a school record 7-1 Big Ten dual record and a share of the 2012 Big Ten dual meet championship. Sanderson then made it two in a row by leading Penn State to the 2012 Big Ten Championship and was named 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, earning the honor for the second straight season. Two weeks later, Sanderson led Penn State to a second straight NCAA crown, helping Penn State to become just the fourth team in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles. In three years as Penn State's coach, Sanderson has led the Nittany Lions to two-straight conference titles, two straight national titles, collected 14 All-Americans, three national champions, two Gorriaran winners, one NCAA tourney Outstanding Wrestler and one Hodge Trophy winner.