Some unexpected news on the banks arrived this afternoon as Head Wrestling Coach Scott Goodale announced Anthony Ashnault would be stepping down as an Assistant Coach to focus more on his international freestyle wrestling career.
Ashnault, the all-time leader in wins at Rutgers and a 2019 national champion, released a statement through Rutgers official communications to make the announcement.
“I am excited to make a full-time commitment to competing as a freestyle athlete,” Ashnault said. “Coaching at Rutgers this past season has given me a tremendous amount of insight and has revitalized my excitement for wanting to compete at the sport’s highest level.”
With Ashnault as an assistant, the Scarlet Knights finished the 2021-22 season with two All-Americans and had a 20th place showing at the NCAA tournament. Coach Scott Goodale spoke on Ashnault’s departure as a coach.
“We want to thank Anthony for everything he has done for this program,” Goodale said. “Anthony has been the face of Rutgers wrestling for almost a decade, and we are excited to be in his corner as he continues this next step in his freestyle wrestling career. A national search to find his replacement on our staff will begin immediately.”
The move by Ashnault raises an obvious question as to who will Coach Goodale and co. find to fill the void in the coaching staff. Will they look to a former graduate of the program or bring in someone from the outside? Assistant Head Coach Donny Pritzlaff, though an NJ native, was a two-time national champion at Wisconsin before joining the Michigan Wrestling staff and eventually, the Scarlet Knights.
Based on Coach Goodale’s statement, it appears Ashnault will continue to train on the banks at the Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club and won’t be joining another “RTC” or Regional Training Center to try and take his freestyle skills to another level.
At the World Team Trials back in May of this year, Ashnault lost his opening round bout to Tyler Berger before forfeiting out of the tournament.