Damion Hahn, a coach of the Cornell wrestling program since 2006, is leaving East Hill after accepting an offer to become the new head coach of South Dakota State, FloWrestling reported on Monday.
“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,” Hahn said in a press release by South Dakota State Athletics.
Congrats Coach Hahn and good luck with the Jackrabbits. https://t.co/GXpU0yUdEi
— Cornell Wrestling (@BigRedWrestling) April 9, 2018
Hahn, 37, has been a part of the program during one of its most successful stretches — watching Cornellians earn 12 Ivy League titles, 11 EIWA titles and 11 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
“He’s been an intricate part of Cornell wrestling’s success story for the last 12 years,” said head coach Rob Koll. “Our loss is SDSU’s gain!”
Tabbed as associate head coach in 2013, Hahn has guided the Red’s upper weight class wrestlers. Under his tutelage, several Cornell grapplers have won national titles, including Gabe Dean ’17.
Despite coaching the upper weights, all Cornell wrestlers speak incredibly highly of Hahn, including newly-minted NCAA champion freshman Yianni Diakomihalis.
“Damion’s an amazing coach, and an awesome person,” Diakomihalis told The Sun. “He’s been in the program for my whole wrestling career, and it’s sad to see him go but this is an amazing opportunity for him and he’s going to do great things at SDSU.”
This year, Hahn was instrumental in the breakout freshman seasons of Ben Darmstadt and Max Dean, Gabe’s younger brother. Those two wrestlers had exemplary rookie campaigns en-route to becoming All-Americans.
“Only bad thing about being surrounded by talented and successful people is that they often move on to face bigger challenges,” Max wrote on Instagram. “I have been so blessed to get to learn under [Hahn] not only as a wrestler but also as a man.”
As coach of the Jackrabbits, Hahn will make a return to the Midwest, having wrestled at Minnesota from 2000-04. During his time as a collegiate wrestler, Hahn earned four All-American honors and won two individual national titles.
It’s as yet unclear who will take Hahn’s place as associate head coach, though Koll indicated that Gabe would be a contender for the position.
“We have a particularly strong inside candidate,” Koll said, referring to Gabe.