University of Oklahoma head wrestling coach Mark Cody has announced the addition of two former OU student-athletes and NCAA champions to his coaching staff. Andrew Howe has been hired as an assistant coach, while Kendric Maple will serve as a volunteer assistant coach.
Both Howe and Maple are coming off impressive and decorated collegiate careers. Howe is a four-time All-American, while Maple earned three such honors. The duo joins assistant coach Michael Lightner, who is also an NCAA champion and four-time All-American.
“Our goal through this process was to try to cover every weight class. I think we’ve done that, and we’ve done that with quality people,” Cody said. “With the addition of Andrew and Kendric, we now have three coaches on staff who have met the goals we want for all of our student-athletes. They are all NCAA champions, and all have graduated from the University of Oklahoma with excellent GPAs.
"When I am putting a staff together, my philosophy is to not only have good quality people but also coaches who can work with and work out and train with our athletes,” Cody added. “I think we have accomplished that in hiring Andrew and Kendric. They have both set a benchmark for all of our student-athletes, and who better to show our student-athletes the way than someone who has already been there?”
Howe won the 2010 NCAA Championship at 165 pounds, grabbed four All-America honors and compiled a 122-10 overall record in his career. In his first three seasons, Howe competed at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Sooners for a redshirt season in 2012-13 and his senior season in 2013-14.
In four career NCAA Championships appearances, the Cedar Lake, Ind., native never finished lower than third place. As a sophomore in 2010, Howe won the 165-pound NCAA title. This past season, Howe placed second at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City and posted a 28-2 record. The NCAA runner-up finish was the second of Howe’s career as he also placed second in 2009 as a freshman at Wisconsin, and in 2011, he placed third.
He was a three-time Big Ten Champion in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and finished second in the 2014 Big 12 Championship at 174 pounds. Howe was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team and to the NWCA Division I All-Academic Team in 2014.
“I am very excited to begin my coaching career at the University of Oklahoma, and I would like to thank Mark Cody for giving me this incredible opportunity,” Howe said. “I have enjoyed my time here, and it's great to have a larger role in the program. I plan on continuing to foster an intense mindset and work with individuals to win at the highest level of wrestling.
"We are looking to recruit wrestlers who want to receive an outstanding education, win individual national titles and be on national championship teams,” Howe continued. “I am excited to start working with the coaching staff and return Oklahoma to the top team in the country.”
Howe graduated from OU with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and is currently working toward a master’s degree in human relations.
One of the most successful wrestlers in program history, Maple posted an overall record of 127-25, placing him sixth for career wins at OU. The Wichita, Kan., native became the 25th Sooner to become a three-time All-American after finishing eighth at 149 pounds at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Maple took the 141-pound title in 2013 as a redshirt junior, becoming the first Sooner in eight years to win an NCAA crown, finishing with a perfect 31-0 record. In 2012, Maple took fourth place at the national tournament. Additionally, Maple won three straight Big 12 titles (2012-14).
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Maple has also succeeded in the classroom, being named to the NWCA Division I All-Academic Team three times (2012-14), Academic All-Big 12 First Team twice (2013-14) and to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team in 2012. This year, Maple was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I At-Large Team and was awarded the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and the Big 12 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship.
Currently, Maple is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education, with an emphasis in intercollegiate athletics administration. He also received his bachelor’s degree in health and exercise sciences from OU.
“I wanted to stay with the program because it has become my family and I believe in the system Coach Cody has in place,” Maple said. “I think as a coach I can be very interactive with the student-athletes in the wrestling room. I believe I can help them become not just better wrestlers but better men as well.”
/// SoonerSports PR
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