Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson stepping down

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson said Tuesday he will step down after the season.

Jackson, the former national freestyle coach for USA Wrestling, has been with the Cyclones since taking over for Cael Sanderson in 2008.

His first Iowa State team finished third at the NCAA championships and featured two national champions, including future Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner. But the program has declined under Jackson, bottoming out this season with a 1-9 record in dual meets. Jackson is 68-54 in eight years at Iowa State. But his last match, a 34-3 loss to top-ranked Oklahoma State at home over the weekend, likely sealed his fate.

Iowa State says Jackson will take on an administrative role in the athletic department after the season.

''Iowa State has a great wrestling tradition and everyone involved with the program has very high expectations,'' Jackson said. ''We have not consistently met those expectations recently, which has been disappointing to me, my staff, our current and former wrestlers ... and making this announcement now relieves some pressures and uncertainties for our current student-athletes as well as for incoming recruits.''

Jackson was a wrestler on the last team that won a championship for Iowa State back in 1987. He later won a pair of world titles and gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and his return was seen as a coup after Sanderson made the surprise jump to Penn State.

But Sanderson's success at Penn State only helped made things tougher for the Cyclones, who've slipped into mediocrity in a sport where a handful of programs like the Nittany Lions, Cowboys and the rival Hawkeyes typically dominate the podium at the national meet.

Recruiting will likely be a top priority for Jackson's replacement.

Jackson ''is a man of great integrity, a terrific ambassador for the Cyclones and a talented coach, but we agreed that our program isn't performing at the level we expect,'' athletic director Jamie Pollard said.

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