2022-23 Missouri Wrestling

Tiger Insider: Smith Inks Contract Extension

Tiger Insider: Smith Inks Contract Extension

The longtime leader of the Mizzou program is under contract for four more years in Columbia, while some of the Tigers young prospects showed out last week.

Dec 6, 2022 by Ben Ramirez
Tiger Insider: Smith Inks Contract Extension
It’s been a busy week for Missouri wrestling.

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It’s been a busy week for Missouri wrestling.

On Nov. 30, the University of Missouri announced that head coach Brian Smith had his contract extended through the 2026-27 season.

On Dec. 2, the Tigers played host to West Virginia for just the second time in school history. Wrestling against each other for the first time as conference opponents, #4 Mizzou took care of business against the Mountaineers with a lopsided 38-3 victory inside Hearnes Center.

The dual also served as the alumni homecoming for the program, as Smith welcomed home roughly 40 of his former wrestlers.

On Dec. 4, Smith and company traveled east for a meeting against another of his former pupils, SIU-Edwardsville head coach Jeremy Spates, who wrestled in the Black and Gold singlet in the early aughts.

Some young Tigers had strong showings at the Cougar Clash, including freshmen Zeke Seltzer and Clayton Whiting, who took home the 133-pound and 184-pound titles, respectively.

Here are the highlights:

Brian Smith Is Here To Stay

Mizzou’s winningest wrestling coach will head the program through what will be his 29th season at the face of the Tigers.

Over his 24-and-change seasons, Smith has coached all nine of the Tigers’ national champions, two Olympians, all 11 conference championships — across two conferences — as well as shepherded a vast majority of the program’s 83 All-Americans.

Smith is also tied with legendary basketball coach Norm Stewart for the most conference tournament championships in school history. He’s the 2007 Dan Gable Coach of the Year, the 2017 NWCA Coach of the Year and a 2022 inductee of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

"The support and the belief in Tiger Style from Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois and the administration, including President Choi and Tiger Style supporters all over, allows our amazing staff to recruit the best and brightest young men to attend Mizzou,” Smith said in a press release.

“I am a believer that a positive culture wins. Tiger Style continues to grow, evolve and get better and I believe we will win an NCAA Championship for Mizzou.”

Freshmen Get Their Chance To Shine

Thanks to a new NCAA rule, true freshmen are granted the ability to compete in five competitions while being able to retain their redshirt. It’s already paying dividends for the Tigers.

The freshmen put on a display over the weekend beginning with Peyton Moore, who took to the mat in a Mizzou singlet for the first time against WVU’s Colton Drousias and pinned him in 1:16.

At the Cougar Clash on Sunday, four more true freshmen put on dazzling performances, highlighted by Seltzer, who knocked off two national qualifiers at 133 pounds. Whiting, Cam Steed and Jerrdon Fisher also all grabbed two wins at their respective weights.

According to Smith, the rule change is beneficial both for the coaching staff and the athletes. On his end, it allows for more flexibility with the lineup, as well as being able to coach and evaluate his athletes against Division-I competition outside of the practice room.

For the athletes, being able to compete as attached wrestlers brings a different intensity to daily practices and greater motivation.

“[The rule change] makes a difference with the kids,” Smith said. “Not only just their happiness, it’s their mental health. They get to compete and wear the Mizzou singlet.

“The level of motivation in the room has been so much better with the young guys.”

A Look Ahead

The Tigers will close the calendar year with some tough dates on the schedule beginning with a trip to Blacksburg, Va., for a showdown against #12 Virginia Tech. Last season, the Hokies squeaked out an 18-16 win against the Tigers. It will be the first trip to Blacksburg for Smith’s team since 2017.

Mizzou will then come home for a Top-25 matchup against Big 12 rival North Dakota State before ringing in the new year at the Southern Scuffle.