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Roger Kish Is Headed To Oklahoma To Lead The Sooners

Roger Kish Is Headed To Oklahoma To Lead The Sooners

After 12 seasons in the North Dakota State corner, Roger Kish is moving across the Big 12.

May 2, 2023 by Andy Hamilton
Roger Kish Is Headed To Oklahoma To Lead The Sooners

Oklahoma’s month-long search for a head wrestling coach has come to an end. 

After 12 seasons of wearing green and yellow in the North Dakota State corner, Roger Kish is moving across the Big 12 to don the crimson and cream for the Sooners. 

Oklahoma announced the hiring of Kish on Tuesday evening

The move comes almost four weeks after Lou Rosselli’s resignation and brings closure to a process in which several coaches had been mentioned as possible replacements. Kish's name had been under the radar, though. 

"I'm incredibly humbled and honored to be joining this tradition-rich program, as Oklahoma has been such a big brand in our sport," Kish said in the school's news release. "I'm really excited for the opportunity and grateful to Joe Castiglione, (sport administrator) Jason Leonard and the rest of the OU administration for their diligence during the hiring process. We got to know each other very well in a short amount of time and I can't wait to get started."

"In terms of my expectations, I think right now it's about getting to Norman, getting a really good gauge of where the program is currently and then working up a game plan of how we want to grow and build it. We're going to come in and probably do things a little bit differently, and I think that's going to be a great start to changing the way our student-athletes view the work they're putting in. Hopefully, that can be a positive change and we'll start moving forward. I think there's a lot of great talent already there and I'm excited to meet and start building relationships with all the terrific people associated with OU Wrestling, the entire athletics program and the community in general. My family and I are thrilled for the opportunity to join the Sooner family."

Kish turned the Bison into consistent winners as a Big 12 affiliate program. North Dakota State went 108-70 in duals during his time in Fargo and posted an 11-3 record this past season, highlighted by wins over Nebraska and Stanford. 

North Dakota State finished 24th at the NCAA Championships, where Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo earned All-America honors at 157 and 165 pounds, respectively. The Bison set a program record with 25.5 points at the tournament and finished 24th in the team standings. 

"Coach Kish brings with him a wealth of experience and leadership, as well as a mentality for championship-caliber competition," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in the school news release. "Roger knows what it takes to build a championship program, and he's done just that at North Dakota State, with many of his wrestlers having won conference titles and earning All-American honors. His coaching philosophy aligns with our approach at Oklahoma, and I know he'll guide our wrestling program toward achieving the standards we've set for ourselves.

"Outside of coaching, Roger has deep experience engaging with key stakeholders in the wrestling community, which has contributed greatly to his success. From the recruiting trail to championship matches, Roger demonstrates a sincere intentionality in the development of his wrestlers, and I know our student-athletes and our program will benefit immensely from his direction. We can't wait to welcome him, his wife Jessalyn, and their children, Huxley and Emry to the Sooner family."