Multiple sources have confirmed that two-time All-American Zach Epperly has decided to forgo his final year of eligibility at Virginia Tech.
UPDATE: We reached out to Zach with questions regarding his decision and he was gracious enough to respond.
Regarding the process he went through in making this decision, Epperly said, "I had decided before the regular season started that I wouldn't be coming back for another year of wrestling. The reason for that is due to the fact that I was ready to move on."
The decision was not, Epperly continued, "due to the coaching change at Virginia Tech nor the results that I had at Nationals. This was a decision that was solely mine and I'm excited for the next step in my life."
Epperly got in touch with the Cave Springs High School coach while trying to set up a camp, and discussions eventually led to Zach accepting a position as an assistant coach for the upcoming season. Epperly will also be joining a local real estate firm, where he will put his real estate degree to good use.
Epperly said he was unsure at the moment whether coaching will be a long term career, adding "as of right now I am using it as a way to support myself and my fiance coming out of college."
On Monday morning, the Cave Spring High School wrestling team in Virginia announced on twitter that Epperly will be joining its coaching staff, which Epperly himself retweeted. Cave Springs is located just over 30 miles away from Christiansburg, VA, where Epperly graduated high school.
Also on Monday, the Virginia Tech wrestling twitter account tweeted the following statements from both Zach and Hokie head coach, Tony Robie.
Zach is a three-time NCAA qualifier, finishing seventh in 2015, third in 2016, and was eliminated in the round of 12 this year in St. Louis.
Epperly's departure leaves a hole in the Hokies line up for recently promoted head coach Tony Robie. Rising junior Cody Hughes had a 29-8 record last year as a back up and is the top contender to plug the gap. Another possibility would be to have David McFadden bump up from 165, as he comes off a redshirt season following his freshman All-American campaign in 2016.
Below you can hear Epperly discuss the 2016 NCAA tournament, where he won seven straight matches to claim third place after losing in the first round.