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Rutgers wrestling coach Scott Goodale secures contract extension through 2023-24 season

Head coach Scott Goodale has signed a contract until 2023-24, further ensuring his position at the helm of the Rutgers wrestling team.

The Scarlet Knights had their most monumental season this past season. Goodale coached the first two national champions — alumnus 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault and Olympic redshirt 133-pounder Nick Suriano.

Goodale, who became the top coach in Rutgers history with 173 career wins through 12 seasons on the bench, was named the NCAA Tournament's National Coach of the Year, in Pittsburgh this past March. At the wrestling championships, the Knights earned their first-ever top-10 team finish.

"My family and I have dedicated the last 12 years of our lives to this University and community," Goodale said. "We always believed that you could win at Rutgers and I've been blessed to have assistant coaches and staff who could see the vision before it was reality." 

He has continued to stick with familiar faces on the coaching staff, most notably assistant John Leonardis, who was a part of Goodale's first coaching staff in 2007. Associate head coach Donny Pritzlaff has been with the program since 2014. He was an assistant coach at Michigan, his alma mater Wisconsin and Hofstra. He also was an associate head coach with the Badgers.

The Lock Haven University alumnus will oversee a change in facilities for the wrestling program. The Daily Targum reported earlier this month that the men's and women's basketball programs, as well as the gymnastics, swimming and diving and wrestling programs will be relocated to the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center, adjacent to the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC).

Prior to the reveal of the approximately $115 million facility, the wrestling team held its practices in the basement of the College Avenue Gymnasium, which will solely hold the volleyball team. Goodale's team moved from the "Barn" to the RAC three seasons ago. 

The Knights continued to pack the RAC during this past regular season. A record 3,022 season tickets were purchased by fans this season. The past four years, the RAC has been in the top-five nationwide in college wrestling attendance.

The RAC will serve as the host facility for the 2020 Big Ten Wrestling Tournament, which will take place between March 8 and 9, 2020. This marks the second consecutive season that a conference tournament will be held at the University. Rutgers will also host the semifinal and finals rounds of the Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament this Nov. 8 and 10.

Goodale's 2019 recruiting class was in the top five of FloWrestling's rankings, placing at fourth in the nation. The loaded freshman class is filled with top-ranked wrestlers including true freshman 141-pounder JoJo Aragona, who was the No. 1 ranked wrestler in his weight class while being the sixth-best wrestler overall, according to FloWrestling.

This year's freshman class also features several other wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their weight classes. True freshman 165-pounder Robert Kanniard was ranked at No. 7 in the 160-pound weight class, which he wrestled in at Wall High School. In his junior year at Wall, Kanniard compiled a 45-1 record en route to a second-place finish in the NJSIAA Wrestling Championships.

The 2019-20 season marks the sixth season that the Knights are in the Big Ten. Rutgers opens the season at home against Centenary, LIU Post and Pittsburgh-Johnstown. In 2018, the Knights hosted the same Rutgers Quad Meet on the first Saturday in November where Centenary also competed in.

Two weeks later, the Knights will head on a short road trip to the West Coast to face Fresno State and CSU Bakersfield. Big Ten competition kicks off on Dec. 7, when Maryland visits the RAC. 

This season, Rutgers will head to New York City's Madison Square Garden to take on Michigan as part of MSG's Super Saturday, which will be held on Feb. 1, 2020. The wrestling dual meet will coincide with the Rutgers men's basketball team's neutral site game against the Wolverines.

The Knights round out their schedule with two home matches against Big Ten opponents while traveling in-state to take on Rider and Princeton. The Tigers match at historic Jadwin Gymnasium will close out Rutgers' schedule on Feb. 23, 2020, before the conference and national tournaments in March.

"Last year was a special year on our path to national prominence and this extension ensures that we will have Scott’s leadership here long into the future," said Athletics Director Pat Hobbs. 

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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