Clarissa Chun named Iowa Women’s Wrestling Head Coach

Clarissa Chun’s wrestling resume is studded with stars. She helped blaze a trail for women in a...
Clarissa Chun’s wrestling resume is studded with stars. She helped blaze a trail for women in a sport that not so long ago was thoroughly dominated by men.
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 3:29 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Earlier today Gary Barta, the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tipple Director of Athletics Chair of the University of Iowa, named Clarissa Chun as the head coach of the University of Iowa women’s wrestling team.

“Clarissa is the perfect fit to lead us in our journey to build a championship women’s wrestling program,” said Barta. “Her credentials speak for themselves, and her approach and philosophy match well with our Win. Graduate. Do it Right. values.”

Iowa announced on Sept. 23, 2021, that it was adding women’s wrestling as an intercollegiate program, becoming the first NCAA Division I, Power Five conference institution to offer the sport. Chun is the first head coach in the history of the program.

“It is an honor to be involved in a historic and exciting opportunity for young women across the country to compete as Hawkeyes in women’s wrestling,” said Chun. “I want to thank Gary Barta, Barbara Burke, and Tom Brands for their initiative and leadership, which is going to make a positive and lasting impact on the wrestling world. This didn’t happen overnight; it took a lot of hard work and investment from community members and the University of Iowa’s administration, and I send a sincere thank-you to all who have worked to make this happen...”

Chun joins the Iowa women’s wrestling program from USA Wrestling, where she was an assistant coach on the women’s national team from 2017-21. Working on staff with former Hawkeye national champion and women’s national team head coach Terry Steiner, Chun helped lead the United States to 17 World medals, including seven gold, four silver, and six bronzes, as well as an Olympic gold, Olympic silver, and two Olympic bronzes.

Prior to being hired at USA Wrestling, Chun was among the most accomplished athletes in international wrestling. A two-time Olympian, she took fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games before earning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Games, competing at 48 kg. Chun wrestled at five Senior World Championships, which included a gold-medal performance at the 2008 Worlds in Tokyo. She also competed at the 2000, 2009, 2011, and 2012 World Championships. During her career, Chun won five U.S. Open titles. She was a 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist and won four gold medals at the Pan American Championships. She was a runner-up at four U.S. World Team Trials and three U.S. Opens, in a career that spanned 18 years competing at the Senior level.

Chun will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in June 2022. She is one of only four females bestowed Distinguished Member honors. In 2018, Chun was inducted into the Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame, Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, and Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.

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