Kyle Dake compiled an incredible list of achievements while competing for Cornell, including an unprecedented four NCAA championships at four different weights. His contributions to the Big Red will continue this fall, as the Lansing native has joined the coaching staff as the volunteer assistant, according to head coach Rob Koll.
Dake said that he looks forward to spending time in the Cornell wrestling room again this year.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for me interact with the guys, help the team and also focus on my training,” Dake said. “The wrestlers and coaches at Cornell have been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. This is a small way for me to give back. Even if I wasn’t a coach, I was planning on being in Ithaca. It will be really cool. My brother [Corey] will be there wrestling and there are some young studs who will make big splashes this year. I’m excited to coach and also have some great workout partners.”
Dake compiled a 137-4 record for the Big Red with 83 bonus points wins, including 44 pins. In addition to his four NCAA championships, he was also a three-time EIWA titlewinner.
Upon finishing his career, Dake made a smooth transition to freestyle, getting his hand raised in his international debut at the Rumble on the Rails event in New York City when he defeated Iran’s Hassan Tahmasebi. He followed up that performance by taking second at the World Team Trials in a loaded 74 kg class.
About a month ago, New York Wrestling News spoke to Dake about the World Team Trials and a few other things. To see what Dake had to say, read on.
New York Wrestling News (NYWN): At the World Team Trials, you had to beat Trent Paulson, David Taylor and Andrew Howe just to get to the finals series later that day with Jordan Burroughs. What was that day like for you?
Kyle Dake (KD): It was definitely a good experience for me because if you go to World Championships or the Olympics, you might have draw like that where you’ll have to beat some of the toughest guys and then later that day, compete in the finals. It was a test for me to see what it’s like and what to expect in a one-day tournament. My body and mind are used to having five matches over three days at NCAAs. Making that adjustment to one-day tournaments is important for me to get used to the freestyle mode. I think that’s overlooked sometimes – once you come into the freestyle scene, everything’s a little different. You need to prepare yourself a little different. I was used to going slow and having time to recover and be at my best for every single match. This is different – you have to be ready to wrestle the best in the world over a few hours.
NYWN: After those three matches, you faced Jordan Burroughs in the finals that night. You lost the first bout 7-0 but the second went to overtime. What was the difference between those two matches?
KD: After the first one, I had to make the adjustments for my own sanity. I knew I should never be tech falled. That bothered me a lot. I was thinking, ‘what am I doing?’ I went out with the wrong tactics and game plan. I had a very square stance and that didn’t work, so there had to be a new plan. I was able to make some quick adjustments to close the gap and challenge him a lot more. I still didn’t get the result I wanted, but it was better.
NYWN: Switching gears, you have your own line of shoes coming out and a number of other things going on outside of wrestling. Can you tell a little bit more about those things?
KD: I’ve had some unique opportunities. My agent, Nick Garone, has been the guy to take care of my deals and negotiations. I’m working with X-Cel, Cage Fighter, Championship Productions, Achieve Insights, Fox [CSI] Sports and Milwaukee Tools. It’s good to have all those guys on my side and to have corporate sponsorships. It allows me to spend my time training and coaching.
NYWN: In addition, since winning your fourth NCAA championship, you’ve had a lot of interesting experiences and honors come your way. Did any one of those stand out most to you?
KD: There were a lot of pretty unique experiences. Getting the Sports Illustrated award [SI’s Male College Athlete of the Year] was a big honor. They sent lots of people up to Ithaca for a big photo shoot and an article in the magazine. The Dan Patrick Show was awesome too. I got to be on TV with a sports talk legend. The ESPYs were amazing. I had the chance meet so many amazing people. It’s really cool to be around people who strive for excellence. I had a chance to meet people like Adrian Peterson and talking to him and other great athletes, seeing that they weren’t superhuman like people think – that was awesome. I can’t really pick which one of those things stood out the most – I’m thankful that I’ve had so many great experiences over the past few months.