Tony Nelson is currently serving as an administrative assistant for the University of Minnesota wrestling team. He joins the staff after completing one of the greatest careers in Gopher wrestling history, one during which he compiled a record of 131-16 at heavyweight. His 131 wins are ninth-best in program history.
Nelson earned four All-American recognitions during his Gopher career, beginning in 2010-11 when he finished second at the Big Ten Championships and seventh on the NCAA stage. That season, he shared the team's Most Outstanding Freshman honor with Kevin Steinhaus.
The following season, Nelson captured the Big Ten Championship en route to a National Championship, defeating the reigning national champ to claim the title. Nelson was named the team's Most Outstanding Wrestler and the U's Best Male Athlete at the school's 2012 Golden Goldy's awards ceremony.
Amazingly, Nelson improved upon that 32-2 season the following year, going 33-1 as a junior and repeating as both the Big Ten and NCAA National Champion. That season, Nelson went 16-1 against ranked opponents and defeated three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 during his NCAA tournament run.
Nelson carried a 17 match winning streak into 2013-14, one which he extended to 36 before dropping a match in January. By season's end, Nelson became a three-time Big Ten champion at heavyweight and returned to the finals of the NCAA Championships but ultimately placed as the runner-up in that competition.
After four seasons as the volunteer assistant coach at Minnesota, his alma mater, Jayson Ness moved into an administrative assistant role for 2015-16 as he attempted to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
Ness has a wealth of on-the-mat experience from his All-American career at Minnesota. A National Champion and the most-decorated wrestler in program history, Ness holds the school record for career pins with 73, and ranks third in career victories with a record of 148-15-0. He is the sixth Gopher to earn four All-America titles.
Ness ended his career with as the 2010 NCAA National Champion in the 133-pound weight class. He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament on his way to receiving the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation's best wrestler.
Ness posted a perfect record of 31-0 that season, part of 33-match win streak overall. He won 10 matches against ranked opponents. The fastest of his 19 pins came at the 40-second mark.
In his senior year, Ness claimed his second Big Ten title to cap off a conference season that saw him earn Big Ten Wrestler of the Year honors. Ness was also named to the Academic All-America and Academic All-Big Ten rosters. He earned the Minnesota athletic department's Golden Goldy's Male Athlete of the Year and the team's MVP award.
Ness finished second at the NCAA Championships in 2008 and third in 2009. As a freshman in 2007, he won a Big Ten title (125 lbs) and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year as Minnesota won the team crown. His fifth-place, All-American finish at the 2007 NCAA Championships helped the Gophers capture a team National Championship.
Dylan Ness joined the University of Minnesota wrestling staff as an administrative assistant in 2015 after wrapping up one of the most electrifying careers in Gopher wrestling history.
Ness was a four-year starter at Minnesota, bursting onto the scene as a redshirt freshman by winning the Big Ten title and finishing as the national runner-up at 149 pounds. Ness wrestled two seasons at 149 before bumping up to 157 as a junior, a season during which he again reached the finals at the NCAA Championships.
Ness finished his Gopher career as one of just 10 four-time All-Americans in program history, while also carrying with him two trips to the NCAA finals and a Big Ten title.
Ness’ 37 career pins are tied for the ninth-most in program history. He posted a dozen pins both his junior and senior season, a mark with is among the 25 best ever at Minnesota. His 26-match winning streak to begin his senior season is tied for the 16th-longest ever recorded by a Gopher.
Brandon Eggum completed his first season as the Gophers’ head coach in 2016-17 after spending the previous five seasons serving as the program’s head assistant coach. Last season was Eggum's 16th on the wrestling team staff. Prior to assuming an assistant coach role in 2004, Eggum served as the team’s strength and conditioning coordinator (2001-2004).
Following a decorated career as a Gopher wrestler, Eggum joined the staff in 2000-01 and has since helped train and develop nine individual national champions, 27 individual conference champs and 66 All-Americans. The team success during that time has also been remarkable, a run which has included all three of the program’s national titles, five Big Ten championships and seven National Duals crowns.
Since joining the staff, Eggum has played a part in national title runs by Luke Becker, Jared Lawrence, Dustin Schlatter and Jayson Ness, as well as two-time champions Damion Hahn, Cole Konrad and Tony Nelson. All seven of those young men also won Big Ten titles with Eggum on staff, but the list of Big Ten champs during Eggum’s tenure also includes: Garrett Lowney, Owen Elzen, Ryan Lewis, Leroy Vega, Jacob Volkmann, Mack Reiter, C.P. Schlatter, Roger Kish, Mike Thorn, Kevin Steinhaus, Dylan Ness and Chris Dardanes. The list of All-Americans under Eggum’s watch goes on even longer.
Prior to his coaching career, Eggum was a four-time letterwinner for the Gophers from 1997 to 2000. As a sophomore, Eggum earned an All-America certificate at 177 pounds. In 1999, he bumped up to 184 pounds, where he would place second and third at the next two NCAA Championships, respectively. Eggum also won the Big Ten title at his weight both of those seasons and helped Minnesota win the 1999 Big Ten championship, the program’s first since 1959. Eggum’s name still litters the program’s record books as well. His 115 career wins and his .833 career winning percentage (115-23) are both among 25 best in Gopher history, while his 61 dual victories is tied for 12th.
In addition to his experience coaching at the collegiate level, Eggum has spent many years working closely with local wrestling clubs. He speaks and teaches at clinics all across the country sharing his passion for the sport.
As impressive as Eggum was on the mat, he also stood out in the classroom as a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2000, with a B.S. in Applied Economics.
A native of Sidney, Mont., Eggum currently resides in Stillwater, Minn., with his wife Katrina, son Greyson, and two daughters, Lillian and Monroe.
Head Assistant Coach/Clinician
Luke Becker served as the team's head assitant coach in 2016-17 after spending the previous eight seasons as the program's assistant coach. He's been on the Golden Gopher staff for 14 seasons now. Prior to his current role, Becker served as the program's assistant and volunteer assistant coach and, previous to that, as the team’s marketing and promotions director.
After serving as one of the key contributors on the mat for Minnesota's first two national titles in 2001 and 2002, Becker was on staff during the team's run to the 2007 National Championship. Becker was a part of the staff that helped guide the Gophers to back-to-back Big Ten titles in 2006 and 2007, as well as five National Duals championships. Minnesota has placed in the top-10 nationally 11 times since Becker has been on staff, including trophy finishes in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with Becker serving as assistant coach.
The Gopher All-Americans just since Becker became an assistant coach in 2009 is a who’s who of collegiate wrestling, including: Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes, Roger Kish, Michael Kroells, Tony Nelson, Dylan Ness, Jayson Ness, Brett Pfarr, Tyler Safratowich, Zach Sanders, Scott Schiller, Kevin Steinhaus, Logan Storley, David Thorn, Mike Thorn, Cody Yohn, Sonny Yohn and Danny Zilverberg. In that same timeframe, Becker has coached Nelson, Steinhaus, Mike Thorn and both Ness brothers to Big Ten titles, as well as national championships for Nelson and Jayson Ness.
Equally impressive to his coaching resume are his accomplishments when he wore the Gopher singlet as a four-time letterwinner from 2000 to 2003. Becker was an All-American all four seasons, winning an individual national title in 2002. He was a key contributor to the program’s first two national championships (2001, 2002). He also won two individual Big Ten titles (2002, 2003) and was part of three Big Ten championship teams (2001-03). He remains one of the most-accomplished wrestlers in program history, ranking among the program’s 16 best in career wins (126), career dual wins (60) and career pins (29).
Prior to joining the Gophers, Becker was a three-time Minnesota state champion from Cambridge, Minn. He finished his high school career as the winningest high school wrestler in Minnesota history at that time, with 210 prep victories.
Becker graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2003, with a B.A. in an intercollegiate program consisting of educational psychology and youth studies. He currently resides in Roseville, Minn., with his wife Christa, daughter Brittlyn, and son Bo.
Dustin Schlatter is entering his second season as the Gophers’ assistant coach in 2017-18 after spending the previous six seasons as a volunteer assistant (2015-16) and as a graduate assistant (2010-2015).
Schlatter came to Minnesota as a blue-chip recruit and immediately backed up those rankings by racking up a gaudy 42-1 record, claiming both the Big Ten and NCAA title at 149 pounds and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in the process. Schlatter was the first rookie in program history to win a national title.
Schlatter repeated as the Big Ten champ in 2007, helping the Gophers capture their second straight conference title. Schlatter’s third-place performance at NCAAs that season contributed to Minnesota winning its third National Championship. On the season, Schlatter went 37-1.
Schlatter, who graduated as a three-time All-American, was also twice named the team’s Fraser Dean Most Courageous Wrestler Award for battling injuries throughout his career.
His .919 career winning percentage is the fourth-best in Gopher history, while his 114 wins (against just 10 defeats) is among the program’s top 25. His 65 match winning streak, which stretched for 16 months, is the second-longest ever at Minnesota.
Starting with an appearance for Team USA at the World Championships during his redshirt season (2008-09), he has built an impressive resume wrestling freestyle at the national and international level. Most recently, Schlatter won the 70kg gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Championships.
A native of Westerville, Ohio, Schlatter currently resides in Minneapolis.
Volunteer Assistant Coach/Clinician
Zach Sanders joined the University of Minnesota wrestling staff as an administrative assistant following a successful career on the mat for the Gophers. The 2016-17 was his first as the team's volunteer assistant coach, but fifth on the program's staff.
In 2012, Sanders became the seventh four-time All-American in Gopher history with a third-place finish in the 125-pound division at the NCAA Championships. He finished his career ranked sixth on the Gophers' all-time wins list with a record of 134-27-1.
Sanders was ranked as high as No. 1 nationally during his senior season. He was named Team MVP for the second year in a row after going 32-4. Sanders took second at the Big Ten Championships, his best finish following two consecutive third-place showings.
Sanders finished sixth at the NCAA Tournament as a freshman before finishing fifth his next two years. He was named to the Amateur Wrestling News All-Rookie Team and voted both Most Outstanding Freshman and Most Exciting Wrestler by his teammates in 2009. Sanders was also an Academic All-Big Ten honoree during his career.
Following the end of his senior season, Sanders competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in freestyle wrestling.