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Wrestlers frustrated as Head Wrestling Coach Matt Hansen is fired two weeks before nationals

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Wrestler Zach Linton and Head Wrestling Coach Matt Hansen sit on the sidelines. Hansen was recently fired, two weeks before nationals. 

Matt Hansen, head wrestling coach, has been fired. The decision was announced to him at the end of last week and to the team on Monday.

“It was a personnel decision made by the department that we will go in a different direction with the head wrestling coach,” Athletic Director Matt Franzen said.

National qualifier, junior Zach Linton, said that he was told the reason behind firing Hansen was to get a coach that could recruit for the team right away. However, he disagreed with that statement. Instead, Linton blamed Hansen’s firing on Franzen himself. Linton said the wrestling department was being undermined.

“We got treated like an elementary team, rolling the mats up during lunch,” Linton said.

Linton also said that the decision was not fair to Hansen who has coached five different All-Americans in his career. Linton said that wrestlers were not given what they needed to succeed.

“At Doane we don’t get enough money, we don’t get the room (designated wrestling room),” Linton said. “It is all about money and enrollment for Doane, not about winning.”

Linton will be without a head coach going into the national championship that goes from March 1-2.

“It’s a slap to the face for me, he (Franzen) has no respect for me, and no respect for all the work I have put in clearly,” Linton said. “It is just kind of ridiculous, it’s almost like he wants me to do badly at nationals so he can shut the program down.”

Franzen said the coaching staff that is in place will be able to lead Linton to win a national championship.

Linton is using his frustration towards Franzen as motivation for nationals.

“The plan is to go in there (nationals) and win it and shove it into his (Franzen’s) face,” Linton said.

Linton also expressed concerns for Doane wrestling moving forward.

“That’s it for Doane wrestling honestly, I don’t see the program lasting any longer. He (Franzen) wants the program gone,” Linton said. “It’s all about football now. He is a football coach. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other programs get neglected because of Coach Franzen.”

Linton said that the team has felt neglected from Doane all season. Linton cited examples such as having to roll up mats every day letting the football team use their mats, the temperature not being right in the Fieldhouse for wrestlers and not having their own room.

Linton said this has been a problem for three years, since he arrived at Doane.

Linton said there was a time organized for wrestlers to ask questions about the firing, but he did not show up.

Franzen refused to comment in regards to Linton’s feelings of neglect towards the wrestling program and amount of money put into its facilities.

Linton added that he will be looking to leave Doane, along with other current wrestlers.

“I won’t be here next year, and the building of the team didn’t work already,” Linton said. “Lots of people will be gone next year.”

Linton expressed concern for incoming wrestlers looking to join the program.

“I would advise all incoming freshmen not to come here (Doane) because it is just a waste at this point,” Linton said.

Franzen said that he understood the timing was not ideal. The department realized that, but that they are also trying to balance the recruiting timeline. They felt waiting two more weeks would hurt them in that regard.

Matt Hansen refused to comment on this story.