After an injury- and illness-plagued season more than 500 miles from home, Cole Nye was looking to get a fresh start with an up-and-coming program where his family could come see him on a regular basis.
For him, Pitt was the perfect fit.
The two-time PIAA 2A champion from Bishop McDevitt said Wednesday that he is transferring from Michigan State to Pitt.
“I didn’t like being so far from home,” the 197-pounder said. “It’s really important to me to have that family support system, and I didn’t get to have them come to many matches.”
Rather than being eight hours from home, as he was at Michigan State, it’ll be just a three-hour drive to the Oakland campus.
‘Moving in the right direction’
Of course, location wasn’t the only factor in his decision. The hire of Keith Gavin as head coach last offseason, which happened after Nye had committed to Michigan State, played a role as well.
“With Coach Gavin taking over the program last year, they’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Nye said. “I think it’s going in a good direction. They have a great staff, and they’re committed to try to make the program a powerhouse. That’s something I want to be involved in. That’s the culture I want to be a part of. It’s exciting to know that there are people that have high goals and everyone can reach them together.”
Nye is taking classes at a community college and should have four years of eligibility remaining after redshirting at Michigan State. Right now, he’s more focused on making the grade in the classroom than on the mat.
“The biggest thing going in is to get everything under control academically, get used to a new environment,” he said. “I plan on getting into the business school there. We’ll see how things shake out. If I get in the lineup, I get in the lineup.”
Just staying on the mat was a struggle at times for Nye last season, when he went 9-7 in open tournaments. He said he tore his meniscus in the first event. He tried to wrestle with a big, bulky brace before eventually having surgery. He also contracted mononucleosis, which sidelined him for six weeks.
Nye said he’s 100 percent now, and excited to get to Pitt.
“I’m looking to stay healthy and hit the room in the fall and see how much I can improve,” he said.
Kellan Stout – a transfer from Penn State – was the starter for Pitt at 197 last season, but struggled to a 4-16 record.
Nye, who won his state titles at 220 pounds, wrestled heavyweight at the Storm Open in Erie last season, but said that was a one-time experiment and that he’s comfortable at 197.
“I feel good there,” he said. “It’s not very hard to make when you’re there every day. Lifting hard in preseason will put some weight on you and then you have to cut it back down.”