Simpson Wrestling Camps
A former NCAA Division III national champion and Division I assistant, Nate Hansen enters his fourth season as the head wrestling coach at Simpson in 2015-16.
In 2014-15, Hansen led Simpson to its best dual record in nine seasons. The Storm went 7-11 overall, the most dual wins by the program since 2005-06. He also coached two nationally-ranked wrestlers in Jonathan Melton and Jacob Mize and helped Melton earn all-Iowa Conference honors at the NCAA Central Region Championships.
Hansen comes to Simpson from South Dakota State University, where he spent five seasons as an assistant coach for the Jackrabbits.
“This is really a dream job for me,” said Hansen, who wrestled collegiately at Luther College. “Getting back to the Iowa Conference is a great opportunity for me. It’s a special conference and I want to give the same type of experience I had as a student-athlete to the students at Simpson.”
A native of Gregory, South Dakota, Hansen was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American and the 2007 national champion at 125 pounds for the Norse. He also won the Iowa Conference Championship at 125 in 2007 and was a two-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American. In high school, Hansen was a three-time state champion.
Hansen graduated from Luther in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education before earning a master’s in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from South Dakota State in 2009.
Hired on May 29, 2012, Hansen is the 17th head coach in program history.
Long-time high school, collegiate and international wrestling coach and recruiting specialist Tyler Brandt joins the Simpson wrestling staff for his first season as an assistant in 2015. The veteran coach adds depth and more than 25 years of experience to head coach Nate Hansen’s staff.
Brandt comes to Simpson from Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, where he engineered an impressive turnaround in his four years as head coach. Under Brandt’s leadership, the Warriors became a perennial fixture in the NAIA national rankings, earning a spot in the national poll in 2010, 2011 and 2012. During that time, the Warriors qualified for the national duals three years in a row and secured three nationally-ranked recruiting classes, all program records. He produced 15 All-Americans and tripled the roster size while at Waldorf.
Before taking over at Waldorf, Brandt spent 14 seasons as a high school wrestling coach in Arizona. From 1994-2009 he coached at Seton Catholic, Cesar Chavez, Hamilton and Maricopa High Schools, training 12 state champions and 125 state qualifiers. He was a five-time Arizona Regional Coach of the Year and posted 297 dual meet wins, including five undefeated campaigns. His teams finished in the top five on eight occasions. Brandt served as the Arizona National Teams Coach in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Brandt also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Labette College from 1994-96.
Outside of his coaching career, Brandt is the founder and CEO of 7SecondCoach.com and is the National Recruiting Coordinator for Tudor College Strategies.
Brandt graduated from Iowa State University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He earned his master’s in exercise physiology from Pittsburg State University in 1994 and a post-bachelor’s teaching certification from Ottawa University in 1996. In 2009 he received his Doctorate of Education (EdD) from the University of Phoenix.
Assistant CoachJoe Skow
A former NCAA Division I wrestler and decorated NAIA performer, Joe Skow begins his first season as a graduate assistant wrestling coach at Simpson in 2014.
A native of Jackson, Minn., Skow wrestled collegiately at both NCAA Division I South Dakota State and NAIA Sioux Falls. He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Sioux Falls before transferring to SDSU when Sioux Falls dropped its wrestling program.
At Sioux Falls, Skow was a two-time NAIA national qualifier (2010-11) and won the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championship as a heavyweight in 2010. He compiled 45 career wins in two seasons, setting a school-record with 28 in 2010-11. He was a two-time NAIA all-Academic selection and his 17 career pins are the second-most in school history.
Skow went on to be a two-year starter at SDSU, earning Western Wrestling Conference all-Academic First Team honors twice. He graduated with a degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice in 2013.
As a prep, Skow compiled 88 varsity wins, including 32 as a senior. He qualified for the Minnesota State Tournament as a senior, helping Jackson County Central win the 2008 state title.
Prior to joining Simpson's staff, Skow - a certified Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and USA Wrestling Coach - spent the last year coaching two South Dakota Youth Wrestling Clubs (Brookings Wrestling Association and Crow Creek Tribal School in Stephan, S.D.). He coached 50 AAU state place-winners and 15 state champions in 2014.
Skow is currently pursuing his master's degree in criminal justice.
A two-time Division I All-American and World Cup team member, Kurt Backes begins his second season as an assistant coach for Simpson in 2014-15.
Backes comes to Simpson from the University of Iowa, where he spent three seasons as a volunteer assistant coach. During his time on staff, the Hawkeyes crowned two NCAA champions, 15 All-Americans, four Big Ten champions, and posted a 49-7-1 dual record.
Before Iowa, Backes served as the volunteer assistant coach at Virginia Tech University during the 2009-10 season, and the assistant strength and conditioning wrestling coach at the University of Missouri in 2008-09.
During his collegiate career, Backes was a two-time All-American and Big 12 champion at 184 and 197 pounds for Iowa State (2003-07). He collected 109 wins while competing for the Cyclones, where he was a three-time co-captain (2005-07).
A 2008 men's freestyle Olympic Trials finalist and World Cup team member, Backes won the 2007 U.S. Men's Freestyle title while competing for the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club. He traveled to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as a workout partner and alternate competitor. Backes placed third at the U.S. Open in 2007 and fourth in 2008. He was a member of the 2003 Junior World team, placing fifth at the Junior World Championships. He also served on the USA Wrestling finance committee in 2008-09.
A native of Neshanic Station, N.J., Backes was a three-time national prep and New Jersey state champion for Blair Academy. He graduated from Iowa State in 2007 with a degree in business finance. He and his wife, Amanda, have a son, Jackson.
Assistant CoachKip Fennelly
A collegiate All-American wrestler, Kip Fennelly begins his fourth season as an assistant wrestling coach at Simpson in 2015-16.
Fennelly wrestled at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., collecting 88 career wins. He was an NCAA Division II All-American at 177 pounds and was a two-time Academic All-American. He won two Big South Championships, served as a team captain and climbed as high as No. 4 in the national rankings.
Off the mat, Fennelly was a dean's list honor student and received the University Leadership Award for the 1989-90 school year.
Fennelly owns and operates Custom Solutions Investigations, LLC in Indianola. He and his wife, Gail - who works in the admissions office at Simpson - have two children and reside in Indianola.
A former NCAA Division III national champion and Hall of Famer, Garrett South enters his fifth season as an assistant wrestling coach at Simpson in 2015-16.
South earned a national championship at 165 pounds for Luther as a senior in 2005 and ended his career as a three-time All-American and three-time Iowa Conference champion. He graduated with the second most wins in Luther history, going 128-32. He went 42-5 during his national championship run as a senior, with all five losses coming against Division I wrestlers.
Following his senior year, South earned the prestigious Duan Schroeder IIAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year award. South was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recepient, a three-time NWCA Academic All-American, a three-time Academic All-Conference performer and a two-time CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American.
South, a 2005 graduate of Luther, was inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Wrestling Coaches' Association's Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 14.