Cael Sanderson, fielding media questions Monday about his surprise move to leave Iowa State and become new wrestling coach at Penn State, was asked if there were any "non-wrestling" reasons.
"Well, I've heard that there's great ice cream around here," Sanderson said at press conference, which was open to the public and drew about 500 students and fans to Rec Hall on the Penn State campus.
At the nearby Penn State Creamery, one of the popular ice cream flavors is Peachy Paterno.
Sanderson was joking about that being a factor in his departure from Iowa State, where he went 159-0 as a college wrestler and coached teams the past three seasons that went 44-10 in duals meets and placed no lower than fifth at the NCAA finals.
So what brought him East?
The Centre Daily Times of State College, Pa., reports Sanderson had an annual base salary of $137,000 at Iowa State and that he now will become the "highest paid coach in college wrestling history."
Sanderson said it wasn't money.
"It's not anything about the finances. It's about just the unique situation that Penn State wrestling has," said the 2004 Olympic gold medalist.
Pennsylvania (like neighboring Ohio and New Jersey) is a hotbed of high school wrestling.
Each year, 80 college wrestlers earn All-American status, eight in each of 10 weight class. This spring, 11 wrestlers with Pennsylvania high school roots made All-American, including two national champions, according to Pennsylvania Wrestling Newsmagazine.
But just one of those 11 wrestled for Penn State. Sanderson's challenge will be to bring the top talents to Penn State.
"Pennsylvania has the best high school wrestling in the country," he said, drawing a cheer from fans.
"Or it's second to Utah, I guess," quipped the four-time Utah high school champ.
Yet Iowa is also rich in wrestling tradition, and it has carried over from high schools to colleges.
The University of Iowa has won 22 NCAA team titles, including the past two. Iowa State has won eight NCAA team titles, but none since 1987.
Sanderson takes over a Penn State program that won its only NCAA team title in 1953. It was 17th last season under coach Troy Sunderland, who resigned.
"My plans are big and my vision is big and it's just a matter of getting it done," said Sanderson.
Now instead of being an intrastate rival, Iowa will be his Big Ten rival as he leaves the Big 12.
"My goal is to compete for the national championship every year," said Sanderson.
En route to a third-place finish in the NCAAs last season, Iowa State was led by an assortment of talented juniors. They included Jake Varner, the NCAA champ at 197 pounds, and Sanderson's brother Cyler (157 pounds).
So Sanderson is leaving a team with a shot at the national title next season.
"The easy thing obviously would have been to stay where I was, and I think I would have had great success there, but I think we can have great success here as well," he said.
He will be joined at Penn State by his two Iowa State assistants: his brother Cody and Casey Cunningham.
When Terry Brands left Virginia Tech in 2006 to coach at his alma mater, Iowa, five of his top-notch Virginia Tech wrestlers transferred to Iowa. Might some Iowa State stars transfer to Penn State?
"They're going to try to stay. I think it's important that they stick together," said Sanderson. " ? We have a great junior class at Iowa State, and I think it's important that they stick together and finish out what they stated."
But he added, "I'm not sure 100% what's going to happen in that area."
Penn State has an endorsement deal with Nike. Sanderson has a deal with Asics wrestling shoes; one of its models is the Asics Cael).
No problem, said Tim Curley, Penn State director of athletics.
"We've been able to work out and arrangement that will accommodate both, and we've put ourselves in a position that Cael will be able to honor his commitments he's made, and we'll be able to do the same," said Curley.
Can Sanderson succeed enough at Penn State to merit an ice cream bearing his name, like Joe Paterno?
"My goal is always to win," he said.