Former Blue Devil standout Jacob Kasper joined the Duke wrestling coaching staff in the fall of 2018. Kasper will serve as an assistant coach and will work closely with the upper weights as well recruiting for the program.
“I’m excited to have him join our staff,” said Lanham. “I think this is the first time in the program’s history we’ve had someone as decorated as him coming back to be a part of the coaching staff. He’s going to add a youth and an excitement to our program. Whatever Kasper does, he’s passionate about and that will spill over into coaching. He’s already had some great ideas. I’m excited to see him as a coach.”
A two-time All-American at heavyweight and the Duke single-season wins record holder, Kasper joins the staff after one of the most decorated careers in Blue Devil wrestling history. The Ohio native graduated in May after finishing a career-best fourth at the NCAA Championships to earn his second consecutive All-America honor.
“To say I am excited to be coaching my former teammates as well as the freshmen would be an understatement,” said Kasper. “I owe so much of who I am to the Duke wrestling team and staff and I hope I can impart many of those lessons I learned to the current team. I truly believe Duke wrestling is on the cusp of a huge breakthrough and will have more record-breaking moments this year and every year after and I’m thrilled to be a small piece of it.”
A native of Lexington, Ohio, Kasper competed at 184 pounds his first two seasons, qualifying for the NCAA Championships as a sophomore. With one year of starting under his belt, Kasper took home runner-up honors at the ACC Championships in his second season and finished with a 24-12 overall record.
After taking a redshirt season in 2015-16, Kasper worked tirelessly on putting on weight to bump up to heavyweight where he excelled. His work ethic and will to succeed was unmatched as he marched his way onto the national wrestling scene in January 2017 when he became the first wrestler in Duke history to win the Southern Scuffle title, which he would do again in 2018.
As a redshirt junior, Kasper posted a 30-6 overall record and earned his first All-America award with a sixth-place showing at the NCAA Championships. Five of his six losses came against top 20 foes as he became one of 13 Blue Devils in program history to amass 30 wins in a season.
The two-year captain saved his best year for last, repeating as Southern Scuffle Champion, winning his first ACC title and taking fourth at the NCAA Championships just miles from his hometown in Ohio. Along the way, he eclipsed the Duke single-season wins mark with a 38-4 overall record. For his career, Kasper posted a 107-38 overall record and is the lone Duke wrestler to win a Southern Scuffle crown.
Kasper resides in Durham and also will remain a member of the Wolfpack RTC where he trains with some of the best wrestlers in the country.