Tony Ersland comes to Purdue after serving as an assistant coach at Nebraska for the past eight seasons. While on staff, the Huskers have tallied a 102-41-2 dual record, seven top-20 team finishes at the NCAA Championships and grapplers have earned 17 All-America honors. Ersland, who primarily worked with the upper weights, coached three-time All-American, two-time NCAA finalist and 2009 Big 12 champion and Outstanding Wrestler of the Meet Craig Brester at 197 pounds. He also coached four-time qualifiers in Josh Ihnen (184) and Tucker Lane (285).
During his 17 years, Ersland has played an integral role in developing student-athletes that are accomplished on the mat and nationally recognized. He has had 86 wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships, with 28 earning All-America honors and four finishing at the top of the podium. Two of his pupils, Jordan Burroughs and Jake Herbert, earned the highest honor a collegiate grappler can receive in the Dan Hodge Award. Ersland continued to develop Burroughs on the international stage as he claimed the 2011 and 2013 World titles at 74 kg. In 2012, Burroughs claimed Olympic gold in London.
Prior to his post at Nebraska, Ersland coached the Cyclone Wrestling Club in Ames, Iowa. Ersland worked with Iowa State NCAA champions Trent Paulson (157) and David Zabriskie (285) among other multiple NCAA qualifiers and All-Americans.
His familiarity with the Big Ten extends beyond his time at Nebraska. From 2000-2005, Ersland was the head assistant wrestling coach at Northwestern, and he also served as a coach and board member for the Wildcat Wrestling Club.
He was the head assistant wrestling coach at Northern Illinois in 1999 and 2000 after getting his start as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan from 1997 to 1999.
On the mat, Ersland wrestled for the University of Iowa under legendary coach Dan Gable and was a part of three-straight NCAA team championships (1995-97) and four Big Ten Championships (1994-97). During his senior season in 1997, Ersland finished one match shy of All-America honors at 177 pounds.
The Humboldt, Iowa, native excelled in the classroom as a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and Board of Control Athletics Award winner, and was bestowed with Iowa wrestling's J. Donald McPike Award, given to the senior on the team with the highest grade-point average.
Ersland earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Iowa (1997) and a Master of Arts in athletic administration from Central Michigan (1999).
Ersland and his wife, Carolyn, have twin sons, Mason and Jaxon.