ATHERTON, Calif. - If ever Menlo College women's wrestling could find a worthy replacement for retiring head coach Lee Allen it may have done just that with the hiring of 2008 Olympian Marcie VanDusen as only the second head coach in program history.
"We are extremely fortunate to hire someone of Marcie's caliber to continue the great tradition left behind by Lee Allen," Menlo College Athletic Director Keith Spataro said. "We are pleased to be the first intercollegiate wrestling program to hire a female head coach and, in doing so, set the trend for many others to follow."
Stepping into the position vacated - and essentially made - by Allen will be anything but easy to do considering his career accomplishments. Allen is a wrestling legend who was a two-time Olympian himself before spending nearly 50 years as a coach and leading the movement to legitimize women's wrestling as a recognized sport. As the leader of the Oaks women's wrestling program since its inception in 2001, Allen coached four national champions and 26 national place-winners. He was also named 2009 Women's College Wrestling Association Coach of the Year.
VanDusen spent eight years as a member of the U.S. National Team, culminating with a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and a ninth-place finish at the Beijing Games. During her stretch on the U.S. National Team, VanDusen was a 2004 World University champion and 2008 World Cup gold medalist, and also represented the U.S. as a member of the 2007 World Team. She is a two-time national champion.
While VanDusen's coaching career is at an early stage, she has been just as successful as a leader off the mat as she was a competitor on it. VanDusen currently coaches the California USA Wrestling women's team which she led to a dominant first-place performance at the National Junior Duals in 2009. She also serves as an instructor at Rim of the World Wrestling Club in her native Lake Arrowhead, Calif., as well as a number of clinics across the country.
"It is an honor to be the next head coach of the women's wrestling program at Menlo College," said VanDusen. "Coach Allen has been an amazing leader in the women's wrestling community for a decade, and I am thankful for all the hard work and dedication he put into building the women's wrestling program."
Within USA Wrestling, VanDusen is a proven leader as a member of the Board of Directors. She has also served on the Executive Committee, Women's Sports Committee, and Athletes Advisory Committee. VanDusen graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2010 with a BA in Geography & Environmental Studies.
In his days as a wrestler, Allen competed for the U.S. National Team at the 1956 Melbourne Games and again at the 1960 Rome Games. He again represented the U.S. at the 1961 FILA World Championships in Yokohama, Japan. Prior to his stint as a member of the national team, Allen was the second four-time state champion (1949-52) in the history of Oregon prep wrestling - never losing a match - and a star at the University of Oregon.
Once Allen hung up his wrestling shoes he continued at the highest levels of wrestling as a coach. Allen served as an assistant coach for the U.S. at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games, and was the head coach of the team which ultimately boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow along with the entire U.S. delegation. He was also the head coach for the 1973 and 1977-79 FILA World Championship teams. In 1998, Allen coached the 1998 Pan Am Games women's team.
Allen's final stop before Menlo was Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif., where he led the men's wrestling program for 32 years while incorporating a women's program later in his tenure. Allen also hosted the first women's wrestling tournament in American history. His career has already been honored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Hall of Fame, and San Mateo County Sports Hall of Fame.
During his time at Menlo, Allen and his family have been a key part of the campus community. Allen's daughters Sara and Katherine Fulp-Allen spent their college careers at Menlo, each winning a pair of national titles while representing the U.S. at international competitions. Both are current members of the U.S. National Team. His wife, Joan Fulp, acted as an assistant coach for the Oaks. Lee and Joan make their home in El Granada.