Clarissa Chun was named head coach of the University of Iowa women’s wrestling team on Nov. 18, 2021.
Chun is the first head coach in the history of the program. Iowa announced on Sept. 23, 2021, that it was adding women’s wrestling as an intercollegiate program, becoming the first NCAA Division I, Power Five conference institution to offer the sport.
Chun joins the Iowa women’s wrestling program from USA Wrestling, where she was an assistant coach on the women’s national team from 2017-21. Working on staff with former Hawkeye national champion and women’s national team head coach Terry Steiner, Chun helped lead the United States to 17 World medals, including seven gold, four silver and six bronzes, as well as an Olympic gold, Olympic silver and two Olympic bronzes.
In the United States’ most recent showing at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway, the women’s team won two gold, two silver and three bronze medals, a historic seven-medal performance that led Team USA to a second-place finish.
Prior to being hired at USA Wrestling, Chun was among the most accomplished athletes in international wrestling.
A two-time Olympian, she took fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games before earning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Games, competing at 48 kg. Chun wrestled at five Senior World Championships, which included a gold-medal performance at the 2008 Worlds in Tokyo. She also competed at the 2000, 2009, 2011 and 2012 World Championships.
During her career, Chun won five U.S. Open titles. She was a 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist and won four gold medals at the Pan American Championships. She was a runner-up at four U.S. World Team Trials and three U.S. Opens, in a career which spanned 18 years competing at the Senior level.
Chun competed for Missouri Valley College, where she was a star on one of the pioneer women’s college wrestling team programs. She made the Senior Women’s National Team while still a student at Missouri Valley.
After leaving college, Chun became a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete for many years, but has also trained at Regional Training Centers on college campuses.
Chun has coaching experience at both the international and college levels. She was a member of the men’s wrestling staff at West Virginia University, serving as the program’s Operations Assistant while also training at the Regional Training Center.
Chun was inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in June, 2022. She is one of only four females bestowed Distinguished Member honors. In 2018, Chun was inducted into the Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame, Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, and Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.