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Baylor wrestling coach Ben Nelson directs a player during their prep wrestling match against Bradley Central at Baylor School on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

This story was updated at 5:38 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 2020, with a comment from Baylor athletic director Thad Lepcio.

Ben Nelson stepped down as Baylor's wrestling coach Monday after a decade of overseeing the program. Nelson joined the Red Raiders program in 2008 as an assistant before taking over for the late Jim Morgan in 2010.

Assistant Rex Kendle, who joined the program in 2010, has been chosen to take over as head coach.

"The last 12 years have been amazing, and I have always appreciated the wonderful parent and community support," Nelson said in a school news release. "I know the program is in good hands with the right person directing it forward, or I would not have been in a position to make this decision."

Nelson was the fourth head wrestling coach hired at Baylor since the program's inception in 1949. During his 10 seasons as head coach the Red Raiders compiled a 190-38 record, won three traditional state championships — including this season — and five duals titles and had 43 individual champions, including six this season, which tied a program record.

"Ben is a scientist at heart and wants to pursue something more in line with that field," Baylor athletic director Thad Lepcio said. "He is the consummate teacher-coach. It is not every day that I could hired a coach with a Ph.D in biochemistry who wrestled collegiately at Indiana University.

"While his competitive success is unparalleled, the impact he has had on his students and his athletes is incredible. He has earned the right to be mentioned with other Baylor wrestling legends like Luke Worsham, Schaack Van Deusen and Jim Morgan."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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