Former Stanford All-American Chris Horpel (pronounced hor-PELL) is now in his second season as the Director of Stanford Wrestling after serving as head coach for 23 seasons. In that time, he produced seven NCAA Division I All-Americans, ten Pacific-10 Conference champions and qualified Stanford wrestlers to the NCAAs in all but one season.
While an undergraduate at Stanford, Horpel was an All-American who twice placed in the top eight in the NCAA Championships (fifth as a junior and seventh as a senior). In addition, Horpel won the 1975 Pacific-8 Conference title at 150 pounds and later represented the United States in Montreal at the Pre-Olympic World Tournament in Greco-Roman, placing fifth at 149.5 pounds. The following year, Horpel again went to Montreal as the first alternate on the 1976 United States Olympic Team.
Known as a pinner, Horpel still holds the Stanford career (56) and season (18) pin records. Also a pinner in high school, he recorded an undefeated season in 1970 at Newport Harbor High School in Southern California and set the national high school pin record by pinning 34 of 36 opponents.
Horpel began his coaching career as the assistant coach at Stanford (1975-76) while training for the '76 Olympics. After the Montreal Olympiad, he was assistant coach at Palo Alto High School (1976-77), head coach at Gunn High School (1977-78), and assistant coach at UCLA (1978-79). In 1979-80 Horpel was named the head coach at Stanford and has remained on the Farm ever since.
Horpel studied Art and Architecture while an undergraduate at Stanford. Rather than pursue a career in Architecture, Horpel chose to teach and coach and went to San Jose State to do his graduate work. He went on to teach drafting and photography at Palo Alto and Gunn High Schools. In his 24 years on the Farm, coach Horpel achieved three impressive goals: 1) he has made Stanford wrestling competitive nationally, 2) he has enabled Stanford's wrestling program to be financially self-sufficient, and 3) he made Stanford one of the top two academic wrestling teams in the US (Stanford's team GPA has averaged between a 3.2 and 3.4 every year).
In addition to his new position at Stanford, Horpel also serves as the head coach of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club (DSWC). Stanford University is one of the club's primary training sites and maintains a club team year-round.
Horpel is also a member of USA Wrestling’s national coaching staff, having coached 10 international teams in freestyle and Greco-Roman, including two Pan American freestyle teams. He is currently serving as Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s World Team. His primary focus as the director of wrestling is the promotion and longevity of wrestling at Stanford University.