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Cliff Keen is easily one of the most prominent and well-recognized brand names in the wrestling community. The founder, Clifford P. Keen, moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1925 to attend Law School and launch the Michigan Wolverines Wrestling Program as part of the Big Ten Conference. He coached the Wolverines for 42 years, making Michigan University one of the most prominent wrestling programs in the country. His tenure there stands as the longest of any college wrestling coach in history. He led the team to 13 Big Ten Conference championships, and 24 top-10 NCAA finishes. Cliff also was on the Michigan coaching staff for 33 years; what a renaissance man. Cliff Keen was very influential in developing and growing the sport of wrestling across the United States.
One could write a book about Cliff Keen’s great life accomplishments, in fact, someone already has. However, the accomplishment we are most interested in is when he founded Cliff Keen Athletic in 1958 to sell and promote his new invention: The Cliff Keen Signature headgear. Until then, wrestling headgear was very minimal in design and not so widely used. Cliff Keen’s new design utilized a hard aluminum shell (now they use hard plastic), covered in a soft foam. It’s the same design that remains the most popular headgear on the market. For anyone who has wrestled a few years or more, it is probably difficult to think of wrestling, without also thinking of an old battle-worn pair of Cliff Keen headgear.
Since its inception, Cliff Keen Athletic has, of course, expanded its product line to other types of headgear, as well as a wide range of wrestling gear including singlets, warm-ups, training gear, referee gear, and even gear for other sports such as baseball, basketball, football, and lacrosse. The Cliff Keen brand is almost unanimously regarded as the industry standard for quality when it comes to wrestling gear. To this day, it remains the most trusted brand for the majority of top Division I college wrestling programs. Each year, Cliff Keen hosts the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational, bringing many of these top teams under one roof to compete in one of the toughest college tournaments outside of the NCAA Championships.
Many of their uniform designs have become part of wrestling culture itself. Even though Iowa University has recently updated their singlets, anyone can refer to the “Iowa style singlet” and, for most seasoned wrestlers, an image comes to mind of a black Cliff Keen singlet with IOWA in gold on the left leg and gold striped leg trim. Like their headgear, Cliff Keen has continued to innovate and improve their singlets, remaining the leaders in creating top quality gear for wrestling’s toughest competitors.
In addition to supporting many collegiate programs, Cliff Keen also sponsors several top international competitors. A few of their top athletes are Olympians Daniel Dennis and Tervel Dlagnev, and World Team members Victoria Anthony and Jimmy Kennedy. Other top CK athletes include NCAA Champions Brent Metcalf, Jake Herbert, and Kellen Russell, as well as All-Americans Andrew Howe, BJ Futrell, and J.T. Felix.
Go ahead. Step your wrestling gear game up with Cliff Keen and compete with the best of the best. If you have any questions about ordering Cliff Keen wrestling gear for yourself or your team, please give us a call at 888-887-8893 or email support@WrestlingMart.com.
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