Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling
|University||University of Iowa|
|Location||Iowa City, IA|
|Head Coach||Tom Brands (8th year)|
|Colors||Black and Gold
|NCAA Tournament Champions|
|1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010 |
|Conference Tournament Championships|
|1958, 1962, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982 ,1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015|
The University of Iowa wrestling program is one of the most successful athletic programs in NCAA Division I. The University of Iowa Hawkeyes are a member of the Big Ten Conference. Iowa is second in NCAA history with 23 national championships, all of which have come since 1975. Sports Illustrated recently named the Iowa program one of the top sports dynasties of the 20th century.
Wrestling at the University of Iowa began in 1911 when the first head coach, E.G. Schroeder, led the team in a dual against Nebraska. The Hawkeyes competed in the first Big Ten meet in 1926 under the direction of coach Mike Howard. Howard coached Iowa from 1921 until 1952. David McCuskey took over for Howard and coached the team until 1972 when Gary Kurdelmeier began a four season reign where his teams had an impressive 51-7-5 record. Kurdelmeier led the Hawkeyes to their first national championship in his third year as coach.
The great Dan Gable, an assistant under Kurdelmeier for 4 years, began his Iowa dynasty in 1976. He was the Hawkeyes head coach for 16 NCAA Championships and 21 consecutive Big Ten Championships. That included a streak of nine consecutive NCAA Team Championships, starting in 1978 and ending in 1986. It equaled the longest streak of national titles won by any school, in any sport, also held by the Yale golf team (1905–13) and the Southern Cal track team (1935–43). In 1994 the University of North Carolina Women's Soccer team became the most recent addition to this group by winning its ninth straight NCAA championship which was also its 12th of a possible 13 (92%) since 1982 when the NCAA replaced the AIAW in awarding National Champion titles in collegiate Women's Soccer. (The Hawkeyes also set NCAA records for total points (158), victory margin (73.25) and number of national champions (5), and tied the record for most finalists (6) in 1986.
Gable was so confident that his team would win their tenth straight championships that he had the Roman Numeral "X" put on their warm-up jackets to signify the tenth championships they thought they would win. However, they would finish as the runner-up at the 1987 NCAA Championships behind the Iowa State Cyclones, Gable's alma mater.
Gable retired after the 1997 season in which the team broke its own NCAA record for total points with its winning total of 170, and recorded the second-largest victory margin (56.50 points) in NCAA tournament history. The Hawkeyes also crowned five NCAA Champions out of six finalists, both tying NCAA records. Gable finished his Iowa head coaching career with a record of 355-21-5 (.940), 21 consecutive Big Ten Titles, and 16 NCAA Championships.
During Gable’s reign, Iowa had numerous remarkable seasons.
- Iowa had 9 All-American wrestlers in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1992, and 1995.
- Iowa had 9 Big Ten champions in 1983.
- Iowa had 5 national champions in 1986 and 1997.
- Iowa beat Oklahoma State by at least 25 points in five separate dual meets, including a meet on Feb. 9, 1991 at which the Cowboys didn’t win a single match. Only a tied match by All-American Randy Couture prevented the shutout. Iowa won the meet 35-2.
He was replaced by Jim Zalesky, who had wrestled for Gable in the early eighties and had been his top assistant at Iowa for several years. Zalesky picked up right where Gable left off by winning the 1998 Big Ten and National championships. The following season, the Hawkeyes saw their 25-year Big Ten championship streak snapped by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Nevertheless, Iowa was able to recover and defend their national championship. In 2000, Zalesky's Hawkeyes returned to Big Ten championship form and also won their sixth consecutive national title and their third under Zalesky. However, the program would find itself struggling over the next six years, with Iowa winning only one Big Ten title in 2004 and no national championships. The Zalesky era came to an end after the 2005-06 campaign, a season which found the Hawkeyes slipping to fourth place in the final Big Ten tournament standings.
Iowa hired Tom Brands, another former Hawkeye wrestler who had also served as an assistant to Gable. Brands had been head coach at Virginia Tech prior to his return to Iowa City. In Iowa's first season under Brands, they would finish third in the Big Ten championships and eighth at the NCAA championships. The Hawkeyes rapidly returned to the national spotlight during the 2007-08 season, winning their first Big Ten championship in four years and their first NCAA championship in eight years and 21st national title overall. Brent Metcalf and Mark Perry finished as National Champions and finalist Joey Slaton was a runner-up. They repeated as 2009 NCAA champions, despite having no individual champions, with five All-Americans. Brent Metcalf was a finalist and finished second. Ryan Morningstar finished third. Phil Keddy and Dan Erekson finished fourth. Dan Dennis finished seventh. Iowa returned to the NCAA championships with a dominant performance in 2010, having already locked up the team title before the end of the second day of competition. They finished with 3 individual champions, 2 runners-up, and eight overall All-Americans. Matt McDonough won a National Championship as a freshman, while Brent Metcalf and Jay Borschel concluded their senior campaigns with National Championships. Dan Dennis finished second to Jayson Ness, of Minnesota, after losing the lead in the closing seconds of the match. Montell Marion, also, finished second, losing to freshman, and future four-time National Champ, Kyle Dake. Ryan Morningstar and Dan Erekson finished the season in seventh place, and Phil Keddy finished eighth.
Iowa’s 2010 team was one of the most dominant in NCAA history. The team won all of its dual meets. Iowa shut out their opponents in eight of those duals, including Big Ten opponents Michigan, 36-0, Michigan State, 37-0, and Northwestern, 49-0. They also defeated Penn State, 29-6, Minnesota, 28-9, and Ohio State, 32-3.
On Dec 6, 2008 Iowa set the national dual-meet attendance record for wrestling with a crowd of 15,955 against Iowa State University. It was a matchup of the #1 and #2 ranked schools in the country, which Iowa won 20-15.
NCAA team championships
|Year||Coach||NCAA Meet Points||Duals Record (W-L-T)|
|23 NCAA Championships|
Big Ten team championships
Iowa Big Ten Conference team titles: 1958, 1962, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982,1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015
NCAA individual champions
- 125 - Thomas Gilman
- 133 - Cory Clark
- 141 - Josh Dziewa
- 149 - Brandon Sorensen/Brody Grothus
- 157 - Michael Kelly
- 165 - Nick Moore
- 174 - Mike Evans/Alex Meyer
- 184 - Sammy Brooks
- 197 - Nathan Burak
- Hwt. - Bobby Telford
Athletics Hall of Fame