Monday, March 06, 2006

New Era for Iowa State Wrestling Championships

Lots of opinions on the new site (Wells Fargo Arena) for the State Wrestling Championships. The bottom line is it's still a great event, in fact – even better than great – the best!

With that said…the North prime seats need a mat adjustment for viewing the entire mat in the early rounds. The warm-up areas could use a little work to help decrease the congestion of the athletes and coaches match preparations.

To another point…It was quite an honor to be one of the Grand Marshals in this new arena and thanks for the booming applause for all involved.

Congratulations to all involved: coaches, athletes, administrators, workers, media and fans for another great championship tournament. Hopefully for those staying home, the TV coverage was really exciting as well. Again, thanks to Lashier, Wulkow, Beste, Thompson, Gibbons, etc, etc, etc, for continuing to make this a spectacular event.

Next I attended the NCWA National Wrestling Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For those unfamiliar with the NCWA it's the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. This group was founded by Jim Guinta to provide opportunity for the student wrestling athletes to compete in a national championship season at college, especially those that don't offer college wrestling at the NCAA or NAIA level. The number of teams that are members is at 140. It would be great to add this 140 back into the NCAA or NAIA level. Keep working to do so! Congrats to Dave Mills and his coaches at Grand Valley State for winning the championship! It was great to see teams from the Southern states, and there were several.

I spoke with coaches and helped lead the athletes in their opening ceremonies. The brackets were 32-person pairings and almost all were filled. They also had to qualify through several regionals to get there. Mark Ironside went with me and put on a wrestling clinic for the local youth clubs.

From Grand Rapids, Mark and I drove to Bloomington, Indiana for the Big Ten Wrestling Championships. Mark did the radio along with Morrie Adams for KXIC in Iowa City. I actually joined them for some of the broadcasts. We didn't have a lot of great highlights and results for the listeners. Hopefully we will at the NCAAs! A couple of the wrestlers especially Alex Tsirtsis and Eric Luedke seem to be making peaking progress.

Minnesota and Illinois battled it out with Minnesota staying tough the entire tournament so they were the winners. Michigan still is in the hunt, but had a set back or two. The Big Ten should battle Okie State for the NCAA title. Central Michigan is still staying in the battle as well. We need the home state in the hunt!

Getting ready for the NCAAs in Oklahoma City….Doing a few interviews with Oklahoma newspapers…will be broadcasting a USA work-out for the public between sessions on Thursday…attending WIN memorabilia show on Friday between sessions (72 Olympic Reunion) …Saturday after All American Round USAW board meeting. Too busy! The NCAAs should be exciting!

Friday, February 24, 2006

IPTV, IWIM, Arizona, State Tourney, etc.

In case you don’t know what these abbreviations are, they stand for Iowa Public Television and the International Wrestling Institute and Museum.

The second and third weeks of February were spent doing a lot of work for both of these entities. Went to the State Capitol in Des Moines to meet with state legislators to promote IPTV and their programs. Of course, my main tie is with the College Wrestling Series that has been popular for three decades. Jim Gibbons also attended and helped meet and greet. It seems to me their programming has lost state funding and should start going back up soon. I know play-by-play analyst Tim Johnson is probably going into his own pocket to help make ends meet. Great turnout at the Capitol so hopefully things are looking up.

We did broadcast matches with Iowa vs. Illinois and ISU vs. Missouri. Good matches, but not for the home state. But, no more duals, only tourneys, so hopefully things will pick up.

Back and forth to Waterloo helping to promote IWIMs plan to move. Definitely a strong showing by Waterloo, but they have to finish strong to get it done.

Speaking of strength, Wartburg Wrestling had eight champions in the strong Iowa Conference! Congrats Jimmy Miller…but remember, the season isn’t over yet!

Coach Greg Randall (former Iowa 4x State Champion and 3x UI All-American) visited Iowa City with his Boise State wrestling team. They had a respectable showing, but lost to Coach Zalesky’s Hawkeyes.

My wife Kathy and our daughter Mackenzie and I travelled to Phoenix to visit our friends Bob and Patti Altmaier. We stayed in their home in Red Mountain Ranch. What a blast – weather was good, food was great, companionship was even greater. Thanks Altmaiers! Bob and I actually witnessed Coach Blevins’ UI Softball team take on Arizona State. Coach Blevins is one of the most successful and respected coaches across the country and she reaffirmed it to me. After losing to ASU she came up to me and said that she wished that I had seen a game where the Hawks had performed a little better, almost apologizing. It wasn’t needed or expected, but much appreciated. Striving to be the best is always appreciated, especially by me.

Yes, striving to be the best is what is happening this week in the new Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines and at arenas all across the country. Many new state wrestling champions will be crowned. This event is one of my favorites, and not just because of all the participants and the fans. It’s an emotional roller coaster and I’ll cheer and cry as well. The new Hall of Pride is also on display and I love seeing everyone get a chance to spend some time reminiscing and others getting motivated for the future.

Oh, by the way, myself and 4 others, Jeff McGuiness, Eric Juergens, Dan Knight and Jeff Kerber are Grand Marshalls at this years state tournament finals. Quite an honor especially since the other four had more difficult requirements doing what they did – going undefeated for four years!

What's to come? Besides the state tourney, Mark Ironside and I are going to make a trip to the NCWA Wrestling Nationals at Grand Valley State right before attending the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, IN.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

An Update

My wife Kathy and I took our daughter Mackenzie to visit Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. It's a possibility she will attend and play soccer there starting in the fall. I think Mackie was very interested. We’ll see…

Spoke to a group of Wilton High School students at the Bandag Learning Center in Muscatine about leadership. I talked about two of their former students, Alex Grunder and Chad Beatty (both wrestlers at Iowa) to give them a personal touch.

The wrestling weekend that included two Iowa losses against Penn State and Michigan State didn’t fare so well, but the Big 10 duals all over the conference were kind of wild!

I met with New York Governor George Pataki at an event for Congressman Jim Leach. George was best man in my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding way back.

My daughter Jenni and her husband Brian had another son, Jake Brian Mitchell, on Sunday, Feb. 5. He will be in a weight class that helps fill out the existing Gable Grandson roster. The current weight classes are Gable Robert Mitchell at 26 lbs
Danny Ryan Gavin at 21 lbs and Jake at 8 lbs 6.5 oz.

Coming up -- A Big Week!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

What's Bad and Good in Wrestling Right Now?

What's Bad?

I'm continuing to promote wrestling, but there have been a couple of set backs as of late...hopefully only temporarily! Slippery Rock (PA) University dropped eight sports – c’mon, that’s unheard of! In wrestling this is one of the areas in the whole country that our sport is the most popular. The president of USA Wrestling, who deals with WORLD wrestling (150 countries), is a 2x NCAA Champion, World Champion and Olympic Medalist is a graduate of Slippery Rock!. Of course, this is Stan Dziedzic. You take the wrestling away from Slippery Rock and its identity and exposure goes backward. That’s not good!

The second negative issue deals with the athletic “interest survey” that helps Colleges and Universities know when they have and are meeting people’s interests on college campuses. This survey is in effect and some are trying to take it away. With the way interpretations are being used to meet guidelines, the interest survey is good when done properly.

We can’t stop looking over our shoulder, for someone is there at all times and sometimes they are out at all cost! Enough of that bull!

What’s Good?

Todd Connors new wrestling show – Wrestling in Iowa premiered Sunday, Jan. 5 for 30 minutes on PAX-TV. He has two more shows in March and April.

Waterloo, Iowa is continuing to step up to move the Newton Wrestling Museum to further enhance our sport and its history for the future.

The NCAA Wrestling Championship race is widening with Oklahoma State no longer the lead runner. With the championships in Oklahoma City, things are beginning to look interesting.

A candidate for the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mark Leonard is a former wrestler who met with me recently. I was impressed with our visit.

US athletes dominated the Dave Schultz International tournament recently. What’s up with that and why do our performances change when we go overseas? I have my opinions.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What I’ve been up to lately

After the Duals, I moved on to Minneapolis for several events, the first being a talk before the Minnesota Timberwolves game. US Bank sponsored speeches for a few of the T-wolves games and I did one of them. Pretty small group, but I especially enjoyed a local company. Its employees were well updated on my past. I think they were trying to set a milestone of numerous years of record performances, something we just missed with “X”. Hopefully they will make the mark.

I next addressed the Iowa-Minnesota crowd before the meet (almost 7,000 attended). Enjoyed that, for my wrestling history has several past associations with Williams Arena. It goes back to wrestling my first match in college on that floor to coaching my first event there as well. It also entails training for the Olympics for 6 weeks on the elevated floor, not to mention wrestling Chris Taylor, Ben and John Peterson, Rick Sanders, Wayne Wells, etc. during this camp. Of course I have to mention the head coach, Bill Farrell as well for he taught me a step-over counter to a single-leg there as well. So what I am doing is giving Bill the credit for me going unscored upon at the Olympics. Why? Because late in my final Gold Medal match the Russian was in on my leg and I stepped over his head and kicked out for no points -- that kept me unscored upon. Thanks Bill! Lastly, and there are actually more, Williams Arena is where I shot out of the stands and somehow jumped upon the floor with crutches and made a spectacle out of myself on a referee's call that seemed to help the team to victory during my last Big Ten Tournament as the UI coach.

Next was the Iowa-Minnesota match and I'll move on from there.

I did miss the ISU vs. UNI match for IPTV, but Tim Johnson and Jim Gibbons are very capable so enough said as well.

Moved on to Waterloo and met a few folks along with Bob Buckley to help secure the Institute and Museum move. People are stepping up – Wow!

Spoke in Anamosa at a Chamber engagement to a local group of business people at the City Limits Restaurant. Felt it went well!

The Iowa Wrestling team won at home against Purdue and the next day I attended the Big Boy Toy Show in Dubuque. I was a special guest and had to compete with Four Miller Lite models. That was a tussle, but there were a few die-hards that chose me over them. It actually was a good time and I stayed busy all day with one person or another.

Lastly, I listened to the Iowa-Indiana wrestling match on the radio and I was happy to hear that all 4 All-Americans came through with victories and the team won as well.

Before I end, my tip is this

To help our sport, coaches need to coach their athletes to perform aggressively (yet not at the expense of losing) and athletes need to do exactly that. And when it’s not happening – the referees need to step in and make it happen with their calls. I’ve actually seen some good matches lately and they were all good matches because of this philosophy.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Cliff Keen NWCA Duals Jan. 14-15

A success! A good start for UNI especially if the contract is extended and I feel it probably needs to.

With probable move of the International Wrestling Institute and Museum to Waterloo this connection could make both situations enhanced.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The world according to Gable is busy

This article, written by Kevin Evans appeared in the Waterloo Courier on Fri. Jan. 13, 2006.

Dan Gable gives new meaning to the word retired.

About the only thing he doesn’t do now days is coach the Iowa wrestling team.

Wrestling is still his life and there isn’t a lot of down time in his schedule.

He was in Waterloo last Saturday at the “Dan Gable Invitational” at West, then on to Cornell in Mount Vernon to do radio for a wrestling meet there.

At night he was in Carver-Hawkeye Arena doing work for IPTV. That was followed by a social with IPTV donors.

Monday he was off to see an old friend, author John Irving. It was a business trip to Vermont.

Irving is the main man in writing a script for a movie about Gable.

Irving has written such novels as “The World According to Garp”, “The Hotel New Hampshire”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “The Fourth Hand.”

He was an outstanding prep wrestler, and he made a cameo appearance as a wrestling official in the movie version of “Garp,” which starred Robin Williams.

Gable spent two days there going over things with Irving and other writers, but says things are “so far away, it is a work in progress.”

All he would say about the script it is covers Gable from age seven to 48, when he quit coaching.

“It is not put together yet, but I would probably say it is a family story that actually teaches a lot that would be good for people to watch,” he said. “We never have enough of that.”

Others made movies that failed at the box office, so Gable knows it is a long shot.

“It is just too far off to be a reality,” he said. “There is no need to get fired up about it. They say if you’ve got 100 scripts, only two percent come to fruition. The only difference from the past is the people behind this have more credentials and are very serious about it.”

Gable and Irving met when Gable first went to Iowa and Irving was in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

“He wanted to work out, to wrestle,” said Gable. “I was scared to turn him loose (in the wrestling room), so I wrestled him. He wanted to prove himself. We probably wrestled 30 times.

“The next thing I know he’s on the cover of Time magazine.”

His two-day trip to Vermont was his first chance to see that state.

“I have seen ‘White Christmas’ before, and it was just like mas’ before, and it was just like that,” said Gable.

Around a schedule like that, he has more than a casual eye on the potential move of the International Wrestling Institute and Museum from Newton to Waterloo and being renamed for him.

He admits he was a little skeptical about the chances of the move when it was first announced in October.

Since that time a lot has happened.

“I’m making a lot more trips there and talking to a lot of people,” said the former Waterloo West state champion. “I’ve got some more of that to do tomorrow.

“I think it has progressed pretty well. It is not as easy as some people might think to go out and raise money. But there are some good people there.”

The original goal was to raise $750,000 to help get the museum moved into a city-owned building at 303 Jefferson Street. Some of that will come from in-kind contributions, but that is still pretty much the dollar amount needed.

“You’ve got to work for it,” said Gable. “It is just like anything else. You can’t be a good wrestler by just showing up on the day of the match and winning. You can’t put something together unless you have a good plan. Plans have to be adjusted and re-adjusted. We had to have meetings, there are a lot of things.”

No doubt those folks charged with putting things together are learning what it was like in Iowa’s practice room when Gable was coaching. He’s not about to leave any stone unturned.

“It is important for me to make it a success,” said Gable. “If we don’t do it right we don’t want to do it.”

Gable has not only spent time in meetings planning the whole thing, he’s met with people in person and spent hours on the phone trying to raise the money.

“I am fairly optimistic right now,” he said. “More than before. When we first started I probably wasn’t, and even after that first meeting ... that probably tipped me a little bit.

“But it took me three or four meetings before I walked out and said ‘this might happen.’”

Gable will be back in town this weekend for the National Duals and, no doubt, more meetings.

But on his way he has to stop at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a tournament named after him. He helped save their wrestling program from being eliminated, and as a thank you a tournament was named for him.

Coaching?

No.

Retired?

Hardly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dorset, Vermont

David Gould, a local I.C. resident and UI faculty member, and I headed to Dorset, Vermont to visit John Irving, John Hyams and Jon Greenhalgh. David Gould, a few years back, produced a documentary about me called Freestyle. You should know Irving; he's a famous novelist and Academy Award winner. Hyams and Greenhalgh are writers and producers themselves and are not as famous, but close. Anyway, we visited these guys at Irving’s home and went over a potential movie script for the future. Irving's assistant, Alyssa, also very knowledgeable in this area, was present as well. Mrs. Irving (Janet) and their 14-year-old son (Everett) were also around somewhat, but both were extremely busy with a schedule that helps make one successful.

We met for a couple of hours, had a very good work-out and then dined and continued our conversations concerning matters of the script. The next day we proceeded with similar discussions. Wow - all these people are good! I was (most of the time) lost, but helped with a few items of importance. The information and direction of this meeting was a "meeting of the minds." It flowed well and details were put in place. It reminded me of a puzzle that keeps getting closer to completion and meaning.

Had lunch and another short meeting before hitting the wrestling room and sauna again. John Irving actually taught me a couple of new tricks during the work-out. David Gould also participated in the work-outs, but the other Jon & John backed off this. I think they remember the Lansing, Iowa "Wrestler's Hill" that I coached them up in the past. They looked pretty good anyway so I'm sure they are doing their own routines somewhere and somehow.

David and I took a car service from the airport to John's house and then the same for the return. The owner and driver was a big Patriots fan and loved the fact that Tim Dwight and Stephen Neal are known well by us. I fell asleep on these drives, but David and the driver (another David) had continual conversations. The overall trip was impressive. Janet's and John's home (where we stayed) was right out of a movie as well as the Inn we had dinner at. I felt a little like I was in the movie White Christmas with all of its charm.

Back to the real world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Gable Blogs's New Year's Resolution

In honor of the New Year, we at Gable Blog have created a resolution: to bring you a more comprehensive, up-to-date, and informative blog!

We want to continue giving you insight into Coach Gable's thoughts and travels, but we also want to give you more tidbits, articles and information that pertain to wrestling, family, and (of course) Dan Gable himself.

Thanks for reading this blog and please feel free to share your comments! Here's to 2006!

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Day of Wrestling – Sat. Jan. 7

Started off visiting my H.S. Alma Mater – West Waterloo where a tournament (Wahawk, Dan Gable Tournament) was going on in full steam with 10 good teams. Athletic Director Jeff Frost was busy making this event a good one. Visited with Coach Bob Siddens (my coach from high school as well as many others who gave him all the credit. He still holds the records!

Next I was off to Cornell College in Mt. Vernon where Takedown Radio (Scott Casber) was broadcasting the tournament. Good wrestling going on and I think Cornell might have won its own tournament for the first time in its 28-year history (UPDATE – unfortunately, Cornell finished 2nd behind St. John’s University of Minnesota).

Ended up back home in I.C. doing the IPTV broadcast of the Iowa – Oklahoma State dual. Quite a dual - - both coaches should have learned a lot based on what I witnessed!

The coaches must thank the official (Mike Exline) for making this event a good showcase. Why? Because he kept the matches moving forward at all time, which gave both coaches a chance to observe situations usually not witnessed. Lots of time to adjust or to make improvements, but these ‘spectacles" usually don’t happen, so it was a pretty good environment.

FILA (international wrestling) should take notice for it’s amazing what stalling calls can do to bring out the best or the worst in someone.

Next – onto Vermont, Oshkosh, and UNI for the National Duals.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Pushing 40 Midlands

That’s about how many I have attended…and they just don’t get old! Ken Kraft keeps making them interesting and noteworthy. New categories of Fame and other exciting events take place annually. This year Kyle Maynard and Mike Chapman had new books they were signing and offering before the semis. I attended as well with my Coaching Wrestling Successfully book. Kyle’s book No Excuses is great reading for anyone and Mike’s book Wrestling Tough gives great insight into many great performers in several sports, but a lot with wrestling.

The Midland’s wrestling was good and especially the finals matches at 141 and 157. What was intriguing was both winners here seemed to get out-wrestled, but both found a way to win, one way or another. Congratulations to Illinois and Central Michigan for finishing 1 & 2. Many teams were without some of their top performers, but like Kyle Maynard’s book, No Excuses, not having top performers is not a factor and if it is -- then it’s an excuse and remember there are no excuses! Better luck next time, but I don’t believe in luck…so forget that as well.

Anyway, part of peaking is having everyone ready and that’s yet to come, so obviously the best is yet to happen! That’s for ALL, unless one peaks too early, but there are too many good coaches out there to let this happen. It should be a battle and that will make many excited, yet only a few will be happy.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Family & Florida

Third daughter – third college graduate. Molly Gable just recently graduated from the U of Iowa. She was also a swimmer for Iowa under Coach Marc Long for her four years. Great experience – but now onto the real world. Well, maybe not yet…but coming up!

Watched Mike Duroe’s team at Cornell work out. Mike is doing a good job with their group.

Florida – Onto Naples to visit with President and Vice President of FILA – our international wrestling governing body. President Martinetti of Switzerland has a vacation home in Naples and Vice President Saletnig (formerly of Montreal) has his permanent residence now in Naples. Rich Bender (Executive Director of USA Wrestling). Stan Dziedzic (President of USA Wrestling), Rick Tucci (FILA Official Representative) and I were in attendance with these guys. We mostly had a roundtable discussion and after that went to dinner where the roundtable talk continued. It was very much worth my time, for I left with several impressions and much-needed information.

We need work and enhancement on our Olympic product and efforts, for we in wrestling have so much potential that we haven’t even captured yet.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Iowa Public Television & NWCA Duals

The kick off of IPTV season was Iowa at ISU. Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and I are again doing the broadcasting. Pretty good meet to start the season off and it was also the main fundraiser for the College Broadcast season. Anyone still interested in helping this broadcast continue can send donations to Pat Rowan, IPTV, 6450 Corporate Dr., Johnston, Iowa 50131. (515)242-3138. The wrestling was good especially for the U of Iowa and Coach Zalesky and the fundraiser went better than last year! Thanks!

Bad weather kept me from going to Chicago and the inductions into the US Olympic Hall of Fame. We need to change the way athletes get into this Hall for wrestling has some athletes worthy of this induction.

Another IPTV match, Wisconsin (Barry Davis, Bart Chelesvig) & UNI (Brad Penrith) went at it with the Badgers coming out the winners. John and Nancy Peterson’s son Josh started the meet off with a victory for Wisconsin. One of our two F.S. medals was on the sidelines for the Panthers – Tolly Thompson. I can’t forget the other assistants from UNI in Randy Pugh and Jose Deanda, both former Iowa prep wrestlers.

Forgot one other event I attended and that was the UNI tournament at the UNI-Done. I went there mostly to meet with some people who are promoting the upcoming NWCA National Duals on Jan. 14-15. Eighty teams will be attending. Hopefully this venue will become a permanent site for this event. The NWCA will definitely need some big-time help with sponsors and volunteers to make this happen.

By the way, the IWIM in Newton, Iowa is looking to upgrade and the Waterloo area has shown significant interest. The NWCA Duals and this Wrestling Institute and Museum would make for a good match-up for the future. Looking forward to this pursuit.

Next – Family & Florida

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Boston, Mass. & Providence, R.I.

The NWCA & USA Massachusetts offered a free wrestling clinic and Pablo and I were the teachers. Another great turn-out – hundreds! Besides young wrestlers, a few ultimate fighters/submission wrestlers attended the event. I was surprised at how they absorbed the information.

The next day I did a speech to the Harvard Athletic staff. I was a little bit in awe for Harvard is a pretty big name in the world of famous places. I handled it and I really enjoyed seeing Coach Jay Weiss’s facilities and set-up for wrestling. Coach Weiss has some impressive assistants in Teague Moore and Jared Frayer.

Before heading home I stopped by Roger Williams College in Bristol, R.I. to visit with Coach Kemmy and his team. Coach Kemmy, being the SID, an Asst. AD and wrestling coach takes pretty good care of this team of grapplers. This says something about being in influential positions. Probably need more just like it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What “Blog” Means to Me

I’ve been writing quite a few of these even though I have been delinquent lately. But, what actually is blog? My thinking is thi: often the messages in one’s blog are difficult for some to understand, yet others can figure it out. Remember this message or information doesn’t have to be the rule or even the correct message or information outside of the blog. If you understand that last sentence then you are on my wave length. If not, then reread, simply guess, or just be confused. This is okay, for this is what a blog is for. Being interesting, having entertainment and making one think about the content makes for a good blog.

I’m basically saying that what I put in the blog could be different than what I represent on the outside. The outside could be a representation of a committee or a board I’m on, holding the majority. The blog is just me (and maybe others). Which is the better (if different)? I hope the blog.

So much for this.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Where Have I Been?

Went to Lewisburg, PA to help with the reinstatement of Bucknell University wrestling. Great weekend and turnout for their boosters at a celebration banquet. Mike Duroe (world coach, Cornell College head coach), Pablo Ubasa (youth coach in Iowa) and I put on a 4-hour clinic and promotion for the local wrestlers, coaches and fans. Coach Dan Wirnsberger has a good situation with Bill Graham’s backing as well as strong administrative support within the athletic department. Good situation, now coach Dan must do everything, or at least most everything, right. Eyes are upon him!

Recently started doing a Q & A with WIN Magazine and writer Mike Finn. I hope I can add value and entertainment.

Attended a book signing in Waterloo, IA at Barnes and Noble for Mike Chapman’s new book Wrestling Tough. I’m all over the book – thanks Mike. I also signed a few Coaching Wrestling Successfully books, written by myself and published by Human Kinetics.

Next, I traveled to Minneapolis for a coach’s clinic for the U of M and Coach J Robinson. Fantastic turn-out as well as a next day short presentation to the Minn. State Wrestling Coaches Association. Hope to have made a few fishing contacts because of a recently purchased fishing cabin in that neck of the woods.

Off to another book signing for Chuck Offensburger (former Iowa boy) and Bernie Saggau (retired Iowa HS Athletic Association Executive Director) with their new book on Iowa H.S. athletics.

Shortly after, a trip to Council Bluffs for the Grand Opening of a Bass Pro Shop. I got to stand alongside Tony Stewart (NASCAR), Jimmy Houston (fishing), Rick Clunn (fishing), Gary Parsons (fishing), Keith Kavajecz (fishing), and Jerry Martin (hunting) at this opening. I was pleasantly surprised with Jimmy Houston’s ad Rick Clunn’s knowledge of wrestling and myself. Great crowd and many were fanatics for Stewart and NASCAR.

Next stop, Storm Lake, Iowa to help Mark Schwab promote his program at BV and wrestling in Northwest Iowa. Great turnout – 340 athletes and another 100 – 200 in the stands. I also did a speech to the BV faculty and another to the students as well. Pablo Ubasa helped me out at the clinic.

Speaking of Pablo, he is starting a new wrestling club in Cedar Rapids. Pablo has done a great job at coaching and mentoring athletes in the K-12 grades. Many have become and are becoming superstars in the sport. If anyone is wanting to look into this club call Pablo at 319-321-7674.

Next, I was off to Sioux City for the press conference and announcement of the USA World Trials for 2006 that are being held at the Tyson Center on Memorial Weekend (May 26 – 28). Tim Tushla is spearheading the event. Tim as well has brought the NAIA wrestling tournament again back to Sioux City for the next several years. If anyone is interested in helping sponsor in any capacity, call Tim at 712-251-7570. My first contact with Tim was when Lincoln McIlravy was sponsored by Gateway in his Olympic efforts and Tim was the contact for Lincoln at Gateway. Tim since has gone another route, but promotes the heck out of amateur wrestling.

Lastly, a trip to Grand Junction, Colorado with Mike Moyer (NWCA) and Pablo Ubasa to reinstate Mesa State College’s wrestling program. What a turnout! Over 400 attended a fundraising banquet and over 200 attended a clinic the next day. I also addressed the local youth wrestling coaches at a breakfast before the clinic. Duane Banks (retired UI baseball coach) lives in Grand Junction and he attended a lot of the events. It was good seeing Duane again and he actually is working at a local golf course in Grand Junction.

I forgot one last event…a trip to Waverly, Iowa for the official opening of the wrestling season at Joe’s Knight Hawk. Of course, “Joe” is Joe Breitbach, a former East Waterloo wrestler who happened to challenge me in one our famous East-West wrestling meets in Waterloo. I had to represent ISU again at this event, but I gladly do so.

Along the way, a couple of trips to show Mackenzie (my youngest daughter) possible colleges for next year. Loved seeing Buckwheat Bannon (admissions counselor at CR Kirkwood) and of course Larry Munger (asst. wrestling coach at Upper Iowa). Lots of good people out there – just need to cultivate them to make sure they are helping the cause…or is it causes? I sometimes need to be reminded that there is more to life than wrestling…really?!?

Next – I’m off to Boston.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Telling the Truth

I must admit I was pretty pessimistic after traveling to the World’s and witnessing the Men’s Freestyle. All you have to do is review my blog covering it to be reminded of this.

But, after searching further, I now have made some real thoughts that aren’t just all pessimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not building up the current rules; I’m talking about good things and reminders that help me continue in my way of thinking.

Wrestlers, coaches, and even fans will wrestle and adapt to whatever the rules the may be. These rules will cause the sport to grow or go backward. But, the rule for the majority will determine the style, effort, and tactics used to win. Most people adapt to the easiest way to win. Because of this, lesser standards will be the result. With lower standards, fewer disciplines have to be mastered and put in place. Because of this, people will be lesser prepared and that means the masses. My point is it can be even easier to win now because of som many being at the lower level of readiness...because of the rules!

The Uzbekistan World/Olympic Champion had to be assisted with medical attention after his loss…because of being so tired! Many athletes are being less discipline in their weight-making and using medical assistance for rehydration. Cheating at the draw is happening and again, looking for an easier way to win. Taking payoffs to throw matches which mean the competition really isn’t as important as compared to financial gains in the short run is taking place and maybe always has.

What else did I learn? I was definitely updated on specific skills, tactics, and even the execution of some familiar skills. It’s always good to stay on top of the game. I actually got “refreshed” in some specifics as I watched the Russian Gutsalov explode into a head-drive single finish that made his opponent a cosmonaut. The wrestler that beat Cormier reinforced the importance of learning to use a “hip sag” that many never learn. Satiev (multi Gold Medalist at 74 kg) reinforced to me that even when most wrestle to the rules, and he did not (Satiev wrestled above the rules) and was easily the winner. Satiev also reinforced to me that our sport can be exciting depending on the athletes’ and coaches’ mentalities. The example I’ll use here is when Satiev was down by three points in a round, he fought back to win the round (even though he had a round to concede) and didn’t take the route of most, if not all. There’s hope but it’s too few and far between so something has to happen to increase this type of attitude!

For some, the rules might be good, but I’m more interested in the sport and the masses. So with the right attitude and coached that way, the wrestling could be okay, but that’s not going to happen.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Power of Money -- Yes or No?

“Give me this, give me that, and then I can make it happen.” The lack of money is usually one’s biggest complaint, yet should be much lower on the complaint list. Money cannot buy great results! It’s nice to have, yet often causes unnecessary issues. A person’s intelligence, their knowledge of the subject and subjects, along with their motivations decide results! With the right knowledge and being extremely motivated, great things can happen. A continuance of not doing things in this manner yields the same, less than desirable products year in and year out. One’s goals should be the highest possible attainable in your overall business…not just your company’s top end. How you implement this into the overall picture is key. This is where an extreme knowledge and a thorough understanding play its role. This is what many don’t get and therefore have a difficult time.

Remember -- and I said this in an earlier blog – the present is where you should be judged if you have had any appropriate time or results. Appropriate time means consistency at an improving level.

Page 37 of Coaching Wrestling Successfully, published by Human Kinetics, tells a good rule of thumb. It fact, I’ll include it here:

The Bump Elliott Rule:
Right after I came to coach at the University of Iowa, I had a meeting with Bump Elliott, who was the Athletic Director. I’ll never forget what Bump said to me: “Don’t ask for the moon. Strive to get there, sure, but do it wisely through continuing to build upon what you already have. As you build, come see me, and we’ll see how I can help you out.” I now call that bit of wisdom the Bump Elliott Rule, and it serves a good reminder to keep things in perspective. Gradual, solid growth is better than any quick fix.

My only request that first year was new wrestling mats for the athletes. The old mats were in bad shape and unsafe, hindering their training. Just this simple change motivated the wrestlers, who didn’t expect anyone cared enough to ask for or get better equipment for them.

The next year, after winning the school’s first conference championship in 12 seasons, I requested minor improvements to the locker room. The old, beat up, closed lockers were replaced with new, open locker areas; the revamped shower area had new wall and floor tiles and shower heads and disinfectant soap dispensers.; and a sauna was added, which offered many benefits to our overall training. All of these items enhanced the health, hygiene, and atmosphere for the athletes’ training. The benefits of the new mats and locker facilities were quickly realized. The attitude and performance of the team improved considerably, and recruiting efforts and attitudes were helped tremendously.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

USF – Another New Collegiate Wrestling Program

Upon returning form the World’s I received notice that the University of Sioux Falls was going to announce adding wrestling. USF is an NAIA program that once had wrestling back in the early 70s. The AD, William Sanchez, invited me to be a part of the press conference announcing the new program and new coach – Tim Homan. Tim has been a very successful local wrestling coach in the past. Tim will recruit this year and start competing in 2006-'07. The President of USF, Dr. Mark Benedetto, wrestled in high school for the late Chuck Farina at East Lyden High School in Illinois. Mr. Sanchez attended Oklahoma U back in the day of some real greats like Wells, Grant, McGuire, etc., and actually had duties within the wrestling program at the time.

It was a great event, and after the press conference we went to dinner. A couple of my teammates from ISU attended since they live locally. Bill Krum (3x Montana state champ) and Gary “Smokey” Wallman (multi-time S.D. state champ) were the two. They are both doing well, with Bill being a Senior V.P. for Iseman Homes and Gary working his own business and coaching wrestling at a local high school.

Mick Pickford, former Ft. Madison legendary wrestling coach, was in attendance at the press conference. He visits Sioux Falls often for family and health reasons at a local hospital. It was good seeing him. It’s amazing all the wrestling connections in all corners of the world. We need to continue to use all these influences for the future.

On the 6-hour drive to Sioux Falls, I called a few former South Dakotans to get current on S.D. wrestling. I talked with Chad Lamer and he gave me a few facts. Chad is moving to Helena, Montana with his family where he will be doing Chiropractic work after graduating from Palmer College in Davenport. Sorry to see Chad, Ann and all the boys packing up and leaving Iowa, but now we have some contacts in Helena. The real facts (at least I think so) came from contacting Randy Lewis, who gave me TOO much information! Wow! South Dakota is LOADED with wrestling information and you know I agree with him!

Randy talked about the Scherr’s, Lincoln McIlravy, the Wallmans, Manning, Lamer, the Koslowskis, and on and on. What was interesting was his final comment. Randy pointed out that out of all of Iowa’s recruiting only TWO came directly out of high school and made it to the NCAA finals in their true freshman years. Both of these wrestlers were from South Dakota. Randy didn’t talk about the results of the two finalists, he just left it at that…smart guy! With that said, Randy pointed out that Iowa should recruit more out of S.D.

Anyway, it was a great trip.

2005 World Championships Budapest - Women’s Freestyle/Men’s Greco

Obviously, the best team performance was the Women’s Freestyle in their capturing of four medals led by the Gold of Iris Smith. From what I witnessed, the women used less tactics and more of their wrestling abilities making for more action in the matches. I’m sure there are reasons for this.

I was able to watch the final day of the Greco on the Internet on the World Championships Network. It did look better than the freestyle product, however, it definitely still needs improvements as well. I finally got to watch some technique that I could add to the overall knowledge of the sport. That’s exciting for me! Like Tolly, Justin Ruiz in Greco brought something positive at the end, which definitely helped out!

I’m sure there are wrestlers who like the new rule changes, or at least part of the changes, yet the sport is about masses if wrestling is to be stable. Continued work on what’s good here is needed. More on that later.

Monday, October 10, 2005

2005 World Championships Budapest - Men’s Freestyle

The travel was good, the hotel accommodations were fine, the arena was great, but the wrestling was not so good. I’m not talking about the American's performance as much as I ‘m talking about the product.

Two bronze medals were below expectations, but sometimes you take what you get and figure out how to do better, you also don’t want this to happen after or obviously the reasons for this type of performance aren’t being solved. Analyzing the issues correctly or at least thinking so in the best manner possible is crucial so one doesn’t end up in the same position next time. Joe Williams medaled and Tolly Thompson did the same. Ending on a positive note with Tolly helped make the final outcome more rewarding. But enough of that, for the product is what is necessary to be good, if not great, to help with the enhancement of the sport.

I’ve been to 29 World and Olympic Championships and this is the first one I came home without learning several new techniques and skills. I attribute this to the lack of having to wrestle under the new rules. Tactics that involve little or no wrestling skills are more the rule, which doesn’t sit well with me. Obviously many others feel the same. Justice was not served to the crowned World Champions in Men’s Freestyle especially the first day because the small crowd.

However, one would have to wonder about justice, for some the final matches looked to be pre-determined. Excuse me...looked? The power of MONEY!!

I want to personally thank Mitch Hull for his work in helping organize many of the details that help make things work well. I’m sure it wasn’t easy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Taking Care of Business

Son-in-law’s birthday (Brian); speech to the University of Iowa football team concerning consistency of good performances and what good really is; Back-to-School night for my youngest daughter, Mackenzie, (senior year, wow!); social at Barron Bremner’s home (former Iowa wrestler, retired Coe & Cornell AD); Terry Brands induction into the Iowa Letterman Hall of Fame; Harry Ostrander’s 40th wedding anniversary party; speech at Great America leasing corporation at their Peak Performance meeting; weekend trip to Minnesota cabin with my wide and good friends Bob and Patty Altmaier; oldest daughter Jenni’s birthday; alma mater West Waterloo High School meeting of the so-called “legends” to help inspire the current students and athletes at West Waterloo, another trip to Waterloo and Des Moines to look at moving the wrestling museum in Newton to Waterloo or Des Moines; all of this in a short period of time!

So much for taking care of business, now it’s time to travel to Budapest to witness the World Wrestling Championships and the new rules. What’s nice is I could stay home and watch it over the internet for $10. Maybe I’ll do that. A new company out of California is broadcasting several sports’ Worlds – great! For information go to TheMat.com

Talked with Mitch Hull of USA Wrestling who’s in Budapest on his Global cell phone and he’s keeping me updated on interesting information in Budapest. I also informed him of the internet broadcast which was new to him. Mitch said he was glad to be able to keep up with things going on back in his office in the Springs. He thanked me – of course I thanked him for his info in the Worlds/ I have to admit, I’m very skeptical of what I’m going to witness at the World’s, but I am going to be open-minded and see first-hand and then draw my conclusions after witnessing the event. I’m not as concerned about the results, as usual, as compared to what the product is for the future of the sport. We need to offer a product that the masses can buy into – participants and spectators. To be honest, right now, a lot of good fans and potential participants are questioning the product that is being experimented with, including both Freestyle and Greco. Right now my personal opinion is – does baseball let you go to 3rd base so someone has the better chance to score? Of course not! All those other rules allow for opportunities to score without placing someone in a major advantage position so someone can score. That’s where we need work and I think there are plenty of opportunities to score with the right rules in place.

More later – I need to shut up on rules till after Budapest!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

August 24-26 Back-to-School & the USOTC in Colorado Springs

School...Watched the new recruits at the U of Iowa assemble in, like I have for the past 34 years. I've always liked the looks of those new guys, but better yet, I always enjoyed how they looked down the road in later years, especially with new credentials and a winning attitude. But I didn’t stay long for I needed to see, in person, the new rules and how our teams were adapting to them at the World level. So, I headed to Colorado Springs to he the USOTC.

I scheduled it so I could see several practice matches in one day. Coach Jackson and Duroe were running the show and had given me the current status of the team and their practices. On the way, I stayed in Kearney, Nebraska. I wanted to give my business to a town that has a college wrestling program. I stayed at the AmericInn because of their health and recovery facilities – sauna, whirlpool, and swimming pool. I also toted a Schwinn Airdyne out in my daughter Mackie’s truck to give to new head coach Doug Moses. He purchased it because I had the opportunity to buy one at a great price. Doug needed one at his new location in Las Vegas, New Mexico where he is the new coach of a brand-new program (see New Mexico Blog) at New Mexico Highlands University. Doug doesn’t have any local recovery facilities, yet now he has located some outside hot springs that are close-by and do the job well. He has visited them daily. Great for stress-release, feeling good, relaxation and for analyzing and planning ahead. We, in this regard, are out of the same mold.

Back at the OTC – I observed the practices and had a chance to express a few thoughts with the team after the second workout and actually the final one for their training phase. A pretty talented group, but they will probably run into some other talent in the upcoming Worlds in Budapest. Lots of little things along the way will be the determining factors on Gold Medals.

Speaking of Golds – congratulations to Coach Burnett and the three Gold Medalists at the recent University Worlds in Turkey. Doubled…or more than doubled…our total overall Golds in one event – impressive!

I drove back to Iowa City with Coach Duroe and again stopped in Kearney. Glad to spend money there. Go Kearney State! Thanks for the opportunity to wrestle, for there are several thousand wrestlers who graduated from Nebraska high schools last year.

Monday, August 22, 2005

August 19-21 Des Moines, Iowa

The Iowa State Fair – I guess the best state fair in the land – is where I headed for three visits in three days. This also makes three Iowa things that are the best in the U.S. – farming, wrestling and the fair!

For this trip, I helped promote the University of Iowa Athletic Department in its booth along with former home-run slugger Brian Mitchell. We signed autographs for an hour- and-a-half. Good event! Thanks Dale Arens.

The next two days I returned to Des Moines for an ESPN-sponsored booth at the fair. This booth was in conjunction with Mediacom and used to help promote their means of communication to the people of Iowa. I met LOTS of fans, Hawks, Cyclones, Panthers, etc. that were simply enjoying a day at the fair.

You know what was needed at the fair…a wrestling booth for some kind of promotion for the sport. There could be some kind of competition or simply demos that could help draw attention to the sport. Some State Fairs already do this...so we would just be following suit and enhancing good things. Pretty hot days (if outside), but who better than wrestlers to handle the environment.

Next up – the start of school & a trip to the USOTC

Friday, August 12, 2005

August 11 Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines – the capital city of the great state of Iowa. Iowa feds the world and Iowans wrestle worldwide. We touch all corners of the World in positive measures.

A few words about Des Moines – come on Drake…do the right thing and give our many young student wrestlers an opportunity to compete in college. After all, downtown Des Moines has the #1 state high school wrestling tournament in the United States, actually, the world! Close to 100,000 spectators attend the tournament in a 4-day period every year! Des Moines is accepting what they give, but not looking out for their best interests. It’s a one-way street…not in the best interest for the future of an already established entity. All it would take is one Cael Sanderson to put Drake in the news daily. Wait a minute…there is only one Cael, yet it would be nice to help other aspiring athletes get a chance to be like him. Especially now that they know it’s possible – thanks Cael!

Back to business...met in Des Moines at the Hotel Savery with Mike Moyer of the NWCA, Randall, local Iowan who is an officer for the NWCA, and several people from the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture) to discuss and finalize a program to help Americans get more fit and, of course, to help the future of wrestling. The meeting went well and a plan was developed to do exactly that. Wrestling and wrestlers are leaders. The many disciplines needed carry over and many go on to do great things with their families and professions. Every college program in America will have a poster-schedule for the upcoming season. Wresting coaches only need to follow through to help get this accomplished in a great way. Coaches – make sure to help out!

Next stop – Des Moines for 3 visits in 3 days!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

August 1 Mason City, Iowa & August 3 Central City, Iowa

Coach Zalesky has a wrestling camp in Mason City each summer and again one that has a lot of past memories and many GOOD ones at that. Kathy and I stayed in town at the local Holiday Inn. This hotel is Kinseth-owned. Of course, Bruce Kinseth is a former NCAA champion at Iowa and O.W. by pinning all this opponents at the Big 10s and NCAAs. Bruce and family go way back in the hotel business and own and manage many properties. I actually started doing wrestling camps in Mason City at NIACC in the early 70s with Medalist Industries and then their camp carried over to the Hawkeyes. Two or three sessions were planned, yet I did only one for some reason, so Mason City was a quick stop. Hopefully the camp went well. Back in the middle 70s, NIACC had a wrestling program and was coached by Kaye Young and I believe they dropped the program the same year that they won the National Championship. What a mistake! Someone ought to bring it back, Do the right thing and be proud of it!

Finally, a short stop at home and then I actually went to my office at Carver a few times before heading to Central City for another wrestling camp. Being less than an hour away, Mike Duroe and I spent about 4 hours teaching young wrestlers some great skills and tactics to help them. The coach there did a great job bringing in the youth wrestlers. I believe the total number pushed 125 or so. Lots of locals (parents & boosters) attended as well, which is always important to the success of a program. It was pretty hot and I started to get a little run down in the late evening (keep that to yourself – for you don’t admit something like that in public or show it as well in which I probably did) yet it was a comfortable ride back home (whew!). Sometimes getting off your feet feels good, especially when you are pushing the age of…35 or 40.

What’s next? Whoa! It looks like FOUR trips to Des Moines in a short amount of time!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

July 30 Okoboji, Iowa

Okoboji was off our course, but it was change due to a homesick mother and wife and to bring back some fond memories of years ago. I love Okoboji so it didn’t take much coaxing to change directions. We were going back to Minneapolis and then onto Mason City, but we needed to get across the Iowa border for the sake of mental-health and well-being. We stayed at The Inn and visited our good friends Pat and Mary Kay McGrath at their place on the lake.

This was supposed to be for my wife and her memories of staying at The Inn with her family as a kid, but, Okoboji reminded me of a wrestling camp I had a the Presbyterian Church facility on West Okoboji back in 1971 and ’72. The other two people involved in the camp were Dave Martin (from Algona), an ISU National Champ & current Assistant A.D. at Oklahoma State; and Tom Peckham (Cresco native), also a 2x ISU National Champ, ’68 Olympic place-winner and retired employee of Porto Vet in Hudson, Iowa. I have great memories of training-at-its-finest in preparation of becoming a World and Olympic Champion. The work-outs I had in the actual church were phenomenal. I loved every minute of it and when I needed a break – a quick dive into Lake Okoboji revived me to go back and get some more...cold water therapy!

Well, Kathy and I ate at the Maid-Rite near the Fillenworth Beach Motel and ran into some wrestling fans that really want the state of Iowa back on top. They were having lunch and have a place on Okoboji, but were wrestling fanatics and are now located in Northern Iowa and one couple now actually lives in Minnesota.

Speaking of Fillenworth – Julie Fillenworth, ex-Iowa Mat-aide and close friend of the late Jon Marks (Iowa recruiter way-back-when) is a daughter of this famous vacation spot. She is still located there; unless something has changed recently…this is all part of reminiscing about fond memories. You know, there is hardly a town that I drive through in Iowa where some wrestling connection doesn’t pop up. What a tradition!!

Next up: Mason City, Iowa

July 29-30 Fargo, North Dakota

Walker, Minnesota to Fargo, North Dakota is only a little over 2 hours of driving time, but my trip was first to Minneapolis to drop off our youngest 2 daughters, Molly & Mackenzie, at the airport. Good family time at the lake and now in the car, for they were both on their way to Young Life’s “Wilderness Camp” in southwest Colorado. Four hours to Minneapolis and now another four hours to Fargo for USA Board meetings early the next day.

USA Wrestling has been holding its summer/fall board meetings at the Junior Nationals in Fargo. This seems to work out well. Good scheduling is vital for an organization and I think moves like this are smart in many ways. I’m sure there are drawbacks, but as long as the pluses out-weigh the minuses one should go for it. Especially unique was the World Freestyle team having their first phase of training in Fargo. This is a move I commend the organization and National Coach Kevin Jackson for making. My only recommendation would be to house them in a facility where they had good access to recovery facilities. Coach Bucky Maughan should have little problem in getting our number one teams and coaches a good housing rate in such a facility.

At the board meeting I was reminded that I am a chair on a committee that studies the rules of international wrestling. This had been discussed at the previous meeting, but I didn’t realize it was “official” from Rich Bender. I’ll take it beyond my everyday discussions and put it into more formal and authorized course of action. I did hear some conversation that makes me realize the need here - for the viewpoints seemed very inaccurate and outdated. Glad to help here, this is the ultimate for our sport and we need the best possible product. So, I’m booked for Budapest, Hungary for the World Championships and once again I’ll be updated with the current in our great sport...or at least the potential to be so.

Kathy (my wife) is getting somewhat road-weary and now that Fargo is complete we would head toward Iowa. Speaking of Iowa, the young wrestlers from Iowa in Fargo showed A LOT of potential for the next levels of competition – college and international – great sign!

Next stop: Okoboji, Iowa

Thursday, July 28, 2005

July 27 Walker, Minnesota

Finally I get to family and profession. It looks like family is taking a back seat to wrestling lately. Good thing the family has been hooked on wrestling or this wouldn’t be happening. In fact, this is how it’s been since the beginning, which is why I’ve been able to focus so much in this area.

Anyway, Walker, Minnesota is a place where my family vacations from time to time. I got wind of the high school wrestling program possibly getting cut. So, they needed a promotional event and that’s exactly the direction Mike Duroe (World coach 2005), Pablo Ubasa (Hawkeye Kids coach) and I headed.

We needed a main contact to work with my own personal contact (Mike Gavin from DanGable.com). Leah Crow of the Walker Polaris dealership was our contact. She has twin sons on the wrestling team so this enhanced her interest. The local newspaper – the Pilot-Independent also helped immensely. Thanks Leah and Dean Morrill (of the newspaper). Several phone contacts also created interest, for time was short for promotion.

A great turn-out! These 140 kids (mostly younger) will really help build for the future in the Walker area. Local wrestling coach Colby Marich hosted the event and many other coaches from nearby towns attended.

There’s a controversy in Minnesota about hockey and wrestling taking place during the same season. There is definitely room for BOTH hockey and wrestling in this area. In fact, they compliment each other considering hockey caters more to the team aspect of sports and wrestling comes down to one-on-one in the end. It’s great for kids to do both sports, especially early-on, and decide what fits better at a later date along with the other qualities needed for success in life (like academics!).
Overall, it was a GREAT event. Good decisions in keeping all the sports.

Now, let’s keep working on getting those walleyes back biting on Leech Lake! I didn’t see former wrestling coach Gary Storm—hope he’s working on this walleye issue. Wrestling and walleye fishing 00 love them both and especially with family!

Speaking of family, all of my immediate family was able to be at Walker together on the lake. That made it extra-special. Thanks Kathy, Molly, Mackie (and her boyfriend Phil), Brian, Jenni & Gable Mitchell, and Mike, Annie & Danny Gavin. Wow! The family is getting bigger!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

July 16 Newton Iowa

Actually, it was a short night, getting back late from New Mexico (11pm) and having to be in Ames, Iowa (130 miles) for a corporate speech the next morning by 8 am. After the speech, on the way home, I stopped in Newton (International Wrestling Institute and Museum) for the annual golf fundraiser and induction ceremonies for the pro-wing on this museum. I had three hours to visit with several of IWIM boardmembers about enhancing the future of the Wrestling Institute. The need to enhance Mike Chapman's ability to focus on important issues besides fundraising is necessary. I just had a talk with Mike Moyer of the NWCA recently on his same concerns about NWCA. Mike Moyer had a great event in Washington DC which I feel helped solve this concern. I don't think people in wrestling realize how much untapped potential we have in our sport.

Take a look at this:

In the USA alone:
High School Wrestlers - 250,000
College Wrestlers - 7500
Potential Olympians - 500

What a drop-off in numbers!! To simply increase the number of athletes who go to the next level would do wonders for the sport of wrestling and its potential future. The higher level one goes, the more chances of people staying with this sport for a lifetime.

Now you should wonder why college, and especially Olympic wrestling is so important to the future of this sport. Just think if those numbers could increase as they progress from one level to another. The percentage of drop-off is big and therefore a small increase at the high levels would dramatically increase the pool of opportunity to draw from for many important reasons. Get it? I hope the people in the proper places understand this importance. Like I said, we are untapped in growth from one level to another thus creating much more "total"potential for the sport.

Next…onto Walker, Minnesota

Friday, July 15, 2005

July 14 Santa Fe, New Mexico

Next I flew into Albuquerque, New Mexico and drove over to Santa Fe for the AAU Grand Nationals Wrestling tourney. Upon landing at the airport I was greeted by a small band of musicians. What a treat, for they were welcoming me and wrestling back to New Mexico at the college level. Mike Lujan, local wrestling coach and big-time promoter of wrestling orchestrated this welcoming and had a lot to do with the start of a new college wrestling program at New Mexico Highlands University (aDII program in Las Vegas, N.M.). Mike Moyer, Executive Director of NWCA met me in New Mexico for this event. The night before the tournament a gathering of the people who helped make this happen took place. Quite an event! For as long as I have been doing things for the sport of wrestling I learned a few new things with this group. This start up program is the only opportunity in New Mexico for college wrestling and a good, strong base of wrestlers are at the high school level. Realizing the void, the state legislature appropriated funds for this program and also a women's rodeo program at Highlands. Congratulations! Doing it the right way happened through opportunities…not elimination. What a break through! Why had this not happened sooner?

Well, I introduced the new head coach, my great friend from way back, Doug Moses. Coach Moses has had a few tough years since his championship program at former University of Southern Colorado eliminated wrestling. It was the most successful athletic program on campus when it got axed. Pueblo needs it back to help the opportunities of wrestlers within the already strong-built high school and youth wrestling system in Colorado.

One last comment – before my own eyes I witnessed a start-up program by the state government that didn't have a wrestling mat get one within one minute. This was unique, but one of several things I learned on this trip.

New Mexico – thanks and keep building!

Next – Newton, Iowa and the International Wrestling Institute and Museum

Monday, July 11, 2005

July 9-11 Raleigh, NC

This was a trip to promote and do clinic work for former NC State head coach Bob Guzzo. Well over 1,000 boys and a good bunch of young women were in attendance at this clinic! Many of them were from the Southeast where little or no opportunity is available for college wrestling. We need some serious work here. It doesn't take a genius to figure this out. I really don't understand why school administrators don't step up and fill this void. At least make some noise to help out. My standards must be too high because it makes perfect sense to me.

As for the Atlantic Coast Conference – looks like they could be on the rise as far as their mentality in wrestling – and that's good thing! 1984 Olympic Champion Bobby Weaver was teaching at the NC State camp. It was great seeing him again along with a daughter who accompanied him.

NC State's wrestling coach Carter Jordan has some pretty big shoes to fill since former Coach Guzzo has stepped down, and with Tom Brands at Virginia Tech, the shows might be getting even bigger. I missed seeing NC State football coach Chuck Amato. Of course, Chuck being a former champion wrestler gave me some extra good conversations that I enjoyed in my last two trips to Raleigh.

Keep up the good work!!

Next onto Santa Fe, New Mexico…

Saturday, July 09, 2005

July 8-9 Bloomington-Normal, Illinois

This was a trip to promote a wrestling tournament (Midwest Nationals sponsored by State Farm Insurance). The main person responsible for this event is Mike Monahan, another loyal and passionate wrestling individual. State Farm is headed by another former wrestler – Ed Rust. The night before the tourney a group of 100+ very interested people gathered for an evening of conversation (of course, the main topic was wrestling), food and drink. This was so enjoyable and this group, including Midlands Wrestling Tourney boss Ken Kraft, talked about bringing college wrestling back to the Bloomington-Normal area at Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan. Two past meaningful programs have be eliminated there and are badly needed to restore the opportunity for youth to be able to participate in college programs. This is especially true in Illinois where the participation numbers are high at the youth and high school levels.

This was a great start to a summer full of road trips for myself. Joining me was 2005 World Team Coach Mike Duroe. Thank you to Mike Monahan, Ed Rust, Ken Kraft and others involved!

Next up, Raleigh, NC

Friday, July 01, 2005

Road Tripping

Iowa City to Bloomington/Normal, Illinois to Raleigh, North Carolina to Santa Fe, New Mexico to Newton, Iowa to Walker, Minnesota to Minneapolis to Fargo, North Dakota to Okoboji, Iowa to Mason City, Iowa to Central City, Iowa to Des Moines to Des Moines to Des Moines to Des Moines to Colorado Springs

I've been a person of focus and concentration and mostly in two areas – family and profession (wrestling). I admit I have a passion (big time) for both family and wrestling and hopefully in that order! These summer road trips tell the tale…

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

USA World Team Trials – Mostly a Chess Match

Not since the 1970 World Championships have I noticed wrestling being mostly a “chess match” Strategies and tactics are the rule instead of good offensive, combative wrestling while using good strategies and tactics along the way. Two exceptions were Sam Henson and Daniel Cormier. Yes, they were using specific tactics and skills, but ones that were constant, offensive, and physical.

The biggest clarification needs to be on the mat edge where a simple continuation of wrestling needs to take place. Who steps out first should not be the factor. Instead, the look should be for potential scoring moves as well as fleeing. Even getting pushed out is okay if an opponent is not circling back on. A simple step out is not a good rule and if anything, go to at least two feet out when fleeing out, not wrestling out! Common sense and the understanding of the sport is needed here.

Defensive tactics need to be learned, but should only be used in rare instances, then mostly for scoring, or to eliminate unnecessary risks at the end of the match. These defensive tactics are to be distinguished from stalling or fleeing.

Plenty of excitement in wrestling is possible if good rules are in place. Right now it will be very difficult to get the athletes to perform the techniques and excitement through intensity based on the current rules.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Figure This One Out?

Part I: Impressed

Just got back from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductions in Stillwater. Quite impressed with the atmosphere and energy flow of all involved. Lee Roy Smith, in his new role seems to have what's needed to move forward and even upgrade a good thing. Thanks Myron! Of course with his bothers just next door kicking butt, that's two close buildings feeding off each other. With the NCAAs in Oklahoma, look for a sea of Orange. With that said, "C'mon Iowa, ISU and UNI, let's make a contest out of it."

Speaking of Iowa, the Iowa wrestling youth need an opportunity to go to Drake and wrestle. I know the perfect coaching fit, homegrown Iowan that wrestled at Drake... Mike Duroe! But they better hurry for Mike is not getting any younger and pretty soon many will forget that Drake exists.

Congrats to Coach Doug Moses in his new college wrestling coaching position - Doug's 2nd start up program. Badly needed!



Part II: Not Impressed

Coaches, we need help in this sport. Educate those associated with you about wrestling and its issues. No more interviews about potential negatives in our sport, especially when they shouldn't be happening. Sometimes athletes will say something just for no major reason but just to brag or confuse or deceive without it being a reality. There type of remarks are holding opportunities back that need to move forward.

If you are confused, you need to be more educated yourself to help the causes. That's fine because we still have a long ways to go. That's OK because some of us are in it for the long haul and don't go away. We just need more of us! Those that are... know a great thing. The long haul means total commitment and the ability to use what's available. If you're lost, here are a few hints:

Please...

NO to 1.02
NO to the clinch
NO 2 minute matches
NO banning of great training tools
NO losses when winning 8-6
NO scoring just one point
NO partere elimination
NO eliminating weight classes
NO eliminating disciplines
NO no points for stalling
NO automatic point for step outs
NO to 60 min weigh ins
NO no flexibility on error measures

Yes, the 'NOs' go on, but that's enough for now. We definitely need better leadership.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Thoughts to the Coaches

This goes along with the last Blog concerning making progress in wrestling the last 6 years. A great deal of this credit goes to the College Sports Council and to Eric Pearson spearheading this council. Eric was a former wrestling coach at Princeton and also wrestled competitively there. This council has led to the push for Title IX reform in positive manners, basically not to hurt men or women. Its based in Washington DC (http://www.savingsports.org/).

Other major credit goes to Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling (http://www.themat.com/) in his tireless effort in staying on top of this issue. Of course remember the Bush Administration formed a Commission that had many suggestions for changes and until recently was tabled.

With this lead in and the last Blog I must say that times have changes from when college wrestling when 700 plus teams pretty much spread out all over the country. Sure Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas didn't have any college programs but either did their public high schools. Texas has now changed and pretty soon will need to offer some opportunities to their boys and girls graduating and wanting to continue wrestling. Yes, I said girls because Texas has many high school girls participating against other girls in wrestling and so does Hawaii. We now have women's wrestling in the World and Olympic Championships. In Athens we had two Women's Olympic medals in Sara McMann.

But back to my point in this writing. When I was college coaching, especially during the eighties, I was not aware of the programs being eliminated all around me. Sure, communication was not the same then but my focus (then) was on my team and all the details for it to be successful. My team was bigger than the sport. Because of this, and I'm assuming others felt the same, our sport was not organized and went backward in their numbers and progress. Finally in 1999 full time employees started working on just college wrestling and the dividends are starting to trickle in. Today every wrestling coach must participate in the sport, not just their program and do what's best (in most cases) for the sport and not just their own unique situation. Until we turn this thought process to this channel we will continue to waiver somewhat instead of moving ahead and flourishing.

Coaches need to look at the future not just this year and next year. Of course this thinking goes back to my last writing of doing things correctly. Because, remember, when this happens, a short time later the current will be good. The current (present) is where we live our lives daily and when its good we enjoy it more. Get on board! What's going on in Olympic Wrestling?! Stay tuned...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Learn from the Past, Improve the Future

I’ll say this, we need to learn from the past and apply it to the future. If this happens it doesn’t take long and the current will be good, hopefully great. If you keep waiting for next year, then your application of the past to the future needs to be adjusted. Once the current is good, keep the same model going with needed minor adjustments in making it even better. I’m going to give credit for these past four sentences to a former teacher and assistant wrestling coach of mine. I recently read a small writing of his and I interpreted information within the material. Bill Blake is the author and I thank him for his writing.

Promoting Wrestling, Progress Being Made!

Ever since I stepped down at the University of Iowa as its wrestling coach (8 years ago) I’ve been promoting wrestling in general at all levels with the emphasis on the collegiate level. The Olympic level is another area for me yet the avenue for promotion here is more limited.

As a coach, I could see results daily wit the teams and individuals I was coaching. As a promoter of the sport, I could see very little on a daily basis. I warned this could be the case by several people of high status, due to their dealings in their professions. Their professions are in politics and in the book and movie industries. They told me to have patience, yet keep working like you have in the past and someday down the road, the light at the end of the tunnel will start shining. I know now that they are right for just recently some good things are starting to happen, especially at the college level.

A most recent addition/clarification to prong three of on Title IX (satisfying interest) actually makes reasonable sense and another way of to clarify a solution to a particular situation. Nothing wrong in helping really know when interests are met beyond just populations. More to come I hope! Wrestling has a lot of unmet interests in colleges in many states. Long ways to o but then again 400 programs were taken away with 300 still standing. In recent times 22 programs have been added, but like I said just a fraction of what needs to be offered.

RPW (Real Pro Wrestling; http://www.realprowrestling.com/) has been going fairly well and is another way to help keep former college wrestlers in the sport longer. Thank you to Toby Willis and Matt Case. What this could really do is add to our Olympic medal count in the long run (as long as we have Olympic wrestling in the future! (SEE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/olympics_2012/4494111.stm).

CSTV (College Sports TV; http://www.collegesports.com/) has been another avenue helping with the broadcast of college wrestling. Thank you Chris Bevilacqua.

ESPN is another avenue for broadcasts in wrestling and ESPNU (http://espn.go.com/espnu/) is a new college sports channel. Thank you Mark Shapiro.

Of IPTV (Iowa Public TV; http://www.iptv.org/) has done a great job for 30 years. Thanks Doug Brooker (retired now). To the new director, lets keep this thing going!

The NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association; http://www.nwcaonline.com/) led by Mike Moyer has done a great job of helping wrestling, especially at the collegiate level). His vision is clear but the organization needs help in making this vision come true. Give him a call, especially if you can or have a way of helping in a big way with their financial needs. It’s of immediate concern to keep this rolling in the right direction. Mike can be reached by phone at 717-653-8009 or by email at mmoyernwca@aol.com.

Coming in July is a vote on the actual sports participating in the Olympics. Make sure the IOC and Jacque Rogge know how important wrestling is to you and the world and not just as a sport. To contact and get your voice heard please visit http://www.olympic.org/uk/utilities/registration_uk.asp?prm_action=req.

I said this was going to be short so I better stop. However, beware this progress didn’t happen overnight and if there is any let up, we will fall back. We are still way behind the leaders in the industry and have lots of catching up to do.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dan Promotes Real Pro Wrestling

Over the last several months, Dan has been conducting interviews on sports talk shows across the nation promoting Real Pro Wrestling (http://www.realprowrestling.com/).

Click on the link below to listen to a great interview with a Seattle station (Real Player required):

http://www.softycentral.com/ssnds2005/050427.gable.ram