Book Chronicles Douglas Legacy
AMES, Iowa - The unlikely rise to national wresting prominence of former Iowa State head coach Bobby Douglas is the subject of Craig Sesker's new book "Bobby Douglas: Life and Legacy of an American Wrestling Legend."* The book will be released in March.
Douglas has written several books on different wrestling techniques, but has never had an author concentrate on him as the main subject matter.
"Bobby has an incredible story that is much more than a wrestling story," Sesker said.* "He overcame enormous obstacles, growing up in extreme poverty without his parents around to raise him.* Bobby became hugely successful in the sport of wrestling.* He has positively impacted thousands of young men as a teacher and a coach."
The book tells of Douglas' struggles and accomplishments growing up in poverty, his route to becoming an excellent wrester, and then later in life, coaching many young men to outstanding victories.* As a wrestler he earned a spot on two U.S. Olympic teams.
From the streets of Cleveland to rural West Virginia, Douglas' unlikely climb included boyhood friendships with NBA Hall of Fame John Havlicek and major league baseball stand outs Phil and Joe Niekro.
While working on his master's degree at Arizona State, Douglas coached ASU's wrestling team to a 226-76-6 record, earning the honor as the all-time winningest coach in Sun Devil history.* He coached the team to the 1988 NCAA Championship in Ames.
Douglas coached the Iowa State wrestling team from 1992-2006, where he mentored his wrestlers to 10 NCAA titles, 52 All-America performances, and 31 individual conference championships.
Douglas coached Iowa State wrestler Cael Sanderson to a gold medal in the 84-kg. weight class at the 2004 Athens Olympic games.* Sanderson is famous as the only undefeated four-time NCAA champion in collegiate wrestling.
"I owe so much to coach Douglas for that moment," Sanderson said.* "Coach D helped me so much in my preparation for the Olympics.* There is nobody better to have in your corner technically than Bobby Douglas.* He helped me win a gold medal."
Douglas' experience gives him unique wrestling insights.* He is not only a titleholder himself, but he also knows how to teach others to become champions.
"I think wrestling is one of the best kept secrets in America and Iowa State has led the nation, not only as the founding fathers, but also because it has produced so many great wrestlers and coaches, obviously I am proud to share that story with fans, friends, and any others interested in learning a story about wrestling and success," Douglas said.
As the fifth Iowa State wrestling head coach, he was a key component in helping the Cyclones climb the national ladder.* He has made himself a legend, and is very humble about it.* Douglas is someone the youth of today can look up to and respect.
"Bobby Douglas is a legend in every sense of the word," said Iowa State wrestling head coach Kevin Jackson.* "His story is more than a wrestling story.* It's an unbelievable life story of dedication, perseverance, and toughness."
Douglas is not only a wrestling fairy tale, he is a family man and a strong asset to his community and the nation.
"Bobby Douglas: Life Legacy of an American Wrestling Legend" tells an emotional and inspirational story that will open eyes to wrestling and life struggles that many people may experience.
"Bobby is a man of great integrity and principles," Sesker said.* "He is a class act all the way.* His former wrestlers, some that wrestled for him more than 30 years ago, still speak very highly about what he did for them.* He is very genuine.* He cared very deeply about the young men that he coached."
Douglas is an American symbol and he shows that no matter what struggles await, if one sets a goal and has the patience and willingness to achieve the "unreachable," the goal will be achievable.
In the forward to the book, Iowa State associate athletics director Tom Kroeschell focused on Douglas' behind-the-scenes kindness.
"In wrestling, Bobby made it to the pinnacle of any grapplers' dream, the Olympic Games," Kroeschell writes. "A high school and then NAIA champion, he would become one of the great NCAA collegiate wrestlers. His story serves as an inspiration to all individuals in any walk-of-life who face an uphill battle. But it also should serve as an encouraging example to all teachers and coaches everywhere who question whether their efforts on behalf of students are really making a difference.* Bobby did not make it alone. One generation later, it was Bobby who was mentoring men to overcome their own hurdles in life."
Douglas' contributions to wrestling continue. His love for the sport endures.* His work is far from finished.