Schwab's living a dream

By DANA BECKER dana.becker@globegazette.com




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IOWA CITY ? Doug Schwab has found success at every stop he has made:

- Osage ? won 110 matches and claimed the 130-pound state title in 1996.

- University of Iowa ? was a three-time All-American, earned a trio of Big Ten crowns and was the 1999 NCAA champion at 141 pounds.

- Virginia Tech University ? helped coach the Hokies to the 2005 regular season Atlantic Coast Conference title and five NCAA Championship qualifiers.

Now, back with the Hawkeyes as an assistant coach, Schwab continues to train so that he may add that final piece to his already impressive resume ? Olympic gold medalist.

The former Green Devil standout was part of an influx of Virginia Tech wrestlers and coaches that returned to Iowa following the hiring of Tom Brands as head coach in 2006.

For Schwab, joining Brands and fellow assistant Wes Hand back where they started was an easy decision to make.

?It was great to come back and have the opportunity to build back up the Iowa tradition,? Schwab said. ?I had some options, but I love working with Tom and Wes. Being able to do it at my alma mater, and close to my family, I couldn?t ask for anything better.?

The chance to better his Olympic-qualifying efforts also helped in making the final verdict.

?Having two Olympic champions (Brands and Iowa legend Dan Gable) around to talk to and work with is great,? Schwab said. ?I have the ability to get what I need on a daily basis, and I also have the freedom to go out to Colorado Springs to the Olympic Training Center or go overseas to tournaments whenever I need to.

?I?m exposed to the highest standard of commitment and mentality each and every day. It builds me each day and makes me more prepared for what I have in front of me.?

So far, Schwab has earned several titles on the international and national scene, including gold at the 2007 U.S. Senior Freestyles, bronze from the ?07 Pan American Games and a fifth at the ?07 World Championships.

Recently, Schwab took time to discuss his Olympic dream, his relationship with Brands and several other topics.

How has knowing Brands and Hand for so many years helped make your staff a cohesive unit?

Schwab: ?This is the fourth year we have been together, but I have known Wes since we were teammates (at Iowa) and Tom has been my coach since 1996. We get along very well personally and professionally, and we try to make our team and staff one big family that is striving for the same thing.?

You were a volunteer assistant last year, but are now an interim assistant. What are the differences in the two positions?

Schwab: ?The only real difference is that now I can recruit off-campus and make phone calls to recruits. Other than that, none of my duties have changed.?

Have you had to change your approach to becoming an Olympic wrestler since returning to Iowa?

Schwab: ?Not at all. I still know the things that I need to do to bring home a gold medal, and Tom is the best boss in the world because he?s extremely understanding in the fact that he knows what I have to go and do to achieve that goal.

?He knows how important this is to me, my family, my state and my country, and he supports me in all that I do. I am in a great position and couldn?t ask any more out of my situation.?

Walk me through a typical day for you during the wrestling season?

Schwab: ?The mornings are devoted to one-on-one time with the athletes or one-on-one for myself. Most of the mornings are spent drilling, working on new skills and perfecting the old ones. Also, a couple of times a week, I push a group of guys through lifts because it is extremely important that our guys continue to build and get stronger.

?During the afternoons, I watch a lot of film on opponents and our guys just to learn tendencies or new techniques. We have afternoon practice after that before finishing up with more one-on-one time to correct problem areas.?

Being a former Osage standout, do you still follow the program?

Schwab: ?I always keep an eye on how Osage is doing. The only time I see any of them wrestling is at state, but I have a lot of pride that I wrestled for the Green Devils and will always be proud of ? and remember ? that it started in Osage.

?I have been so lucky to go from the Osage fans to the Iowa fans. I have been spoiled because I don?t think there are any better fans out there. Osage is known for wrestling and I love that I have been a part of that.?

Former Osage state champion Vinnie Wagner is currently at Iowa. How is he progressing and adapting to the college life?

Schwab: ?Vinnie has been great, so far, on and off the mat. I have been very impressed with his work ethic and fight. It can be a big adjustment and tough coming into a college room, but he has responded well.

?I have seen big progress being made and that is exciting for our coaching staff.?

Iowa takes on intra-state rival Iowa State this Sunday at Hilton Coliseum at 2 p.m. The Cyclones are currently ranked No. 1, while the Hawks are fourth