Gable: Iowa program on its way back
By Steve Batterson | Tuesday, September 11, 2007
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Dan Gable senses a different attitude when he walks around the Iowa wrestling room.
The longtime Hawkeyes coach and second-year assistant to coach Tom Brands believes Iowa is positioned to ?make a pretty good jump?? this year nationally.
?I?m seeing signs, all summer I?ve seen them, that things are beginning to turn,?? Gable said Monday during an appearance at the Davenport Grid Club.
He said he didn?t see those signs much of last season.
During a season of transition after Brands? arrival from Virginia Tech, Iowa was 14-5 overall and 5-3 in Big Ten duals last year.
The effort preceded a third-place finish in the Big Ten meet and an eighth-place showing at the NCAA Championships, where 165-pounder Mark Perry became Iowa?s first NCAA titlist since 2004.
?It took nearly the whole year for the mindset to begin to change. It took five or six months before I saw anything that even remotely resembled change, and honestly I was really concerned,?? Gable said.
?I didn?t know if it was going to happen, but late in the season I started to see signs, and they have continued.??
Gable views Perry?s national title as a significant achievement.
?It?s a start. It?s something that indicates that at least one wrestler in that room got it, that the message was starting to sink in,?? Gable said.
The signs have continued.
Returning Hawkeyes Ryan Morningstar and Matt Fields won championships at the University National Championships last April. Redshirt freshman Jake Kerr won his weight class at the FILA Junior World Team Trials in May, and former Hawkeyes Mike Zadick, Doug Schwab and Joe Williams earned spots on the U.S. freestyle team that will compete in the World Championships beginning next week in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Zadick and Schwab train in Iowa City and work as a strength training coach and volunteer assistant, respectively, with the Hawkeyes program.
?Those are all signs that things are getting back to normal around our program,?? said Gable, who coached the Hawkeyes to 21 Big Ten titles and 15 NCAA championships during a head coaching career that ran from 1977 to 1997.
?And, I think as long as coach Brands is here, and coach (Cael) Sanderson is at Iowa State, the sport is going to stay strong in this state for quite a few years.??
Gable said Brands taught the Hawkeyes to listen, believe and apply last season, elements that can equate to success, wins and domination when implemented.
?Right now, we?re starting to get into the success part and starting to have some wins. The domination will follow, but that can only happen as the wrestlers buy into what is being taught and dedicate themselves to making that happen,?? Gable said.
Steve Batterson can be contacted at (563) 383-2290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at qctimes.com.