Dan Gable has deep ties to the state of Iowa, and will forever be one of the legends in the sport of wrestling, though his choice for his coaching career is certainly one that Cyclone fans would like to forget.
Gable had a prolific career at Iowa State, going 117-1, with the only loss coming to Larry Owings of Washington. Banners commemorating his career hang in Hilton Coliseum still to this day.
After his collegiate wrestling career ended, he won the 1971 Pan American Games and World Wrestling Championships at 68 kgs, and then at the 1972 Olympics, he won the gold medal without giving up a single point. Gable was so good on the international level that Russia sought after a wrestler just for sole purpose of defeating Gable in the Olympics.
Unfortunately Gable, never made his way back to Ames. He got himself into coaching, but unfortunately this career move took him to another university when he started as an assistant under Gary Kurdelmeier in Iowa City. Legendary coach Dr. Harold Nichols was still the head man at Iowa State at the time, which is most likely the reason Gable instead headed to Iowa.
He became the head coach for the Team Out East in 1976, and was the head man until the 1997 season. Gable had a career record of 355-21-5, while coaching 152 All-Americans, 45 National Champions, 106 Big Ten Champions, and 12 Olympians, including four gold medalists, one silver, and three bronze medalists during his time in Iowa City.
While many wrestling purists know of Gable’s efforts while wrestling in the collegiate level at Iowa State, he will forever be remembered as of the greatest wrestling coaches ever for the Team Out East, while his Iowa State career often goes unmentioned.
This wouldn’t be the last time an Iowa State wrestling icon would go on to lead another program to national prominence. Looking at you Cael Sanderson.