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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Olympic gold medalist, world champion, and three-time NCAA Div. I national champion wrestler Tom Brands, who is the current head wrestling coach of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.
Although the Iowa Hawkeyes have won 23 NCAA Div. I wrestling championships, they have not finished first since the 2009-10 season. This season, however, the early polls put their team atop the rankings, as they hope to end the four-year reign of Penn State.
We spoke with Coach Brands, now in his ninth season as head coach, by phone Tuesday.
As for these early season rankings, he said, "I think that you keep it in context like anything, and we have to do a lot of work before we get there in the end."
He continued, "There's a lot of parity out there, at least that's what people are excited about, fans and pundits are excited about. And I've never been a fan of parity. And what we do is the same whether we're ranked number one or number three. What we have to do is, we have to continue to get better every day in such a way that we widen the gap. There's no automatic, but there's also no reason why this team can't be the champion at the end."
Interestingly, he did note that while the team is ranked number one, no individual Iowa wrestler has a number one ranking now, nor are there any returning national champions on the team. But he does believe that this team has a number of wrestlers who could win national titles, including: heavyweight senior and two-time All-American Bobby Telford, 133-pound sophomore and returning All-American Cody Clark, 174-pound senior and two-time All-American Mike Evans, 125-pound sophomore and bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling at the 2014 junior world championships Thomas Gilman, and several others.
We also discussed the importance of wrestling freestyle for college wrestlers and how the team encourages that, why college wrestling needs a "more entertaining style" to appeal to fans, why the 1982 NCAA 177-pound finals between future Olympic champions Mark Schultz of Oklahoma and Ed Banach of Iowa is still one of his favorite matches to watch, the effect the court ruling which mandates that some colleges compensate some college athletes will have on Olympic sports in college like wrestling, why "entertainment will bring in fans", this Saturday's in-state showdown with longtime rival Iowa State, and much more.
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