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Iowa wrestling coach speaks in Estherville

By Staff | Jul 15, 2008

Following a day of golfing at Iowa Lakes Community College’s Linda Heldt Memorial Laker Golf Scholarship Outing on Saturday, those that chose to attend the subsequent social at the Elks Lodge received a treat as University of Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands was the guest speaker.

In his first year as head coach at Iowa in 2007-08, Brands led the Hawkeyes to their first national title in eight years.

When he speaks, Brands’ passion for wrestling, family and life is evident.

To Saturday’s audience, he spoke of his coaching philosophy, a little about his own wrestling career and the upcoming 2008 Olympics.

After the Hawkeyes won, Brands’ and the team’s philosophy was to celebrate a little and then go back to work.

“We started thinking about 2009 and St. Louis. We also host both Minnesota and Iowa State in dual meets.”

When Iowa won this season, Brands said there was more excitement then he remembered then when he wrestled at Iowa.

“That’s because the standard came back,” he said.

Brands, who also won an Olympic Gold Medal, said when you work for something your entire life, the big deal isn’t when you win, it’s when you don’t attain it.

“In individual athletics you are defined by winning,” he said. “There are two motivating factors-the expectations to win and those that want you to fail.”

The Sheldon native said he cut his teeth on the sport of wrestling.

Brands, who graduated in 1987 from Sheldon, said by the time his class was seniors, the top wrestlers in the nation were concentrated in Northwest Iowa.

“They made an impact both nationally and internationally,” Brands said as he listed several wrestlers who went to Iowa in the last 1980s.

After winning nine championships in a row, Iowa was down a little bit losing to Iowa State in 1987 and then falling to sixth before bouncing back to third and back to the top.

“(Former head coach and wrestling legend Dan) Gable realized he not only needed a great team, but great leaders that could help coach,” Brands said.

Iowa assistant coach Doug Schwab will compete in the 2008 Olympics at 66 kilograms.

Brands said the former Hawkeye wrestler was married two weeks ago. Also thiks year his first child was born and his grandparents died.

“No one is giving him a chance,” said Brands. “But his focus is there on wrestling, family and his kid.”

Brands said former Hawkeye Mike Zadick also doesn’t have it easy.

Zadick, who didn’t qualify for the Olympics, will still travel to China and continue training with the team. However, he only will wrestler if something happens to a qualifier. Wrestlers from other countries also are in the same position.

“So even if he gets a shot, he might not get a shot,” Brands said.

Brands concluded by encouraging the audience to watch Olympic wrestling and all the Olympics.