Iowa Hawkeye wrestling is unique. Few teams sell out an arena so often, garner a fan base quite passionate, and have the cult following as intense as this legendary wrestling program does year by year.
The Hawkeyes are presently led by Head Coach Tom Brands who won both Olympic and NCAA titles for the program and recently coached one of the most dominant college teams in the history of NCAA. He started competing for the Hawkeyes in 1988 and has been at the school almost every year since.
Under Tom Brands, the Hawks have won NCAA titles for three times, trained 20 World Team and Olympic members, and produced the NCAA champions for 12 times. Brands also coached two of the three Hawkeyes who have also won the Hodge Trophy, wrestling’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. The team has won five Big Ten Championships and produced 82 All-Americans, too. Along with his assistant coach Ryan Morningstar and his brother Terry, Iowa has continued the excellence that began even before their time.
The first team championship came in 1975 under Head Coach Gary Kurdelmeier, who was an NCAA champion for the Hawkeyes himself in 1958. While Kurdelmeier would continue to be inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, his biggest contribution was creating a winning culture and a dominant program that continued to win 22 more team titles.
Iowa wrestling’s most remarkable stats, records
The Hawkeyes have led the nation in attendance for each of Tom Brands’ 14 years as head coach. The program broke a new attendance record in 2020 with 12,568.4 fans.
Iowa hasn’t lost a dual to in-state rival Iowa State since Tom Brands took over the program. The Hawkeyes are 15-0 against the Cyclones.
In NCAA wrestling history, Iowa has the second-longest winning streak with 69 wins.
Iowa has also won the most consecutive national titles of any wrestling team in NCAA history, and the streak of nine titles, is the second among the streaks for any Division I men’s sports team in the NCAA.