Iowa wrestling complex among the best
By Nick Richards – The Daily Iowan
Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Before you enter the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex, images of him
shouting instructions grace the wall, along with posters of Iowa’s
dominant wrestling teams over the years, reminding one of the tradition
of the program. That’s before you even go into the wrestling room.
Upon entering the room, the stifling heat of a workout blasts through
the door. A trophy case stares you in the face, nearly overflowing with
Iowa’s loot over the years. Adjacent to the case are the names of the
Hawkeye All-Americans, 203 of them in the last 31 years, including
those who have won numerous times. Three full-size mats lie in the
middle of the room, surrounded by weights, exercise bikes, and a locker
room. Not only are these facilities some of the best on campus, they
are some of the best in the nation.
“We have everything we pretty much need in our room, “junior Ty Eustice
said. “It works out well for us being alone and being separate, because
what we do is a little different from everybody else.”
The complex is part of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which was completed in
1983 at a cost of $18 million. The complex includes the current
practice room, which features most of the training equipment the team
needs. In addition to a weight room and locker room, there are also
saunas and climbing ropes. The wrestlers run the stairs in Carver,
sometimes carrying each other on their backs. It has, in many ways,
become a second home for many of the wrestlers.
“I really can’t see myself working out [anywhere else], “Eustice said.
“When I go back home to my high school, it’s real hard for me to work
out because I’m so used to this place and how nice it is.”
While the complex is a big draw for recruits, Iowa’s tradition is the
ultimate selling point. It is a symbol of the powerful program that has
dominated the wrestling world for 30 years.
“I think the major selling point was the winning, “said Gable, who
coached from 1977-97. “The winning and the tradition of the program
will definitely outplay facilities. When you’re dominating like the
Hawkeyes were at the time, it doesn’t matter what your facilities are.”
When compared with other wrestling rooms, Iowa’s dwarfs the
competition. While many rooms are as big, Iowa’s has better equipment.
Rooms such as Minnesota’s and Nebraska’s don’t compare with Iowa’s.
“[Minnesota’s room] is in a L-shape, too, and there are pillars in it, “
Eustice, a Minnesota recruit said. “They made it work for them, but
it’s not as nice as ours.”
After 20 national titles, 26 Big Ten championships, 203 All-Americans,
and 60 individual NCAA champions since 1974, it’s hard to imagine the
wrestling team without the best facilities. But when Gable arrived in
October of 1972 as an assistant, the team was still in the Field House,
and the equipment was substandard. The mats, an obvious necessity for a
successful program, were in bad shape.
“They were not nearly the facility we have here, “Gable said. “It was
OK, but we kind of shared the locker room with a lot of the staff and
recreation people, actually with the basketball staff at that time.”
Despite having one of the best wrestling rooms in the country, some
equipment will need to be replaced. Some of it has been around since
1983. Much of the weights and retractable bleachers are the original
equipment and need to be replaced.
“We’re probably not as current as we probably could be in that area, “
Gable said. “I saw Coach Zalesky removing bleachers that were there for
years. After a while, certain things break down. As far as the space,
it’s probably adequate for what they need.”
While some feel bad for the other programs on campus struggling to
maintain their facilities and having to share with other teams, the
wrestling-team members feel they have earned the right to have their
“Sometimes we go over to the football facility, and we’re kind of
jealous of some of the things they have, “Eustice said. “Even we still
wish we had more, but as far as other programs, yeah, that’s too bad. I
just think as hard as we work, we need the things we have.”