Iowa State Cyclones wrestling

The Iowa State Cyclones wrestling team represents Iowa State University (ISU) and competes in the Big 12 Conference of NCAA Division I. The Cyclones are 8 time National Champions, 17 time National Runners-Up, and have 45 Top 4 "Trophy" Finishes. The team is coached by Kevin Dresser. The Cyclones host their home meets at Hilton Coliseum on Iowa State's campus. Iowa State became the first collegiate wrestling program to reach 1000 dual wins on February 7, 2010.[2]

Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State Cyclones logo.svg
UniversityIowa State University
Head CoachKevin Dresser (4th season)
ConferenceBig 12
LocationAmes, IA
ArenaHilton Coliseum
(Capacity: 14,356)
ColorsCardinal and gold[1]
Fight songISU Fights
Team national championships
National championship years
1933, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1987
NCAA individual champions
70 (by 50 athletes)
301 (by 79 athletes)
Conference championships
213 (by 84 athletes)
Conference Tournament championships
1929, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1947, 1958, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1993, 2007, 2008, 2009


Charles Mayser (1916–1923)Edit

Charles Mayser was the founding father of Iowa State wrestling. In addition to his wrestling coaching duties, “Uncle Charlie” performed coaching duties in baseball and football, as well as being the athletic director. Mayser joined the athletic staff in 1916, the initial season of Cyclone wrestling. He coached for eight years and was responsible for five undefeated teams during his tenure. Despite lack of equipment and facilities, Mayser’s squads dominated the Midwestern wrestling scene. His teams suffered only two defeats in his last six years and his last two squads were named unofficial national champions by Amateur Wrestling News. Mayser left Iowa State in 1923 to head the Franklin & Marshall College athletic department.

During his eight years at Iowa State, Mayser went 35–4 during including one conference championship.

Hugo Otopalik (1924–1953)Edit

Hugo Otopalik took over head coaching duties after serving as an assistant on Charles Mayser’s staff for four years. In his 28 years as head coach, Otopalik’s teams claimed seven conference championships and one NCAA title. He ended his illustrious career with a 159-66-5 mark and eight NCAA individual champions. Besides having a huge impact on Iowa State athletics, Otopalik also made his mark on the international scene. In 1932, Otopalik served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic squad, which captured the team title at the Los Angeles Games. He also headed the National AAU Wrestling Committee for five years.

During his 29 years at Iowa State, Otopalik went 159-65-6 including four conference championships and one NCAA championship.

Dr. Harold Nichols (1954–1985)Edit

When you talk Iowa State wrestling history, Harold Nichols looms large. From 1965–73, Nichols’ squads were the most dominant in wrestling, compiling five NCAA titles and three runner-up finishes. Nichols was named the successor to Hugo Otopalik in 1954 after serving as head coach at Arkansas State for five years. His ISU teams racked up six NCAA titles, seven Big Eight titles and produced 38 NCAA individual champions and 91 Big Eight titlists. His career record at Iowa State is an untouchable 456-75-11. Nichols was named coach of the year three times and was tabbed Wrestling Man of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News in 1966. He is a member of the Helms Foundation Wrestling Hall of Fame, Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame and served as vice-chairman of the United States Olympic Wrestling Committee. Nichols retired from coaching in 1985.

During his 31 years at Iowa State, Dr. Nichols went 456-75-11 including seven conference championships and six NCAA championships.

Jim Gibbons (1985–1992)Edit

In 1986, Jim Gibbons took over the reins of the Cyclone wrestling squad at age 26. Gibbons wrestled at ISU for Dr. Harold Nichols and earned All-America status three times, including the 1981 NCAA individual title at 134 pounds. Following his collegiate career, Gibbons served as an assistant coach at his alma mater for two years before taking over the head coaching duties. During his seven years as the Cyclone skipper, Gibbons’ squads claimed one Big Eight crown and captured the NCAA title in 1987. He also coached seven individual NCAA champions while compiling a 96-32-1 career coaching mark. After winning the NCAA Championships in 1987, Gibbons was named national coach of the year. He was named Big Eight Coach of the year in 1991. Gibbons retired from coaching after the 1992 season.

During his seven years at Iowa State, Gibbons went 96-32-1 including one conference championship and one NCAA championship.

Bobby Douglas (1992–2006)Edit

A wrestling legend in his own right, Bobby Douglas was an NCAA runner-up at Oklahoma State and part of two Olympic teams as a competitor, finishing fourth at featherweight in the 1964 Tokyo Games. He was captain of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team in Mexico. Douglas coached the 1992 U.S. Olympic team whose 10 members placed among the top 10 in their respective weight classes, a U.S. Olympic first. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic coaching staff in 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988. Douglas, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, was also on the 1996 and 2004 U.S. Olympic coaching staffs. Douglas began his collegiate coaching career at Cal-Santa Barbara before coaching three national champions and 58 All-Americans from 1975–92 at Arizona State. His 1988 Sun Devil squad won the NCAA team title in Ames. He furthered his legacy at Iowa State, winning 198 dual matches. Douglas coached Cyclone wrestlers to 10 individual NCAA titles and 52 All-America performances. He is one of four collegiate coaches to win at least 400 duals matches.

During his 14 years at Iowa State, Douglas went 198-75-3.

Cael Sanderson (2006–2009)Edit

Cael Sanderson, arguably the greatest collegiate wrestler of all time, took the reins of the Iowa State wrestling team at the start of the 2006–07 season. Sanderson led the Cyclone grapplers to an NCAA runner-up finish in his first year at the helm and guided the Iowa State squad to three consecutive Big 12 Conference championships. ISU didn’t finish outside of the top five at the NCAA Championships under Sanderson’s direction. After posting an undefeated record of 159–0 as a collegiate wrestler for ISU, Sanderson won an Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece. The former four-time NCAA champion brought aboard the top recruiting class in 2005, ranked by both Intermat and Amateur Wrestling News. Sanderson’s 2007–08 squad garnered seven All-Americans at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, which was Iowa State’s largest All-American count since seven earned honors in the 1992–93 season. In total, Cyclone wrestlers notched 15 All-America honors in his tenure. Cael Sanderson accepted the head coaching position at Penn State in April 2009.

During his three years at Iowa State, Sanderson went 44–10 including three conference championships.

Kevin Jackson (2009–2017)Edit

Kevin Jackson was introduced as Iowa State's head wrestling coach on April 30, 2009. As a college wrestler, he attended LSU and earned All-America honors three times before the school dropped the sport. He transferred to ISU for his senior year and captained the Cyclones’ last NCAA championship team (1987), earning another All-America award with an NCAA runner-up finish and registering a 30-3-1 record. In 1992, Jackson won a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games. Since 1992, Jackson has coached for team USA at three summer Olympics including being the head coach for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.[3] Jackson's last season for the Cyclones was a struggle, with a 1-12 dual meet record and scoring only one team point in the NCAA tournament.

Kevin Dresser (2017–present)Edit

Dresser was announced as the new head coach on February 20, 2017.[4]


Team championshipsEdit

Titles Type Year
National Championships[5]
8 NCAA Tournament Team Champions 1933, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1987
8 Total
Conference Championships[6]
14 Big Eight Conference Team Champion 1929, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1947, 1958, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1993
3 Big 12 Conference Team Champion 2007, 2008, 2009
17 Total

Individual NCAA championshipsEdit

Individual Conference championshipsEdit



Cyclones in the Olympics
Year Name Country Style Weight Class Place
1928 Amsterdam Arthur Holding   United States Greco-Roman 58 kg ALT
1932 Los Angeles Robert Hess   United States Freestyle 79 kg 4th
1932 Los Angeles Hugo Otopalik   United States Head Coach
1948 London Glen Brand   United States Freestyle 79 kg Gold
1956 Melbourne Kent Townley   United States Greco-Roman 57 kg 8th
1968 Mexico City Tom Peckham   United States Freestyle 87 kg 4th
1972 Munich Dan Gable   United States Freestyle 68 kg Gold
1972 Munich Ben Peterson   United States Freestyle 90 kg Gold
1972 Munich Chris Taylor   United States Freestyle + 100 kg Bronze
1972 Munich Bob Buzzard   United States Greco-Roman 62 kg DNP
1976 Montreal Ben Peterson   United States Freestyle 90 kg Bronze
1976 Montreal Mike Farina   United States Greco-Roman 48 kg T-8th
1980 Moscow Ben Peterson   United States Boycotted
1988 Seoul Nate Carr   United States Freestyle 68 kg Bronze
1992 Barcelona Kevin Jackson   United States Freestyle 82 kg Gold
1992 Barcelona Bobby Douglas   United States Head Coach
1996 Atlanta Bobby Douglas   United States Head Coach
2004 Athens Cael Sanderson   United States Freestyle 84 kg Gold
2004 Athens Bobby Douglas   United States Head Coach
2004 Athens Kevin Jackson   United States Coach
2008 Beijing Kevin Jackson   United States Coach
2012 London Jake Varner   United States Freestyle 96 kg Gold

Award winnersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "ISU Highlights". Iowa State University Trademark Licensing Office. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Cyclones Cruise To Win No. 1,000 Over ASU, 30-10 - Iowa State Athletics". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  3. ^ "Kevin Jackson Named ISU Head Wrestling Coach - Iowa State Athletics". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  4. ^ "Iowa State lands proven program-builder Kevin Dresser for wrestling post".
  5. ^ "Iowa State Wrestling Media Guide" (PDF). Iowa State University. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c Live " + fromNow + ". "Iowa State Athletics" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  8. ^ "Wrestling Hall of Fame | National Wrestling Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  9. ^ Wrestling, National (2005-09-13). "Kevin Jackson, Yojiro Uetake among 11 inducted into FILA Wrestling Hall of Fame | - USA Wrestling". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  10. ^ "Dan Hodge Trophy - WIN Magazine: Wrestling News". WIN Magazine. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Big 12 Athletes & Sportspersons of the Year - Big 12 Conference - Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  13. ^ Live " + fromNow + ". "Kyven Gadson - 2014-15 Wrestling Roster - Iowa State Athletics". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  14. ^