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Dan Gable: From pins to pen

November 15, 2017
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

You can't talk about wrestling, especially in Iowa, without also talking about Dan Gable. Gable is an institution not only in Iowa but for the sport of wrestling itself. Gable coached Iowa to 15 NCAA titles, had a 21-year record of 355-21-5, a Big Ten record of 131-2-1, 21 Big Ten Team Titles, was a 3 time NCAA Coach of the Year and also earned a gold medal at the Olympics in 1972 as well as coached 12 Hawkeye Olympians. And those are just a few of his accomplishments from his storied career.

More recently Gable added author to that list of achievements. Gable penned his first book titled A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable in 2015. The book tells stories from his childhood in Waterloo to overcoming the murder of his sister as a teenager and moves into stories of his earliest wrestling matches then through the 1972 Olympics. He had so much success with the book that hit the New York Times best seller list he recently wrote another. A Wrestling Life 2: More Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable was released earlier this year.

Gable recently hit the road for books signings teaming up with Casey's General Store for signing locations. He came to Toledo Casey's on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Travelling with him was Mike Doughty of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Museum.

Article Photos

Dan Gable made a stop on his book tour at the Toledo Caseys on Nov. 1. Gable will be on his book tour, hitting up several Caseys around the state over the next few weeks.

Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

Gable's reputation very much speaks for itself. As people filed into Casey's for a soft drink and slice of pizza they got a bit of a surprise seeing Gable. People's eyes genuinely lit up being in the presence of Gable's greatness. One Toledo citizen even got to show off his own accomplishment to Gable. Jerry Dolash had just bagged a buck. Dolash escorted Gable to his truck to show off the buck.

Gable is no stranger to the South Tama community. He recruited the Hand brothers to wrestle for him at Iowa. Wes was in the National finals for Iowa. Paul Bradley also wrestled for Iowa and continues his career today in California as a coach and a MMA competitor.

"South Tama has been involved with the University of Iowa wrestling as long as I have been and I'm sure that they were there even before I was there because I was an Iowa Stater and I know that South Tama had some good wrestlers back when I was wrestling on University of Iowa's team. As much as I'd like to say I invented wrestling I picked it up because someone was wrestling before me and this community of South Tama has been around the sport forever and I really appreciate that," said Gable.

Just like Gable's career has morphed from athlete to coach and now to author the sport of wrestling is also seeing changes. One of those changes is the growing number of females in the sport which has long been dominated by men.

Last year Iowa had roughly 82 female wrestlers grappling around the state. What the State lacks however, is a dedicated tournament for girls. According to Gable though he doesn't feel that that is very far off.

"(In female wrestling) I think we are a bit of a conservative state meaning that we don't have our own State Tournament for girls yet and we need that. We are such a good wrestling state that we should be looking out for our sport and we need that because our leadership at the Olympic level has female wrestling. We just don't have it as much as we should at the lower levels. Because of that we are kind of hurting ourselves in the men's department. All of a sudden, they don't want us to go to the Olympics because we don't have a female comparable sport. We need to catch up and Iowa needs to help out a little bit more than they are. Not that they are not but we need to take a little bit bigger jump."



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