Legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable is about to add yet another award to his considerable collection of honors, one that he will share with former wrestler and Nobel Peace prize winner Norman Borlaug, among others.
Gable has been named the 2014 recipient of the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award, the organization Character Counts in Iowa announced Tuesday.
The award, named after former Iowa governor Robert Ray, is presented each year to individuals who consistently demonstrate good character as visible role models. According to the organization’s announcement, “The honor reflects former Governor Robert D. Ray’s lifelong commitment to civility and character development.”
Gable will be presented with the award on April 11, 2014 at Character Counts In Iowa’s All-Star Evening in West Des Moines, Iowa.
In addition to his accomplishments on the mat and on the sidelines as coach, Gable is known and respected throughout the world as a goodwill ambassador for the sport. That role took on added significance this year after the International Olympic Committee announced that wrestling would no longer be a core sport at the Olympics after the 2016 Games. Gable was a major force in efforts on behalf of the world wrestling community to have both freestyle and Greco-Roman competition return to the Olympics as a provisional sport for the 2020 and 2024 Games.
Gable received the good news just days before his 65th birthday on October 25.
Among others who have been honored with the Pillar of Character Award include Hayden Fry, College Football Hall of Fame coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes from 1979-1998, and Norman Bourlag, wrestler at Cresco High School in Iowa and at the University of Minnesota who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his breakthrough developments in crop production that helped feed billions throughout the world.
Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Gable crafted a perfect career as a wrestler at Waterloo West High – winning three Iowa state titles -- then was equally dominant at Iowa State, where he won all but one match in his collegiate career, losing his very last match as a Cyclone in the 142-pound finals at the 1970 NCAAs to University of Washington sophomore Larry Owings in what many fans and historians consider to be the greatest upset in NCAA finals history. Two years later, Gable won a gold medal in freestyle at the 1972 Munich Olympics without having a single point scored upon him. At the same time, he launched his coaching career at the University of Iowa, first as an assistant coach, then being promoted to head coach in 1976. Until his retirement in 1987, Gable’s Hawkeyes compiled an overall record of 355–21–5. He coached 152 all-Americans, 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten Champions and 12 Olympians, including four gold, one silver and three bronze medalists.
The award is named in honor of Robert Dolph Ray, who served as the 38th governor of Iowa from January 1969 to January 1983. He was the founder and board chairman of Character Counts In Iowa.
Want to know more about Dan Mack Gable? For photos and info, visit his official website... as well as the unofficial Fans of Dan Gable Yahoo group. And, click here for a complete roster of College Wrestling Examiner articles on Gable.
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