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Va. Tech’s Dresser, UNI’s Schwab to be inducted into Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame

Virginia Tech wrestling coach Kevin Dresser (left) and Northern Iowa's Doug Schwab are among Class of 2014 honorees for the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame
Virginia Tech wrestling coach Kevin Dresser (left) and Northern Iowa's Doug Schwab are among Class of 2014 honorees for the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame
Virginia Tech; University of Northern Iowa

Two top college wrestling coaches, along with a successful high school coach, and two Olympic medalists, all with Iowa roots, are members of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, the facility located in Cresco, Iowa announced Tuesday.

This year’s inductees include Virginia Tech head coach Kevin Dresser and University of Northern Iowa’s Doug Schwab, as well as 1920s Olympians Nat Pendleton and Allie Morrison, and high school coach Tom Kettman. The ceremony will take place Monday, April 7 at the Cresco Country Club, south of the northeast Iowa community where the Iowa Wrestling Hall is located.

Dresser, a native of Humboldt, Iowa (hometown of early 1900s wrestling pioneer Frank Gotch), was a two-time state champ who went on to wrestle at the University of Iowa. Among Dresser’s accomplishments as a Hawkeye: two-time Big Ten champion and two-time NCAA All-American who claimed the 142-pound title at the 1986 NCAA championships. After nearly two decades as a high school coach in Virginia, Dresser took the helm at Virginia Tech. Just last season, Dresser’s Hokies won the 2013 ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) championship, and he was named Coach of the Year.

Schwab wrestled at Osage High School, where he won the 130-pound title at the 1996 Iowa state championships. He then headed south to University of Iowa, where he was three-time NCAA All-American, winning the 141-pound crown at the 1999 NCAAs. Schwab continued to make his mark in the sport in international competition, wrestling freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Schwab launched his coaching career as an assistant at Virginia Tech and Iowa before being named head coach at the University of Northern Iowa in 2010. His Panthers just finished the 2013-14 season undefeated at 12-0, the program’s best record since it first took to the mat in 1923.

Kettman, a two-time NCAA Division III qualifier at Iowa’s Loras College, has coached wrestling at Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville for 30 years – nineteen as an assistant to Dan Mashek and eleven as the head man. At the helm of the Dons, Kettman can claim 17 individual state champs; his teams have won five traditional state titles and seven dual state titles.

Nathaniel “Nat” Pendleton, a Davenport native who wrestled at Columbia University, earned a silver medal at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium before becoming a famous professional wrestler and film star. Marshalltown native Allie Morrison wrestled at the University of Illinois, then won the gold medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, becoming the first native Iowan to win Olympic gold in any sport. Both are deceased.

Banquet tickets for the 2014 induction are available at the Cresco Chamber of Commerce (563-547-3434) and CIA Insurance in Cresco (563-547-2382). Tickets are $25, and advance registration is required.

The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, located in downtown Cresco, honors wrestlers and coaches who were born in the state of Iowa. (It is not affiliated with the University of Iowa, nor does it limit honorees to former Hawkeyes.) Information about the hall and its inductees is available at their website.

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