How many of us who were fans of an athlete as a kid, have the opportunity to not only spend time with that childhood hero as an adult, but also tell his story in a book?
Like so many high school wrestlers in the 1970s, writer Scott Schulte’s bedroom walls were covered by posters and cut-out magazine photos of his sports idol, Dan Gable. Schulte not only met his hero in person, but also found himself being used as a “dummy” for Gable to demonstrate a move during a wrestling clinic in the writer’s home state of Connecticut. And like most young wrestlers, Schulte figured that would be extent of his contact with Gable, the 1972 Olympic gold medalist and dominating coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. That all changed with the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Iowa City.
“I had been kicking around the idea for a different way to write biographies, and I was looking for someone to write about,” said Schulte. “I met Coach Gable because I was interested in writing a magazine story about his sister’s death. I was nervous to talk to him. He’s Dan Gable!”
The two met, the story on the murder of his sister Diane which took place over Memorial Day weekend in 1964 in the family's Waterloo, Iowa home – the darkest moment of Dan Gable’s life – was written, and Schulte, who was living in Utah at the time, pitched his book idea to Gable… and the man who the writer worshipped as a kid said yes. “I was so excited when he agreed to do the book, I hung up the phone and literally did a happy dance in my apartment,” said Schulte.
The book, with the working title, “Dan Gable: A Life in Stories”, will be published by University of Iowa Press, and is slated for release in spring 2015. Schulte said the experience in working so closely with Gable has been life-changing. “The first time I went to Iowa to do interviews, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect from coach Gable personally. Within minutes of conducting interviews and listening to his stories I felt comfortable. I could tell he was invested in the project and respected me professionally.”
Some of Schulte’s favorite time has been as the two drove in Gable’s pickup truck. Gable talked and even offered personal advice. It was during one of these moments, Schulte enjoyed simply listening – and learning. “Coach Gable had volumes of experiences and he is one of the wisest people I have ever met,” said Schulte. “He does a lot of public speaking. One time were going through an ice storm and the thought that came to me was, ‘I get to spend time with Dan Gable!’ It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Schulte is somewhat reflective of the time he spent in the legendary wrestler and coach’s company, saying “When the book is out, and Coach and I don’t have reasons to be on the phone all the time, I’m going to miss it. As great a wrestler and coach he is, Dan Gable is even a better friend.”
More information on the upcoming “Dan Gable: A Life in Stories” book is available from Allison Means, Marketing Manager at University of Iowa Press at Allisonfirstname.lastname@example.org, who can also arrange interviews with the author or Gable.