The Dan Gable 72/72 event was held Sunday at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. Gable’s teammates from Iowa State like Ben Peterson and Carl Adams were there. Also Olympic teammate John Peterson. That is an impressive group that are all in the Hall of Fame.
It was great to see several of Gable’s former wrestlers make it. National champions Brad Penrith, Troy Steiner, Terry Steiner, Randy Lewis, and Royce Alger. Former Iowa Assistant Coach Mark Johnson was also there. Folks, that is a crew.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recognized Gable on his birthday yesterday in Des Moines with a Proclamation that September 25 was Dan Gable Day in the state of Iowa. That can be added to the Presidential Medal of Freedom that Gable received from President Trump on December 7, 2020. The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor possible for a United States citizen.
When you have been elected into every Hall of Fame possible for your sport and been awarded the highest honor available for your state and country, that is doing it all. With all of that, you can be assured Gable was at work promoting wrestling in some capacity again this morning. I saw Gable’s schedule book once at an airport. He had appointments booked for over two years in advance for speaking engagements and appearances throughout the country and the world. I told him he did more in retirement than most people do in their active career.
The events of the last two days served as a reminder to me of how much Dan Gable has done and continues to do for our sport of wrestling. I do not know of anyone in any other sport that has had an ambassador like Dan Gable is for wrestling. Gable has been the best at every level he has competed at. An undefeated three-time state champ at Waterloo West, two-time national champion at Iowa State, 1971 World Champion, 1972 Olympic gold medalist. Wrestler of the Century by Gannett Co. That is a clean sweep as a competitor.
However I believe what Gable did as a coach at the University of Iowa is even more impressive. Winning 15 NCAA team titles in twenty-one years is unreal. Won nine consecutive NCAA team titles. 21 straight Big Ten titles. 45 national champions, 152 All Americans. Three-time Olympic coach. ‘Sports Figure of the Century in Iowa’ by Sports Illustrated.
GOAT is being used on a daily basis to describe someone as the Greatest Of All Time. I think you probably know where my vote for GOAT in our sport of wrestling is going. When you have a sanctioned National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum named after you, that pretty much says it all.
As many times as I have read through the Gable stats as a wrestler and coach, I need a reminder from time to time. I think we all do.
There is a lot going on in our ever changing lives, country and world. There is at least one certainty. Dan Gable is still “The Man.”
It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.