Iowa State Cyclones wrestling

Iowa State Cyclones
University Iowa State University
Conference Big 12
Location Ames, IA
Head Coach Kevin Jackson (6th year)
Arena Hilton Coliseum
(Capacity: 14,356)
Nickname Cyclones
Colors Cardinal and Gold[1]
Total Team National Championships
NCAA Individual National Championships
1933, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1987[2]
NCAA Individual Champions
Conference Championships
Conference Tournament Championships
1929, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1947, 1958, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1993, 2007, 2008, 2009

Iowa State has won 8 national championships in wrestling. Iowa State's head coach is Kevin Jackson. Iowa State became the first collegiate wrestling program to reach 1000 dual wins on February 7, 2010.[3]


Charles Mayser

Charles Mayser was the founding father of Iowa State wrestling. “Uncle Charlie” performed coaching duties in wrestling and football, as well as being director of athletics. Mayser joined the athletic staff in 1916, the initial season of Cyclone wrestling. He coached for eight years and was responsible for five undefeated teams during his tenure. Despite lack of equipment and facilities, Mayser’s squads dominated the Midwestern wrestling scene. His teams suffered only two defeats in his last six years and his last two squads were named unofficial national champions by Amateur Wrestling News. Mayser left Iowa State in 1923 to head the Franklin and Marshall athletic department.

Hugo Otopalik

Hugo Otopalik took over head coaching duties after serving as an assistant on Charles Mayser’s staff for four years. In his 28 years as head coach, Otopalik’s teams claimed seven conference championships and one NCAA title. He ended his illustrious career with a 159-66-5 mark and eight NCAA individual champions. Besides having a huge impact on Iowa State athletics, Otopalik also made his mark on the international scene. In 1932, Otopalik served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic squad, which captured the team title at the Los Angeles Games. He also headed the National AAU Wrestling Committee for five years.

Harold Nichols

When you talk Iowa State wrestling history, Harold Nichols looms large. From 1965–73, Nichols’ squads were the most dominant in wrestling, compiling five NCAA titles and three runner-up finishes. Nichols was named the successor to Hugo Otopalik in 1954 after serving as head coach at Arkansas State for five years. His ISU teams racked up six NCAA titles, seven Big Eight titles and produced 38 NCAA individual champions and 91 Big Eight titlists. His career record at Iowa State is an untouchable 456-75-11. Nichols was named coach of the year three times and was tabbed Wrestling Man of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News in 1966. He is a member of the Helms Foundation Wrestling Hall of Fame, Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame and served as vice-chairman of the United States Olympic Wrestling Committee. Nichols retired from coaching in 1985.

Jim Gibbons

In 1986, Jim Gibbons took over the reins of the Cyclone wrestling squad at age 26. Gibbons wrestled at ISU for Dr. Harold Nichols and earned All-America status three times, including the 1981 NCAA individual title at 134 pounds. Following his collegiate career, Gibbons served as an assistant coach at his alma mater for two years before taking over the head coaching duties. During his seven years as the Cyclone skipper, Gibbons’ squads claimed one Big Eight crown and captured the NCAA title in 1987. He also coached seven individual NCAA champions while compiling a 96-32-1 career coaching mark. After winning the NCAA Championships in 1987, Gibbons was named national coach of the year. He was named Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1991. Gibbons retired from coaching after the 1992 season.

Bobby Douglas

A wrestling legend in his own right, Bobby Douglas was an NCAA runner-up at Oklahoma State and part of two Olympic teams as a competitor, finishing fourth at featherweight in the 1964 Tokyo Games. He was captain of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team in Mexico. Douglas coached the 1992 U.S. Olympic team whose 10 members placed among the top 10 in their respective weight classes, a U.S. Olympic first. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic coaching staff in 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988. Douglas, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, was also on the 1996 and 2004 U.S. Olympic coaching staffs. Douglas began his collegiate coaching career at Cal-Santa Barbara before coaching three national champions and 58 All-Americans from 1975–92 at Arizona State. His 1988 Sun Devil squad won the NCAA team title in Ames. He furthered his legacy at Iowa State, winning 198 dual matches. Douglas coached Cyclone wrestlers to 10 individual NCAA titles and 52 All-America performances. He is one of four collegiate coaches to win at least 400 duals matches.

Cael Sanderson

Cael Sanderson (born June 20, 1979, in Salt Lake City, Utah), (pronounced "kale") is considered one of the greatest American amateur wrestlers of all time. A 2004 Olympic champion in Athens, Greece, he went undefeated in four years of college wrestling at Iowa State (159–0), winning four consecutive NCAA titles (1999–2002). He was the first NCAA wrestler to go undefeated with more than 100 wins. Sports Illustrated named his college career as the second most impressive college sports feat behind Jesse Owens' four Olympic world record-setting performance.[4]

Cael Sanderson accepted the head coaching position at Penn State in April 2009. Cael Sanderson was 44–10 as head coach at Iowa State.

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson was introduced as Iowa State's head wrestling coach on April 30, 2009. As a college wrestler, he attended LSU and earned All-America honors three times before the school dropped the sport. He transferred to Iowa State for his senior year and captained the Cyclones’ last NCAA championship team (1987), earning another All-America award with a NCAA runner-up finish and registering a 30-3-1 record. In 1992, Jackson won a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games. Since 1992, Jackson has coached for team USA at three summer Olympics including being the head coach for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.[5]



1928 Amsterdam

  • Arthur Holding
  • Ralph Prunty

1932 Los Angeles

  • Bob Hess
  • Hugo Otopalik, Coach

1948 London

  • Glen Brand, Gold Medalist

1956 Melbourne

  • Kent Townley

1964 Tokyo

  • Bobby Douglas

1968 Mexico City

  • Bobby Douglas
  • Tom Peckham

1972 Munich

  • Dan Gable, Gold Medalist
  • Ben Peterson, Gold Medalist
  • Chris Taylor, Bronze Medalist
  • Greco-Roman
  • Bob Buzzard
  • Greco-Roman

1976 Montreal

  • Ben Peterson, Silver Medalist
  • Mike Farina
  • Greco-Roman

1980 Moscow

  • Ben Peterson

1984 Los Angeles

  • Bobby Douglas, Coach

1988 Seoul

  • Nate Carr, Bronze Medalist
  • Bobby Douglas, Coach

1992 Barcelona

  • Kevin Jackson, Gold Medalist
  • Bobby Douglas, Head Coach

1996 Atlanta

  • Bobby Douglas, Coach

2000 Sydney

  • Kevin Jackson, Coach

2004 Athens

  • Cael Sanderson, Gold Medalist
  • Bobby Douglas, Coach
  • Kevin Jackson, Coach

2008 Beijing

  • Kevin Jackson, Head Coach

2012 London

  • Jake Varner, Gold Medalist
  • Cael Sanderson, Coach


Titles Type Year
National Championships[6]
8 NCAA Tournament Team Champions 1933, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1987
8 Total
Conference Championships[6]
14 Big Eight Conference Team Champion 1929, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1947, 1958, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1993[7]
3 Big 12 Conference Team Champion 2007, 2008, 2009
17 Total


Dan Hodge Trophy


Season Coach Record Conference NCAA
1916 Charles Mayser 1-1
1917 Charles Mayser 2-0
1918 Charles Mayser 1-1
1919 Charles Mayser 3-0
1920 Charles Mayser 5-1
1921 Charles Mayser 7-1
1922 Charles Mayser 8-0
1923 Charles Mayser 8-0
1924 Hugo Otopalik 9-0 2nd
1925 Hugo Otopalik 6-0 2nd
1926 Hugo Otopalik 8-1 2nd
1927 Hugo Otopalik 8-1 2nd
1928 Hugo Otopalik 7-2 2nd 2nd
1929 Hugo Otopalik 7-1
1930 Hugo Otopalik 6-3 4th
1931 Hugo Otopalik 9-1 2nd
1932 Hugo Otopalik 6-3 3rd
1933 Hugo Otopalik 6-1 1st 1st
1934 Hugo Otopalik 8-2 2nd
1935 Hugo Otopalik 4-3 2nd
1936–37 Hugo Otopalik 4-2-2 2nd
1937 Hugo Otopalik 6-2-1 1st 10th
1938 Hugo Otopalik 8-0 2nd 11th
1939 Hugo Otopalik 3-3 2nd
1940 Hugo Otopalik 4-4 2nd 9th
1941 Hugo Otopalik 7-3 1st 13th
1942 Hugo Otopalik 3-3
1943 Hugo Otopalik 1–3
1944 No Wrestling
1945 No Wrestling
1946 Hugo Otopalik 3-1 7th
1947 Hugo Otopalik 4-3 1st 8th
1948 Hugo Otopalik 5-5-1 3rd 9th
1949 Hugo Otopalik 2-6-1 3rd 14th
1950 Hugo Otopalik 4–6 3rd
1951 Hugo Otopalik 5-5 3rd
1951–52 Hugo Otopalik 6-2 2nd
1953 Hugo Otopalik 9-1 2nd 19th
1954 Dr. Harold Nichols 8-0 2nd
1955 Dr. Harold Nichols 7-1 2nd
1956 Dr. Harold Nichols 8-3 2nd 21st
1957 Dr. Harold Nichols 9-3-1 2nd 3rd
1958 Dr. Harold Nichols 10-0-2 1st 2nd
1959 Dr. Harold Nichols 11-3 2nd 2nd
1960 Dr. Harold Nichols 12-3 3rd 2nd
1960–61 Dr. Harold Nichols 13-1-2 3rd 3rd
1962 Dr. Harold Nichols 12-1-1 3rd 30th
1962–63 Dr. Harold Nichols 13-1 3rd 2nd
1963–64 Dr. Harold Nichols 13-0-1 2nd 3rd
1965 Dr. Harold Nichols 14-1 2nd 1st
1965–66 Dr. Harold Nichols 13-2 3rd 2nd
1966–67 Dr. Harold Nichols 12-3-1 2nd 3rd
1967–68 Dr. Harold Nichols 12-3 3rd 2nd
1968–69 Dr. Harold Nichols 15-1 3rd 1st
1969–70 Dr. Harold Nichols 15-2 1st 1st
1970–71 Dr. Harold Nichols 17-0 2nd 2nd
1971–72 Dr. Harold Nichols 16-1 2nd 1st
1972–73 Dr. Harold Nichols 18-1 2nd 1st
1973–74 Dr. Harold Nichols 13-5 3rd 4th
1974–75 Dr. Harold Nichols 16-2-2 3rd 4th
1975–76 Dr. Harold Nichols 19-2 1st 2nd
1976–77 Dr. Harold Nichols 18-2-1 1st 1st
1977–78 Dr. Harold Nichols 19-2 2nd 2nd
1978–79 Dr. Harold Nichols 18-3 1st 2nd
1979–80 Dr. Harold Nichols 18-4 1st 3rd
1980–81 Dr. Harold Nichols 19-2 2nd 3rd
1981–82 Dr. Harold Nichols 17-2 1st 2nd
1982–83 Dr. Harold Nichols 14-4 2nd 3rd
1983–84 Dr. Harold Nichols 13-7 2nd 7th
1984–85 Dr. Harold Nichols 20-7 3rd 3rd
1985–86 Jim Gibbons 19-1 2nd 4th
1986–87 Jim Gibbons 14-3 1st 1st
1987–88 Jim Gibbons 17-4 2nd 3rd
1988–89 Jim Gibbons 8-9-1 2nd 3rd
1989–90 Jim Gibbons 14-9 4th 9th
1990–91 Jim Gibbons 13-3 2nd 5th
1991–92 Jim Gibbons 13-3 2nd 4th
1992–93 Bobby Douglas 13-4 2nd 6th
1993–94 Bobby Douglas 7-7 4th 10th
1994–95 Bobby Douglas 17-4 4th 14th
1995–96 Bobby Douglas 12-6-1 4th 2nd
1996–97 Bobby Douglas 10-7-1 2nd 4th
1997–98 Bobby Douglas 12-8 4th 6th
1998–99 Bobby Douglas 20-5-1 3rd 4th
1999-00 Bobby Douglas 20-2 2nd 2nd
2000–01 Bobby Douglas 19-4 3rd 6th
2001–02 Bobby Douglas 17-5 3rd 2nd
2002–03 Bobby Douglas 8–10 5th 19th
2003–04 Bobby Douglas 16-4 3rd 6th
2004–05 Bobby Douglas 16-2 2nd 10th
2005–06 Bobby Douglas 11-7 4th 13th
2006–07 Cael Sanderson 13-3 1st 2nd
2007–08 Cael Sanderson 16-4 1st 5th
2008–09 Cael Sanderson 15-3 1st 3rd
2009–10 Kevin Jackson 13-2 2nd 3rd
2010–11 Kevin Jackson 9–10 5th 20th
2011–12 Kevin Jackson 4–14 4th 35th
2012–13 Kevin Jackson 11-5 2nd 11th
2013–14 Kevin Jackson 9-7 3rd 12th


See also


External links

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