Iowa wins 2016 Mike Chapman Impact Award

NEWTON, Iowa — It’s no secret that the University of Iowa wrestling program has led the nation in attendance the past ten years, but Iowa Wrestling — led by its head coach Tom Brands, assistant coaches, athletic administration and its fans — made even more wrestling news this past fall when they put on the “Grapple on the Gridiron,” Nov. 14, 2015, in the Kinnick football stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.

iowa wrestling logoThe outdoor event, which saw Iowa defeat long-time rival Oklahoma State in a dual meet, also drew a record 42,287 fans … to kick off a five-month period that also saw the university successfully host the Big Ten Championships and Olympic Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Because of this success, Brands and Iowa Wrestling were named the winners of the 2016 Mike Chapman Impact Award.

grapple on gridiron art“I cannot remember any event that sparked more positive comments for the sport of wrestling than the ‘Grapple on the Gridiron.’ I think it was wonderful that fans showed up in such numbers,” said Mike Chapman, the founder of WIN Magazine and the Dan Hodge Trophy.

Tom Brands

Tom Brands

“I think you dedicate the award to the fans,” Brands said. “They didn’t just show up. They showed up in droves. The day we announced it, I said there is only one place where fans are kooky enough to do this, that’s at the University of Iowa. The Iowa fan is a unique entity all by themselves.”

This also happened in an academic year that saw Iowa athletics deal with the success of the football and men’s basketball teams that were ranked as high as No. 4 in the country.

“Because we have a great staff, we have people who get excited about putting on unique events,” UI athletics director Gary Barta said. “When they first came to me a couple years ago on our first-go around with the Olympic Trials, we had to spend a lot of time thinking about it. When we said yes, we knew there was a lot of risk involved. We also knew there was risk in the “Grapple on the Gridiron.” One week later, we were removing nine inches of snow off Kinnick Stadium.

“But there is a culture and a group of people here who love to try new things, knowing they are not going to get much sleep for several days.”

A more detailed story of this announcement can be found in the latest issue of WIN, which was printed June 1. To subscribe to WIN, call 888-303-0606 or go to

Mike and Bev Chapman

Mike and Bev Chapman

All-Time Mike Chapman Impact Award Winners

Year     Name

2016 Tom Brands & Iowa Wrestling
2015 Andy Barth & Wayne Boyd, Titan Mercury WC
2014 Martin Floreani, FloWrestling
2013 Jim & Bill Scherr, Save Olympic Wrestling
2012 Billy Baldwin, Binghamton & Clay McEldowney, ASC
2011 Tim Curley and Penn State Athletic Department
2010 Greg Hatcher, Arkansas Wrestling
2009 Bob Ferraro, NHSCA, and Scott Casber, TDRTV
2008 Tom Ryan, Ohio State head coach
2007 Ivan Ivanov, USOEC head Greco coach
2006 Al and Chris Bevilacqua, Beat the Streets
2005 Jack Roller, World of Wrestling
2004 Rulon Gardner, Two-time Olympic medal winner
2003 Toby Willis and Matt Case, RealProWrestling
2002 Larry Joseph and Eric Pearson, Title IX
2001 Lou Goldstein
2000 Eric LeSher
1999 Mike and Bev Chapman, International Wrestling Institute and Museum
1998 Kimberly Schuld and Doug Brooker, IPTV
1997 Dan Gable, Iowa head coach, and Leo Kocher, Title IX
1996 Dave and Nancy Schultz
1995 Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, and Dale Anderson










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