Photo: Iowa’s Michael Kemerer (left) and Michigan’s Logan Massa, who are ranked...
Kevin Dresser named WIN’s 2016 Dan Gable Coach of the Year
NEWTON, Iowa — Kevin Dresser, the head coach at Virginia Tech, once wrestled for Dan Gable and was part of the University of Iowa legacy that saw Dresser win an NCAA individual championship for the Hawkeyes in 1986.
Thirty years later, Dresser couldn’t help but think of his former coach, especially after his Hokies captured the school’s first-ever NCAA team trophy when Virginia Tech finished fourth in the 2016 NCAA Division I Championships in New York City.
And because of leading the Hokies to a school-record finish in Madison Square Garden in March, Dresser has been named the winner of WIN’s 2016 Dan Gable Coach of the Year Award.
“The thing that was most impressive to me about Gable was that he put together a great environment, a very competitive environment, where you would have a lot of good guys with great work ethics feeding off of each other,” recalled Dresser, the 53-year-old native of Humboldt, Iowa, who became the third former Hawkeye to lead the Tech program in 2006.
“The signs of Virginia Tech’s rise to success and tradition go back to Keith Mourlam (1996-2004), then Tom Brands (2004-06), and now Kevin Dresser (2006-present),” said Gable, whose 20 teams captured 15 NCAA team championships between 1978 and 1997.
“I really have been following that program because of the Iowa connection. Kevin has a mind for promotion and for bringing his athletes along that’s pretty special. He has that same insight for success as a coach that he had as an athlete.”
Two years after winning his NCAA title at 142 pounds, Dresser began a 30-year run in the state of Virginia, first at Grundy and Christiansburg high schools before heading up the Hokie program that has finished in the top ten of the NCAAs the past four years.
What made this year’s national finish — one point over Iowa in the team race — more remarkable is that his highest-seeded wrestler, Joey Dance at 125, failed to place.
But in the end, Dresser saw six of his eight NCAA wrestlers earn All-American honors: Solomon Chishko, 6th at 141; Nick Brascetta, 3rd at 157; David McFadden, 6th at 165; Zach Epperly, 3rd at 174; Jared Haught, 6th at 197; and Ty Walz, 4th at heavyweight.
What made these Hokies’ performances even more unique is that they had to do it the “hard way”, combining to win 20 of 28 consolation matches, including seven straight wrestleback victories by Epperly, who was upset in the first round.
Dresser also has done an excellent job of marketing the program that has held several dual meets on the stage of Tech’s Moss Arts Center.
A more detailed story of this announcement can be found in the latest issue of WIN, which was printed May 27. To subscribe to WIN, call 888-303-0606 or go to https://subscribe.win-magazine.com.
All-Time Dan Gable Coach of the Year Winners
|2016||Kevin Dresser, Virginia Tech|
|2015||Tom Ryan, Ohio State|
|2014||Tim Flynn, Edinboro|
|2013||Cael Sanderson, Penn State, & Jim Miller Wartburg|
|2012||J Robinson, Minnesota|
|2011||Cael Sanderson, Penn State|
|2010||Tom Brands, Iowa|
|2009||Mark Manning, Nebraska|
|2008||Tom Brands, Iowa|
|2007||Brian Smith, Missouri|
|2006||Mike Denney, Nebraska-Omaha|
|2005||Rob Koll, Cornell|
|2004||Jim Miller, Wartburg|
|2003||John Smith, Oklahoma State|
|2002||Bobby Douglas, Iowa State|
|2001||J Robinson, Minnesota|
|2000||Greg Strobel, Lehigh|
|1999||Jim Zalesky, Iowa|
|1998||Tom Borrelli (Central Michigan) and J Robinson (Minnesota)|
|1997||Lars Jensen (San Francisco State) and Mark Johnson (Illinois)|