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Humboldt native Kevin Dresser to take over as Iowa State wrestling coach


AMES, Iowa – Kevin Dresser, the 2016 National Wrestling Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year, has agreed to return home to his native state to become Iowa State’s Head Wrestling Coach. Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard made the announcement Monday afternoon.

The 54-year-old Humboldt, Iowa native, built a national power at Virginia Tech. Inheriting a team that won one dual in the year prior to his arrival, Dresser has led VT to Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championship the last four years – including an all-time best fourth in 2016 – and it is currently ranked fifth. Dresser’s Hokie teams captured five ACC Wrestling Championships (two tournament and three dual titles) in the last five years. His teams also won 91% of their duals (48-5) the last three years.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the nation’s most storied and accomplished college wrestling programs at Iowa State,” Dresser said.  “Growing up in Iowa, I admired the sellout crowds at Hilton Coliseum and watching championship coaches like Dr. Harold Nichols and Jim Gibbons and countless All-America Cyclones. The administrative commitment– both facilities and operating budget – along with a devoted and knowledgeable fan base make Iowa State one of those few programs in the nation that has the foundation to compete for elite national status annually.”

Pollard aimed high during the search with the goal of returning the Cyclone wrestling program to national prominence. Pollard believes Dresser’s championship pedigree as an athlete and coach will be a natural draw to recruits as well as an inspiration to the wrestlers on the current roster.

“I believe this hire will be viewed someday as a very historic one for Iowa State wrestling,” Pollard said. “Kevin is joining our team because he wants to restore Iowa State to its historic place – one that includes eight NCAA Championships – on the national wrestling landscape. He shares our vision that it has been far too long since we won our last team championship (1987) and fully expects to build our program into a national title contender. We could not be more excited to welcome Kevin, Penny and their children to the Cyclone Family.”

Dresser compiled a 160-51 dual record at Tech and won ACC dual meet titles in 2015-2016-2017 and league tournament championships in 2013 and 2014 (this year’s ACC tournament is March 4). He has coached 65 NCAA Championship qualifiers, 20 All-Americans and five ACC Most Outstanding Wrestlers. Dresser was named ACC Coach of the Year the last four years in a row and the state of Virginia’s coach of the year five times.

Much of the Hokies’ success can be traced to Dresser and his staff’s recruiting acumen. Six of his classes have ranked among the Top 11 nationally, including the 2013 group that was No. 2 according to InterMat.

Dresser was named Virginia Tech’s coach in 2006-07 after a legendary high school coaching career in Virginia. He led Christiansburg High School (1996-2006) to five state championships and three runner-up finishes in 10 seasons. Before that, he took Grundy High School (1988-96) to eight state titles in as many years. Dresser coached 69 state champions and four of his teams ranked in the Top 10 nationally.

As a competitor, he won two state titles and compiled a 112-11-1 record at Humboldt (Iowa) High School before a distinguished collegiate career at Iowa. The two-time All-American and two-time Big Ten champion won the 1986 NCAA Championship (when he won the Mike Howard Award as Iowa’s MVW) and placed fourth at the national meet in 1985. The Hawkeyes won national titles in each of his five seasons on the roster.

Dresser has been inducted into the Iowa School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame (2009), the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame (2014) and the Roanoke Valley Wrestling Hall of Fame (2015). He was also presented a Lifetime Service Award by the Virginia chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.

Dresser earned a B.S. degree in general studies from Iowa in 1986. He and his wife, Penny, have three children: Emma, Anna and Jack.

Pollard and Dresser agreed to a seven-year deal worth a total of $2.25 million in guaranteed salary plus incentives. His base salary for next year is $300,000. Similar to other high profile personnel announcements at Iowa State, the hiring is pending a university background check. 


                                                            Dual                ————ACC————-                   ————NCAA————

Year                 School                       Record         Duals         Tourn.       Champs       Qualif.      All-Amer.      Tourn.

2006-07           Virginia Tech               6-12                                 5th                1                 2                 0              T-60th

2007-08           Virginia Tech                7-9                                  4th                1                 1                 0               DNP

2008-09           Virginia Tech               20-2                                 3rd                0                 8                 0               39th

2009-10           Virginia Tech               17-5                                 3rd                4                 6                 0               24th

2010-11           Virginia Tech               20-4                                2nd                3                 7                 1               33rd

2011-12           Virginia Tech                8-6                                  3rd                3                 6                 2              T-11th

2012-13           Virginia Tech               16-3                                 1st                5                10                4               10th

2013-14           Virginia Tech               18-5                                 1st                4                 9                 3                8th

2014-15           Virginia Tech               14-2              1st               3rd                3                 8                 4               10th

2015-16           Virginia Tech               16-2              1st               2nd                2                 8                 6                4th

2016-17           Virginia Tech               18-1              1st               —                – –                 –                 —               

11-year dual record: 160-51 (.758)                                             


Born: Nov. 9, 1962, in Ft. Dodge, Iowa

Hometown: Humboldt, Iowa

Wife: Penny; Children: Emma, Anna and Jack

Alma Mater: University of Iowa (B.S., 1986)

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