Kevin Dresser: "I'm looking at a chance to go home"

Iowa State University will turn to a familiar face to reinvigorate it's wrestling program.

Kevin Dresser, who built Virginia Tech into an Atlantic Coast Conference wrestling power, was hired Monday as Iowa State's wrestling coach.

Director of athletics Jamie Pollard announced Monday that the 54-year-old native of Humboldt, Iowa who was a two-time all-American at Iowa had agreed to a seven-year contract to replace Kevin Jackson as the Cyclones' head coach. 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 now ranked fifth. Dresser will not be coaching the team in the ACC or NCAA tournaments. His teams also won 91% of their duals (48-5) the last three years. Now, he'll try to do the same thing at Iowa State. "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".

With Dresser accepting the coaching position with the Cyclones, the Hokies are now without their head coach for the upcoming ACC Championships and the NCAA Championships which both take place in the coming weeks. This was just one of two, maybe three, jobs in the country he'd look at. Iowa State closed out its regular season Sunday with a 1-12 duals record and has fallen out of the national spotlight. "He just decided he wanted to live and work at Iowa State more than Virginia Tech".

Dresser was believed to have informed the team at about 2:45 p.m. and Virginia Tech confirmed the hiring with a release at 3 p.m. Virginia Tech will have an interim coach handle coaching duties there the rest of the year.

Much of the Hokies' success can be traced to Dresser and his staff's recruiting acumen. They have seven wrestlers now ranked in the top ten nationally in their weight classes.

Babcock said Dresser was earning a $150,000 base salary at Tech, which Babcock added was highest among coaches of the ACC's six wrestling programs. Before that, he took Grundy High School (1988-96) to eight state titles in as many years. Dresser was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association national coach of the year. He was a two-time All-American at the University of Iowa, where he won the 1986 national title at 142 pounds.

The Cyclones, winners of eight national titles, haven't won one since 1987. He was also presented a Lifetime Service Award by the Virginia chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013. His base in 2017-18 is $300,000.

News of Dresser's impending departure was first reported Saturday by the Iowa State Daily, which is Iowa State's student newspaper.

  • Larry Hoffman