Is David Taylor Iowa’s new Head Coach??
Why Iowa should hire the Magic Man as Head Coach
I am not an English major and my grammar is not great, please deal with it.
I think this article will offend people, and I am ok with that. While my relationship with the Brands’ has been up and down I think they do a really good job.
David Taylor is the embodiment of what Iowa Style wants to be; he is always offensive, never stops attacking and can score from every position. While I think that Tom Brands does a really good job as Iowa’s head coach, Iowa by firing Jim Zalesky set the precedent that they would accept nothing less than excellence from it’s wrestling program. In this article I will tell you why I think Iowa should hire the Magic Man to be their next head coach ASAP.
Being born in Cedar Rapids, my dad was always an Iowa fan and being the rebellious kid I was I always cheered against them. I loved Iowa State, and like most wrestling fans, I was driven crazy by the fact that Iowa always won and that their fans were so obnoxious about it. Iowa never tried to recruit me and I ended up at Missouri. At Missouri I continued to dislike Iowa, but also developed an equal dislike for programs in the Big XII, so Iowa was put on the back burner. Fast forward a few years and I am coaching at our wrestling academy. Since I am no longer involved in the college scene I get to have a more objective point of view. A lot of my young wrestlers love Iowa; my distaste for them has softened quite a bit. I actually really enjoy their unruly rabid fan base, which will yell for stalling even when the Iowa wrestler still has not shot and it is the third period. Fact is, if more wrestling programs had a tenth of the passion of Iowa fans, college dual meets would be significantly more interesting. Iowa wrestling is an institution and their fans’ passion will wane if national titles are not brought back to Iowa City.
I think this coaching change comes down to economics, Iowa wrestling is the most profitable program in the nation and I am sure that Iowa’s athletic department appreciates that. If national titles are not brought back home the revenues will fall. With the tradition Iowa has established, it will always be a top-flight program. This is because of their ability to recruit high-level athletes. Iowa will not win championships until they start to gets those high level high school athletes to maximize their potential. In addition to failing to reach full potential, they have also been under performing at nationals; check out my last blog for more info on that. I think a big part of their failure to get athletes to perform to their potential is a result of the coaching staffs not embracing the evolution that is happening in wrestling. That evolution is the advent of scrambling being a necessity as opposed to a luxury. Due to the fact that they refuse to scramble, they have become very scared to pull the trigger on their shots. Let me explain further: college wrestlers have gotten very good at scrambling, something Iowa abhors. Because Iowa wrestlers are taught not to scramble in the wrestling room they have very little real practice with it. Therefore, when they get into matches, the Iowa wrestler is scared to shoot because of the fear of the scramble. After watching Iowa at Big Tens and NCAA’s I do not feel as if any wrestler on their team is a highly skilled leg attacker. For a team that prides itself on being aggressive this is a very bad thing. On top of this, there is the fact that the Iowans rarely turn anyone in the top position and often resort to the two things I despise most in wrestling- top wrestlers dropping to legs or pushing the bottom man out of bounds. Needless to say “IOWA STYLE” is in need of a makeover.
Enter the Magic Man. David Taylor has galvanized the wrestling fan base like no one I have seen in my lifetime. No one has anything bad to say about him and everyone loves him. Even the Iowa fans gave him a standing ovation at the Big Ten tournament. Like I said, above DT is the evolution of the sport of wrestling: his hand fighting is on point, shots are crisp and clean, scores from front head and off scrambles, escapes so easily and turns people like a tilt o wheel. Is he ready to be head coach??? My opinion is yes. Iowa made the bold move to hire Gable only a few years out of college; it is time for them to make another bold move. Our academy, Askren Wrestling Academy, has hosted David for a camp and he was an excellent teacher and worked extremely well with the athletes. He has a poise and maturity beyond his years, never once have I seen him do anything borderline disrespectful in competition, and I can’t think of a time when I have heard anyone speak ill of him. The Iowa fans in our section at Big Tens spoke about him with a kind of reverence usually reserved for Iowa Legends. His recruiting base is everywhere, grew up in Ohio, college in Pennsylvania, current high schoolers would have a hard time saying no to the Magic Man in black and gold. Obviously I would put him with a veteran assistant coach who could teach him the ropes of the NCAA system. I know he is young and has not even been an assistant coach, but David Taylor is ready to be Iowa’s head coach.
So as most of you are thinking this is all highly unrealistic, but I will now tell you why it isn’t and why it would work. The first thing most will say is that DT wants to compete, I am sure he does want to compete. That being said, long term he wants to coach wrestling and for the right price, (I would offer $300,000 if I were Iowa’s AD) he would most likely make the decision that it is time to coach wrestling for good. Offers like that rarely come along, and if DT was told it was a one-time offer, it is my opinion that it would be a bad move to pass it up. For Iowa’s Athletic Department this makes sense because their wrestling program makes money! If Magic brings home a national title they will recoup their investment very quickly. Sometimes to be the best you need to be a visionary to be great. Who thought Cael would go to PSU??? NO ONE!!! Penn St. spent a lot of money to make that move, but I guarantee with constant sellouts and four national titles they have significantly recouped their initial investment. Will Iowa pull the trigger and make the bold move to hire David Taylor? Most likely not, but in this guy’s opinion, it would be a bold move that would pay large dividends.
As for the Brands Brothers, like I said, initially I think they are doing a really good job. However, Iowa clearly stated with the Zalesky firing they don’t accept a really good job; they want GREAT. I think both Tom and Terry are outstanding coaches and most programs in the country would be lucky to have them. There are a handful of places where I am sure they could instantly raise the level of the program. I would like to see them go to one of the struggling Big 10 programs and start building competitive programs there. With their coaching experience, they will have the ability to fundraise and build a following- something at which the Magic Man would struggle- but it is already in place at Iowa.
What is your opinion???
I appreciate what you said, and find it extremely interesting. I became a huge Iowa fan as soon Tom Brands was hired as the head coach. My favorites at that time we’re Mark Perry (who was a scrambler) and also Brent Metcalf that was Brands poster boy of what an Iowa wrestler should be. I loves watching those two compete especially Brent and I might even throw Daniel Dennis in there because he was constantly trying to score not just push you around. Since Metcalf left there is not one guy on there team that I have full heartedley enjoyed watching wrestle. I saw fewer leg attacks, no attempt to turn, and like you said no ability to scramble if an opponent got through the head hands defense. McDonough is a great example; his freshman year he was looking to score, by the time he was a senior he was barely winning matches, and guys like Niko, Delgado, Garret looked far more superior in positions than the two time national champ. Like you said Iowa has really underperformed in the NCAAs since they have won there last title. This year was one of there most disappointing NCAAs in recent memory. They had some high seeded guys like Moore and Lofthouse lose in the 2nd round. That’s not suppose to happen if your Iowa and your guys are ready to go. Brands is never happy, but the few times they interviewed him you could see the frustration, and it was apparent that this is not how expected the guys to compete.
With that being said David Taylor could be to Iowa what Cael is to Penn St. He brings that “it factor” and he’s got it all. Everybody loves him even the Iowa fans! Brands jump started the program when he first came onto the scene, but Cael was not at Penn St. Now that he is established know one is going to be able to stop them maybe not even Taylor and Iowa if that we’re to happen. Yet, for the sake of Iowa fans they need to start finding more goers like Brent Metcalfs or make a change. Otherwise will continue to see more St. John’s push people around without attempting to score.
Ben, would you consider the same offer? Or a similar one?
If the brands brothers were to leave how many of the wrestlers would follow?
The only problem with DT as Head Coach and Ben Askren as associate head coach would be that they are both at the same weight and you like to see the coaches represent all the weights like Fanthorpe, Cody, Casey, and Cael at Penn State. I think DT and Askren being the kinds of scrambles, funk, risk taking, and constant attack are exactly the kind of mentors that can make the constant pressure of the Iowa Style work. No doubt they would be the biggest recruiting duo for a storied program and be able to mentor their student athletes to the top of the podium with a winning combination.
I love the idea. I am from PA and have followed college wrestling my whole life, and I called everyone crazy when I heard rumors of Cael to PSU. This would send a shock wave through the college wrestling community. However, there is so much more involved with being a head coach, and I’m not sure DT is ready for it. Tom and his wrestlers have lost some of their stigma, and I’m baffled as to why. I wrestled for him, and I can honestly say he changed my life in so many ways, not to mention getting the most out of my wrestling ability. He is definitely the right fit for Iowa. I think a few struggling schools should find the finances and support needed to bring in DT or Terry.
The single best point in the awesome article imho is the evolution part. Iowa is not being surpassed…it’s BEEN surpassed. I feel it’s because too much emphasis is put on conditioning and too little on the other two aspects. They need to become THINKING coaches and go to the drawing board and get a new game plan. They know wrestling well. They know brawling better than anyone. But today you can’t win with conditioning alone. Like the article says, scrambling is no longer a luxury…neither is conditioning. EVERYONE is now in condition so NO ONE wise can use this a secret weapon anymore. In the wild world of wrestling “balance has become the new intensity”. Thanks for reading and all the best. Go Wrestling!
I’d rather Taylor go out west and build a powerhouse in the Golden State.
Oh, wouldn’t that be great! We saw an all CA final at 125 lbs this year. It’s time we quit exporting all our talent. Unfortunately we need more than just great coaches to make this happen but someone like DT could help a lot.
Ben, great article. I really appreciate all you are doing for the greatest sport on earth.
By the way, what the heck is Pennsylvania doing that the rest of the US isn’t? Something like 17 (Seventeen!!) All Americans out of Pennsylvania this year! They must have a killer youth program.
Ben I agree. Growing up watching college wrestling I remember Iowa always dominating the duals/tournaments. But as you stated wrestlers are evolving and when I watch Iowa past couple years it seems that we’re on cruise while other teams are go go go. Bringing in someone like DT is exactly what this state and it’s amazing fans need. Watching the NCAA matches this year, like yourself, I saw hesitation and uncertainty in Iowa wrestlers that you never use to see. It’s not from the coaches or our program but the individual confidence, I think, because what we saw on the mat wasn’t what we at our practices. Now Brands is a great coach dont get me wrong I loved watching the Brands brothers and the toughness and no quit attitude they always have. But if Iowa wants to get back in control and dominate like we use to we need change.
I definitely agree with you that Iowa needs a change of philosophy offensively. They are content with winning the close matches because of their conditioning and mental toughness. As we have seen they can’t compete with teams with wrestlers who score bonus points. Hence the struggle at Nationals against Penn State who had Ruth and Taylor posting bonus points in nearly every match. Iowa needs recruits who want to score points and get bonus points. I think David Taylor would be an excellent addition to Iowa’s coaching staff bringing in that offensive philosophy. However, I think he has something to prove in the international scene and I also don’t think Cael would allow him to go to Iowa. That would be a mistake on Penn State’s part by doing so. They should scoop him up before anyone else or they may not continue their title streak much longer. In the end I think Taylor remains loyal to Cael and Penn State.
I like it. DT could of conceivably been a 4 timer! I think he will end up coaching somewhere, at some point. Why not now? Who better to lead a team of today’s rising stars. Wrestling is evolving quickly, it would be good to have a guy at the front of the wave rather than behind it, no offense to Brands, who is a great coach, but DT brings some intangibles to the table, one of which is a strong following. Kids will wrestle for DT, just like they want to wrestle for Cael.
I’ve been saying this all year. My words almost to a t! As an Iowa fan, I love Tom and Terry, but their style just isn’t flashy enough for kids today and in fact may be the wrong kind of intense. Plus, they’re big names to Iowa fans, but it’s been so long since they’ve competed that most kids they’re recruiting would have never seen them compete. As a result they only know the Brands from coaching Iowa, and let’s face it, they’ve been out-coached and out-recruited by Cael at PSU and to a lesser degree by Tom Ryan at Ohio State.
Iowa needs new blood!
Hmm a very interesting article. I do believe that while the Brands are great coaches in many respects, there is something missing in the IOWA Wrestling, while changing coaches may or may not be the answer, something needs to change. While the parity in NCAA wrestling is great for the sport, something is missing. Yeah sure, Penn State is filling that at the moment, but it just isn’t the same. I respect the great things happening at Penn State and in wrestling in general, it just isn’t the same without IOWA.
The Iowa wrestlers looked undersized which is not a good complement to their grinder style wrestling. Evans never went low on a re-shot opportunity, but always went back to the head first and missed opportunities to score.
All throughout wrestling I see a disconnect with the old school Iowa way and the next generation of wrestlers. Wrestle-to-death-repeat does not 1) teach you how to beat the guy in front of you or 2) help you reach your peak performance and 3) intensity is not a substitute for cultivating the will to win. Coaches have to dig deeper into how the mind, body and spirit work together to develop their athletes.
Let me throw a monkey wrench into this whole discussion. Or maybe a couple. One, I have no where near the knowledge about the ins and outs and finer points of college wrestling. Just a fan. Only wrestled in hs and wasn’t very good. From what I gather, there is a very special bond between Cael and David that started when David was very young. I see him staying at PSU awhile. If he wants to coach, it will be at PSU. Probably no surprise there. Secondly, I really don’t think the people who actually would make this decision are ready to get rid of Brands. Now, here is the kicker. Would ISU jump the gun and try to get to him first????????? As an alum of ISU, I would absolutely LOVE that change. Hey, PSU took Cael from us, why not return the favor. With that said, would David consider that?
The Iowa State idea is an intriguing one too. Minnesota would be another viable option for DT. I hate to say it but J is getting old and they’ll be looking for a replacement soon….but maybe Brandon Eggum will take over his job. I agree the decision makers at Iowa aren’t ready to part with Tom…..especially if a guy by the name of Dan Gable has any influence in the situation. The Brands are like his own sons. He’ll go to the mat for them (yes pun intended).
Great article! I recently took my HS team to a camp where Brands, Taylor and Sanderson were all clinicians. It is a stark difference in philosophy watching these coaches/ athletes demonstrate. While all are very intense, the PS crew really seem to embrace the fun and relaxed portion of wrestling. Don’t get me wrong it’s no joke. These guys are as competitive as they come. They offer that they do things to challenge themselves but also keep drill sessions fresh and fun. Brands in contrast is workman like and seemed to stress that when things are not working, do them harder or get in better position/ shape. Taylor/ Sanderson presented with the philosophy that “We do things to make wrestling easier.” If this doesn’t work, try this. It was refreshing and our athletes really enjoyed their personalities. I just think that The Iowa coaching staff needs to embrace the fact that wrestling has evolved, but more importantly athletes have evolved. For many, they are looking for a new approach. The Iowa way of beating your opponent into submission may be good for some. For others, being so skilled that it makes wrestling look easy is a draw. It really comes down to what an athlete finds motivating. Both programs and coaches have done great things. Sanderson has a greater talent pool to draw from in Pennsylvania as well as the neighboring states. He has no real competition as far as recruiting that area. He is a polarizing coach. Iowa has to change something in order to compete in the recruiting game as well as the sport of wrestling.
All this being said, I asked my athletes who they would rather compete for as a college wrestler. It was an equal split for Iowa and Penn State.
Why no mention of Ed Ruth? He is the real deal.
Ben when you lived in Cedar Rapids did you ever eat the toxic fish out of Cedar Lake?
I grew up wrestling in Iowa and am an Iowa alum (didn’t wrestle for the Hawkeyes though). I come from a wrestling family and have always been a huge fan of Iowa wrestling and the “Iowa Style.” This article is right on point. Tom and Terry are two of Iowa’s iconic wrestling heroes. They were bullies on the mat – not technicians – but their brawling style was clearly effective at the time. I don’t know that it would be so effective today. I now live in Wisconsin (and actually my son will be attending a couple of the Askren youth clinics this summer) and as I watched the young wrestlers at the WWF Youth State tournament in Madison last weekend I was nearly beside myself at how disciplined and technically sound these wrestlers are at 8-9-10 years old. No questions – the sport has definitely changed. Most high schoolers I wrestled with didn’t have near the technical soundness I saw at WI youth state. Not to mention the mental toughness I saw in many of them. Brawling these guys off the mat isn’t going to work anymore by the time they get to the collegiate level. And I agree, scrambling is key. Takedowns are hard to come by with kids at this level, let alone a clean double or single….you’ve got to work and scramble for it. I grew up worshiping the Brands brothers, but I think a move to a guy like David Taylor (who is one of my son’s favorite wrestlers – Tony Ramos being the other) would be a great move for the Iowa program…..it would be game changing for them in this new rivalry with Penn State….and I fully support it. Criticism of the Iowa style noted, I will give a couple of the Iowa wrestlers kudos on their scrambling ability – Mike Evans is an excellent scrambler especially for such a big weight class – and so is the freshman Cory Clark at 125 – he held his own with Delgado in many scrambles in their match at the Big Tens.
Metcalf just out scored his opponents 39 to 0 in the US Open. Is the “Iowa Style” still in the need of a makeover?
I for one would follow Tom brands where ever he would go…. and stop supporting iowa.. If the give dt. .The job… brands brother are doing a great job …and Iowa style works… check the record books..
I totally disagree with you. Before you invented scrambling, Tom Brands had one hell of a match with Gilbert where he ankle passed and looked pretty good at scrambling. I know they don’t use it as a main line of defense but they can and do compete at the highest level, minus the actual titles these past few years. I don’t see any reason for them to change there coaching. I do think actually they still are the best coaches in the game. They get less athletic guys to super high levels. And that is there problem, they don’t get the Ed Ruth’s anymore. Gable had super talent in the room and super athletes. not all but many were actually great athletes. Now they are not getting those guys. That is the difference not the coaching.
Where the need to change is the recruiting, in my opinion. I think they are too focused on the mid west. Just an example is right now they could have had Rodrigues on their team. He would be helping them win at that weight. I think they are doing a great job, just wish they would get more horses with super talent ( although Steven is not a super athlete, so that example was more about the geography issue)
I don’t disagree that Taylor would be a great assistant coach at Iowa but I highly doubt they would ever put him in as a head coach. Iowa hires Iowa guys.