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  1. iwrite

    Is Yianni the Second Best Ever?

    Great point, headache, about being great competitors first and the work ethic. I have been to 47 NCAA tournaments and feel I have some perspective. I I have been on the mat with Gable and it was an incredible experience. Talk to anyone from those days and you will understand that Gable brought something intangible to the mat with him. As pointed out, he won the Midlands as an 18-year-old freshman over some top competition. He never redshirted. His first year of college eligibility, he beat Dave McGuire, the defending NCAA champion, in both the Big 8 and NCAA, handily. (McGuire won the NCAA the next year to finish as a two-timer and one time runner-up). His senior year, Gable moved up a weight to take on the defending NCAA champion, Mike Grant of Oklahoma, in his home arena and beat him 9-4. Gable brought an intensity and commitment that has seldom, if ever, been matched. Ask the Petersons or the Banachs or Chuck Yalga what it was like to wrestle him. He had one loss in 181 matches over 7 years, 13-11.
  2. iwrite

    Non Wrestling Fans

    For 35 years, I earned my living as a full-time newspaper journalist and happened to be ass't sports editor of the daily newspaper in Iowa City when Gary Kurdelmeier took over as head coach. I sat in his tiny, cramped office the spring of 1971 when he told me his master plan for changing Iowa wrestling from crowds of 300 in an auxiliary gym on a Saturday afternoon to a BIG TIME Saturday night event. He was a rare visionary ....and he knew the No. 1 key was getting the media involved. For decades, I have tried to get the leaders of various wrestling groups to listen but have had little success. I created WIN magazine, the WIN Memorabilia Show, the Dan Hodge Trophy, the Dan Gable Museum and have written 17 books about wrestling, all in an effort to increase the awareness in the general public. I have had a struggle with USA Today editors for nearly 20 years and made some progress at times but when those editors moved on I had to start all over again. So now, at age 75 and worn out, I have given up on getting wrestling to grow into the mainstream. If you want to read more about how Kurdelmeier changed the atmosphere in Iowa City and other battles I had as a newspaperman to try and improve wrestling coverage, you may want to get my 2017 book entitled "A Journey: Reflections on 50 Years of Writing, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Heroes". -- Mike Chapman
  3. iwrite

    Split the Hodge

    To jchapman: Can you explain who you mean by "they"? Last year in the issue of WIN telling that Zain Retherford had won, Bryan Van Kley, publisher of WIN, explained that we have a select panel of retired coaches, select media and experts from other organizations who vote, as well as all former Hodge Trophy winners. In addition, we had over 25,000 unique votes cast on line. Bryan and I own the Hodge Trophy equally and we don't always agree. So again...I'm curious who you think are the "they" who make this decision? -- Mike Chapman (no relation to jchapman), Creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy.
  4. iwrite

    Leading Hodge Contenders

    Yes, a Division 3 wrestler by the name of Nick Ackerman shared the 2001 Hodge Trophy with Cael Sanderson. Nick overcame an incredible handicap of both legs being amputated below the knees and showed what a wonderful sport wrestling is when he won the NCAA 3 title despite such a handicap. Two Olympic champions, Doug Blubaugh and Randy Lewis, talked to me at length to convince me that it would not lessen the impact of the award but enhance it by showing what wrestling can do for such a person. It was a very uplifting story and was applauded far and wide...but not by everyone. The NAIA winner was Emmett Willson, who won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational over a field of solid Div. 1 stars, then drove from Montana to Chicago to compete in the Midlands and won that as well. He also won the All-Star Classic. He finished the season 50-0 and had wins over Div. 1 All-Americans Ryan Bader of Arizona State, Sean Stender of UNI, J.D. Bergman of Ohio State and Matt Greenberg of Cornell. Dan Hodge himself said it was great to see Willson win the award. In a recent article by Nick Corey, he wrote: "in one sense, Emmett Willson wasn't supposed to win the Hodge Trophy. But at the end of the 2004 season nobody deserved it more." We can all debate the results of any such award and that's okay. BTW, to date, one million sports fans (including large crowds at halftime of football games) have seen the Hodge Trophy presented in person and that's terrific exposure for the sport. Last year, 20,000-plus fans participated in on-line voting. -- Mike Chapman (no relation to jchapman), creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy
  5. iwrite

    Bobby Knight

    Doug often stayed with me and my wife Bev after I created the International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Newton, Iowa (now the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo) while he was traveling the nation. He was also the guest at our booth many times at the WIN Memorabilia show at the NCAA tournament. Like Dan Hodge, he loved meeting fans and talking about wrestling. He is on the cover of my book "Legends of the Mat" which has the stories of 34 of the greatest wrestlers in American history, and I also created a poster of Doug called "The Epic Struggle" which shows him pinning Habibi in the 1960 Olympics. How tough was Doug? One time while staying with with us it had snowed and as we were leaving the house, I told him to look out for the front steps as they were very slippery. Suddenly, his feet went out from under him and he fell hard -- the back of his head hitting the concrete step with a loud thud. I feared he was seriously injured. He sat up, shook his head once and stood. "Doug," I said. "let's go back in the house for you to rest. That was the hardest head hit I have ever seen!" He just smiled and said, "No, I'm fine. Let's go." He was one of a kind in so many ways. My latest book is called "Wrestling Tough: Second Edition" and it just came out last week. There is a lot about Doug in it -- including an amazing story about him running down a horse that was acting ornery. For more on Doug's influence as a coach, you can read the book by Dale Anderson called "A Spartan Journey". Dale was a 2-time NCAA champion on the 1967 Michigan State team that won the NCAA title and Dale dedicates the book to Doug, who was assistant coach at MSU at the time. -- Mike Chapman PS --There are several versions of the Blubaugh-Knight story. Doug told me a slightly different one but the basic fact of the confrontation is true.
  6. iwrite

    Wrestlings Marketing Efforts

    One of the main goals of the Hodge Trophy's creator was to expand the awareness and image of wrestling into other areas. For over 20 years, the trophy has been presented at halftime of football games, sometimes in front of crowds of 75,000 and more. Seeing a fine young athlete like Logan Stieber or Zain Retherford holding the trophy aloft may cause some fans to say, "Hey, let's go to a wrestling meet and see what it's all about." Over one million fans have seen the Hodge Trophy presented at college football games and that certainly is a plus in the marketing sense.
  7. iwrite

    Hodge Trophy Fan Vote Now Open

    Ooops...I meant the 2018 vote, not 2017!
  8. iwrite

    Hodge Trophy Fan Vote Now Open

    According to WIN, there were 25,000 unique fan votes cast for the 2017 Dan Hodge Trophy, with Zain Retherford winning his 2nd straight. Penn State has now won 4 of the last 7 and it looks like 2 more Nittany Lions will be favored in 2019. Can any wrestler stop the Penn State drive to excellence?
  9. Yes, the book came out in 2005 and quickly sold out. I even did a book signing in Hamtramck, and I think we ate lunch at the Polish Village Cafe. The book is called "The Tom Tyler Story: From Cowboy Star to Super Hero" and has a complete filmography. It has over 50 photos, from his movies and from his weightlifting career. I have written 29 books, including 17 on wrestling but was motivated to write Tom's biography because I loved his movies and I am also a long time weightlifter. .
  10. Sgallan and Coach J -- I'm enjoying your conversation very much. In 2002, I journeyed to Hamtramck to do research for a book I was writing about Tom Tyler, a wonderful movie actor who was raised in Hamtramck as Vincent Markowski (changed his name in Hollywood). Tom was a popular cowboy actor in the 1930s and then starred in two movie serials in the 1940s, as The Phantom and Captain Marvel. He was also in some blockbusters, like "Stagecoach" and "Gone With the Wind". My wife and I spent 3 days in Hamtramck and we found it charming. Tom Tyler was also a national weightlifting champion in the 1920s. He appeared in nearly 150 movies in his long career but suffered from scleroderma (a horrible disease) and died at the age of 50 in 1954. He spent the last two years of his life with family members at a home on Moenart Street and is buried in Mt. Olivett Cemetery in Detroit.
  11. iwrite

    RIP Bill Smith

    Yes, the whizzer was Bill Smith's trademark move. He was an undefeated two-time college champion (52-0-2) at Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI). He won the 1952 Olympics at 160.5 pounds without surrendering a single point and won 3 national freestyle titles.He coached the San Francisco Olympic Club to 7 national team titles and is one of just several coaches to have led high school teams to state championships in two different states (Illinois and California). Just two months ago, UNI unveiled a beautiful display in their West Gym because Bill gave his Olympic gold medal to the school he loved. Bill was a wonderful wrestler and coach -- but was even a better human being and friend. He was like family to my wife Bev and me and we aleady miss him dearly. -- Mike Chapman
  12. iwrite

    Hodge Trophy Fan Vote Now Open

    As of 9 am today, over 13,000 unique votes so far!
  13. iwrite

    Kyle Snyder vs Lou Banach?

    Lou is a high level bank executive in Wiscosnin, Ed was an athletic administrator at Iowa State, brother Steve is a retired Army Ranger colonel who led the first assault troops into Afghanistan after 911. They have written a book called "Uncommon Bonds." BTW, Lou never tried out for a World team.
  14. iwrite

    Kyle Snyder vs Lou Banach?

    Lou pinned Baumgartner (260), Thacker (410), Dr. Death Williams (265) and overwhelmed Severn, and Cole and even decisioned Shelton (400).. I pick Banach.... too fluid and aggressive.
  15. The Hodge Trophy was created 24 years ago to bring more media recognition to wrestling, to promote pinning/dominance and to honor the legacy of Dan Hodge. To date over 1 million people have seen the trophy presented in person at wrestling banquets and at halftimes of football games. Sports information offices of the winning colleges promote the winners heavily and all wrestlers who have won it have expressed great pride in having a Hodge Trophy. Many young wrestlers say that winning the Hodge is one of their main goals. The voting is done by a number of retired coaches, leaders in various wrestling organizations, past winners, select media and also includes fan voting. Last year over 20,000 fans voted online. Just like anything else in life, you may disagree with the final outcome but it seems unfair to call it a joke. One final point - the entire Hodge family is very proud of this award. - Mike Chapman, creater of WIN Magazine, the WIN Memorabilia Show, the International Wrestling Institute and Museum and the Dan Hodge Trophy