Jump to content
sandwrestling

Best of Iowa: Gable vs Gotch?

Recommended Posts

Just for shoots and giggles, who is the best wrestler to hail from the state of Iowa? There is no right or wrong answer, and write-in candidates are certainly welcomed. But in my dream match, despite being in much differnt eras of wrestling, I would have loved to see Dan Gable go up against Frank Gotch for the title of "Best of Iowa".

 

Dan Gable, the Olympic gold medalist who didn't surrender a single match point on his way to the gold; only having one loss in high school, one loss in college, and one loss on the international level; the most sucessful coach at the collegiate level; a living legend who has a familiar name to people who don't even follow our great sport.

 

Frank Gotch, the first wrestler to put American wrestling on the international map, capturing the pro wrestling heavyweight championship (when pro wrestling was still legitamate); 154-6 career record, not losing a match during the final 7 years of his career; one of the first (possibly the very first) professional athlete to get endorsement deals; helped popularize wrestling to the point that a safer version of wrestling (scholastic) was created for kids, a style that is still practiced today.

 

Two legends, both from Iowa. Who do you have? Is there someone who could upend both of these wrestlers for the title of "Best of Iowa"?

 

It's times like these I really wish there was a wrestling video game; I would play this match over and over. No idea why there hasn't been a wrestling video game, as sports video games have helped every other sport grow in terms of spectators and participants. Wishful thinking, I guess...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill Koll (Fort Dodge, Iowa)

 

High School Career - Ford Dodge High School

  • 1940-41 - Undefeated state champ at 141 pounds

College Career - Iowa State Teachers College (now Northen Iowa)

  • 1942-43 - Record of 3-0 (Freshmen could only wrestle in opens, plus he left school early*)
  • 1945-46 - Undefeated NCAA Champion
  • 1946-47 - Undefeated NCAA Champion (and winner Most Outstanding Wrestler award)
  • 1947-48 - Undefeated NCAA Champion (and winner Most Outstanding Wrestler award)

Army Career (*Koll's education was interuppted when he was inducted into the army)

  • 1943-45 - Koll spent 34 months as a combat engineer, participating in D-Day and earning the Bronze Star

International Career

  • After winning the 1948 NCAA tournament, Koll was selected for the 1948 Olympic Games, where he placed 5th.

​

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who'd Gable lose to in high school?

 

no one, Gable was 64-0 in HS

 

Gable had gone 181-0 in HS and college combined, before losing his final collegiate match against Owings 13-11. 

 

In the finals of the Olympic Trials he beat Lloyd Keaser by 22-0 and 11-0. Keaser was the World champ the following year, with Gable having retired. During that 1972 run (OTT's and Olympics) Gable pinned 12 opponents and outscored the others by 130-1. The one point scored on him was by Owings.

 

64-0 in HS

117- 1 in college

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gable had one loss in the ninth grade to Ron Keister.  In the Iowa City Press Citizen's "Untold Gable" series, Craig Foss recounted that Gable had "made mince meat out of his competition" prior to meeting Keister.  Foss went on to describe the match as follows:

 

"Both wrestlers were undefeated when their respective schools met for a show down between the two top junior high wrestling programs in Waterloo at the time.  The match between Gable and Keister ended much quicker than anyone expected as Keister caught Gable off guard, took him down, put him on his back and pinned him!"

 

The following year, Gable  matriculated from Waterloo's junior high to its senior high, where he went 64-0 and won 3 state titles.

 

In addition to Keister, the other wrestlers who defeated Gable in official matches are:

  • Rick Sanders
  • Masaaki Hatta
  • Tom Huff
  • Bobby Douglas
  • Larry Owings
  • Vasily Kozakhov
  • Lee Kemp

(Two other wrestlers were able to hold Gable to draws - Dave Pruzanski and Nasrulla Nasrualaev)

Edited by HurricaneWrestling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gable had one loss in the ninth grade to Ron Keister.  In the Iowa City Press Citizen's "Untold Gable" series, Craig Foss recounted that Gable had "made mince meat out of his competition" prior to meeting Keister.  Foss went on to describe the match as follows:

 

"Both wrestlers were undefeated when their respective schools met for a show down between the two top junior high wrestling programs in Waterloo at the time.  The match between Gable and Keister ended much quicker than anyone expected as Keister caught Gable off guard, took him down, put him on his back and pinned him!"

 

The following year, Gable  matriculated from Waterloo's junior high to its senior high, where he went 64-0 and won 3 state titles.

 

In addition to Keister, the other wrestlers who defeated Gable in official matches are:

  • Rick Sanders
  • Masaaki Hatta
  • Tom Huff
  • Bobby Douglas
  • Larry Owings
  • Vasily Kozakhov
  • Lee Kemp

(Two other wrestlers were able to hold Gable to draws - Dave Pruzanski and Nasrulla Nasrualaev)

 

 

Thanks for posting those.  

 

I am familiar with several Gable losses,  including at least 4 against Douglas, thus wondered where the 1 loss at the international level comment came form .

 

With the above said, I would have to go with Gotch.   He was seemingly unbeatable.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This discussion could go on forever. Gotch, Koll, Gable, each great for their respective era. For "modern" era, meaning the last 50 years or so, it is hard to touch Gable.

 

Gotch was born in 1877. There was no NCAA back then. His first match was at age 22. He was a heavyweight professional wrestler ~ 200 lbs. He started out with some losses, including one to "Farmer" Martin Burns, but eventually won the world heavyweight championship and held the title for almost 5 years. Some of the matches lasted an hour or two.

 

Gable v Gotch.... this is beyond apples and oranges...might as well bring Samson and Abe Lincoln into the discussion.

 

lincoln_zps7igme1cf.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to Keister, the other wrestlers who defeated Gable in official matches are:

  • Rick Sanders
  • Masaaki Hatta
  • Tom Huff
  • Bobby Douglas
  • Larry Owings
  • Vasily Kozakhov
  • Lee Kemp

(Two other wrestlers were able to hold Gable to draws - Dave Pruzanski and Nasrulla Nasrualaev)>>

-----------------

This list is correct, but to fill in some details...most of those losses came at the start of Gable's career in FS - 1967 and 1968 - he was 18 and 19 yrs old. And then the loss to Kemp after having been retired for nearly 3 years. 

 

Gable lost to Hatta and Sanders at the same AAU FS tournament in 1967. At that early point in his career, FS was something Gable had very little experience in. Sanders was an undefeated ncaa champ and OW winner, and a World Bronze (1966) and World Silver (1967) medalist,  Olympic Silver (1968), and World Gold (1969) and Hatta a former ncaa champ and  World Silver medalist. Gable was 18 yrs old at the time, and hadn't yet started his varsity career at ISU.

 

The losses to Huff and Douglas came in 1968, at the OTT's, along with a draw with Pruzanski. Douglas was 4th in Olympics (1964) World Silver medalist in 1966, World Bronze in 1970 and had many US FS titles. Gable was 19 years old at that time.

 

The loss to Owings is the famous one, the lone blemish on a HS/collegiate career that finished 182-1.

 

In 1971, Gable was done with collegiate, and fully devoted to training FS. He had a loss to USSR's Kozakhov at Tiblisi by 3-2. Gable avenged this loss at the 1971 Worlds, beating Kozakhov 5-1 for the Gold medal.

 

Though his international career was not a long one, but at his peak - from World 1971 through Olympics 1972, he was on a tear. Some notable wins included:

 

Beating Lloyd Keaser of USA for the finals of OTT's in 1972, by 22-0 and 11-0. Keaser was World Gold medalist in 1973, and 1976 Olympic Silver.

4 duals matches vs Nasrullayev of USSR in 1971. Gable won 2 by decision, 1 by fall, with 1 draw. Nasurllayev would win World Silver in '73 and Gold in '74. Gable's last FS match, before retiring, had him facing USSR's Pinigan in a dual meet.  Pinnigan was a World Gold medalist in 1975, 1977, and Olympic Gold in 1976.

 

The last loss to Lee Kemp came after Gable came out of retirement, not having competed in almost 3 years, and wrestling at 158#, losing to Kemp 7-6.

 

While suffering very few losses in his career, Gable's record is even more remarkable when one considers that most of them occurred in FS as a teenager wrestling against World/Olympic medalists. Once in his prime in FS, he was extremely dominant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to Keister, the other wrestlers who defeated Gable in official matches are:

  • Rick Sanders
  • Masaaki Hatta
  • Tom Huff
  • Bobby Douglas
  • Larry Owings
  • Vasily Kozakhov
  • Lee Kemp

(Two other wrestlers were able to hold Gable to draws - Dave Pruzanski and Nasrulla Nasrualaev)>>

-----------------

This list is correct, but to fill in some details...most of those losses came at the start of Gable's career in FS - 1967 and 1968 - he was 18 and 19 yrs old. And then the loss to Kemp after having been retired for nearly 3 years.

Gable lost to Hatta and Sanders at the same AAU FS tournament in 1967. At that early point in his career, FS was something Gable had very little experience in. Sanders was an undefeated ncaa champ and OW winner, and a World Bronze (1966) and World Silver (1967) medalist, Olympic Silver (1968), and World Gold (1969) and Hatta a former ncaa champ and World Silver medalist. Gable was 18 yrs old at the time, and hadn't yet started his varsity career at ISU.

The losses to Huff and Douglas came in 1968, at the OTT's, along with a draw with Pruzanski. Douglas was 4th in Olympics (1964) World Silver medalist in 1966, World Bronze in 1970 and had many US FS titles. Gable was 19 years old at that time.

The loss to Owings is the famous one, the lone blemish on a HS/collegiate career that finished 182-1.

In 1971, Gable was done with collegiate, and fully devoted to training FS. He had a loss to USSR's Kozakhov at Tiblisi by 3-2. Gable avenged this loss at the 1971 Worlds, beating Kozakhov 5-1 for the Gold medal.

Though his international career was not a long one, but at his peak - from World 1971 through Olympics 1972, he was on a tear. Some notable wins included:

Beating Lloyd Keaser of USA for the finals of OTT's in 1972, by 22-0 and 11-0. Keaser was World Gold medalist in 1973, and 1976 Olympic Silver.

4 duals matches vs Nasrullayev of USSR in 1971. Gable won 2 by decision, 1 by fall, with 1 draw. Nasurllayev would win World Silver in '73 and Gold in '74. Gable's last FS match, before retiring, had him facing USSR's Pinigan in a dual meet. Pinnigan was a World Gold medalist in 1975, 1977, and Olympic Gold in 1976.

The last loss to Lee Kemp came after Gable came out of retirement, not having competed in almost 3 years, and wrestling at 158#, losing to Kemp 7-6.

While suffering very few losses in his career, Gable's record is even more remarkable when one considers that most of them occurred in FS as a teenager wrestling against World/Olympic medalists. Once in his prime in FS, he was extremely dominant.

Nice bit of history thanks for sharing

Edited by T-nigs23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually it was high school, albeit junior high.  West Waterloo didn't have a middle school in Gable's era.  

Students in grade 9 attended the junior high and then matriculated to the senior high for grades 10-12. 

OK, Junior HS. That's still not HS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The losses to Huff and Douglas came in 1968, at the OTT's, along with a draw with Pruzanski. Douglas was 4th in Olympics (1964) World Silver medalist in 1966, World Bronze in 1970 and had many US FS titles. Gable was 19 years old at that time.

 

 

No doubt Douglas was the clear favorite to win the 1968 Olympic Trials.  Gable, coming off his first NCAA title, was one of a few considered to have an outside shot at upsetting Bobby.   Dave Pruzanski wasn't expected to do that much.  He wrestled the weight above Gable for Temple and had just gone 2-1 at NCAAs where he DNP.  (Pruzanski was knocked out of the tournament by Willigan of Hofstra, who finished 4th.) Nonetheless, he managed to hold Gable to a draw in a low-scoring 2-2 bout.

 

Tom Huff was six years older than Gable.  Like Dan, he had wrestled for Siddens at West Waterloo, where he was also a 3x state high school champion.  Huff attended the University of Iowa and garnered 3rd and 2nd place place NCAA finishes in his junior and senior years, respectively.  His runner-up finish was an overtime loss to Bill Dotson of Northern Iowa (5-5, 3-2).  Dotson was also from Waterloo, although he attended East Waterloo High School.

 

After graduating from Iowa, Tom Huff stayed at Iowa City and and enrolled in Dental school.  After earning his DDS, he joined the Air Force and in 1968 was stationed at Colorado Springs.  That provided him with an opportunity to resume his wrestling career.  Tom began working out and wresting for the Air Force team.  That Spring he won the Regional Qualifier in Colorado, which earned him a spot at the Olympic Trials.

 

Huff recounts his bout with Gable at the Olympic Trials in James Moffatt's book, "Wrestlers At The Trials":

 

"...I had to wrestle Gable for a chance to finish second...Now this was more than just another match - both of us being from Waterloo and all.  For years Iowa fans were asking, 'Wonder who would win a Huff-Gable match?'  We were both big deals in our careers at Waterloo West and then in college, although I never won the NCAAs."  

 

"I took Dan down with my fireman's in the opening seconds and had him on his back, but we went off the mat.  Back up on our feet, I took him down again - this time in the center of the mat - and put him straight on his back.  His body got locked and his shoulders pinned and he didn't have a chance to bridge or turn.  I didn't even have time to put in a half-nelson.  He was pinned in just over a minute into the match."

 

A review of Gable's record discloses that the above was one of only two matches that he lost by pin during his wrestling career. The other loss by fall was to Ron Kesiter, as previously discussed.  Interestingly, both of those losses occurred at the hands of wrestlers from Dan's hometown, Waterloo, Iowa.  Uncanny! 

 

Unfortunately for Gable, he never had an opportunity to avenge either of his losses to his fellow Wahawk alumni.  So, two other guys from Waterloo (population 68,297) can lay claim to - not only defeating, but also pinning - one of America's most decorated wrestlers.  In fact, Gable was quoted in a 2005 Des Moines Reister articles as stating; "Keister works for Deere in Waterloo and to this day he kids me about that."

 

Postscript: Another West Waterloo product who wrestled Gable tough was Dale Anderson.  Dale was a 2x high school champ under Siddens and 2x NCAA champ at Michigan State, where he helped the Spartans win an NCAA title in 1967.  Anderson was undefeated his last two years of college except for a single loss, which occurred in an overtime match against Gable at Midlands. 

 

West Waterloo High School Wrestling History - 1937 thru 2008 (link)

http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0004/0078/WHSWrestling-TeamResults.pdf

Edited by HurricaneWrestling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, Junior HS. That's still not HS.

 

The OP stated that Gable had one loss in high school, so I assumed he was talking about Keister.  Next, a poster asked who the loss was to.  So, I posted the details of the ninth-grade meeting between the two (then) undefeated wrestlers.  Whether one considers that junior high school loss as part of his overall high school record is largely a matter of personal preference, IMO.

 

At any rate - from a historical standpoint - I'm interested in Gable's complete career record from the time he entered official competition until the conclusion of his storied career.  Therefore, I see no problem in considering his 9th - 12th grade record when examining his years as a West Waterloo wrestler. 

Edited by HurricaneWrestling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fans tend to get defensive over their heroes when one points out defeat, particularly defeat of the most definitive and dominant fashion.   

 

Obviously when the options are senior high school and junior high, either falls into the category of high school, albeit undetermined which level.   Furthermore, add in it was 9th grade, not 7th or 8th, and to me at least, that qualifies as high school.   Perhaps it's best to simply call it 9th grade.   From 9th-12th grade he was pinned once.   Very impressive no matter how one words it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fans tend to get defensive over their heroes when one points out defeat, particularly defeat of the most definitive and dominant fashion.   

 

Obviously when the options are senior high school and junior high, either falls into the category of high school, albeit undetermined which level.   Furthermore, add in it was 9th grade, not 7th or 8th, and to me at least, that qualifies as high school.   Perhaps it's best to simply call it 9th grade.   From 9th-12th grade he was pinned once.   Very impressive no matter how one words it. 

 

Well said.  Inasmuch as the OP cited Gable's losses incorrectly, I thought it would be useful to provide an accurate list.  Apparently, that proved a little unsettling to some - or at least to our friend Rosie.  However, as you point out, fans get defensive when their heroes' losses are discussed.

 

Ironically, Gable stated in A Wrestling Life that; "People are really fascinated by my losses.  That's okay, because no one is more intrigued by my losses than me."  Therefore, while some of his fans may object, Gable himself obviously has no problem with fans discussing his losses. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OP stated that Gable had one loss in high school, so I assumed he was talking about Keister.  Next, a poster asked who the loss was to.  So, I posted the details of the ninth-grade meeting between the two (then) undefeated wrestlers.  Whether one considers that junior high school loss as part of his overall high school record is largely a matter of personal preference, IMO.

 

At any rate - from a historical standpoint - I'm interested in Gable's complete career record from the time he entered official competition until the conclusion of his storied career.  Therefore, I see no problem in considering his 9th - 12th grade record when examining his years as a West Waterloo wrestler. 

I was responding to CT saying that the loss was in HS even after seeing that it was in JHS after saying he was undefeated in HS. He (she?) was complaining that it was a HS loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gable went 64-0 at West Waterloo High School. That was his total high school career.

 

It is also known that Gable wrestled Keister from Edison Junior High School, and he did lose. But that was not HS, it was Jr High.

 

Unlike CA, where "middle school" runs from 6th to 8th grade, and HS is from 9th to 12th, in Iowa, in many cities, elementary schools ran from K thru 6th,  junior HS went from 7th through 9th, and HS 10th through 12th.

 

Gable's and Keister's junior high schools had their own coaches and wrestled against other junior high schools, with completely separate records and competition from the 10th thru 12th grade high schools. There was no mingling on competition.

 

No wrestling publication that has ever said that Gable suffered a loss in HS. To my knowledge only Hurricane and cletus=suzie want to promote the false narrative, since they generally disparage anything related to Iowa wrestling, and that would include Gable. Hurricane made many posts about Gable's jr high loss in the past, insisting that it was HS.  It wasn't.

Edited by rossel3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gable went 64-0 at West Waterloo High School. That was his total high school career.

 

It is also known that Gable wrestled Keister from Edison Junior High School, and he did lose. But that was not HS, it was Jr High.

 

Unlike CA, where "middle school" runs from 6th to 8th grade, and HS is from 9th to 12th, in Iowa, in many cities, elementary schools ran from K thru 6th,  junior HS went from 7th through 9th, and HS 10th through 12th.

 

Gable's and Keister's junior high schools had their own coaches and wrestled against other junior high schools, with completely separate records and competition from the 10th thru 12th grade high schools. There was no mingling on competition.

 

No wrestling publication that has ever said that Gable suffered a loss in HS. To my knowledge only Hurricane and cletus=suzie want to promote the false narrative, since they generally disparage anything related to Iowa wrestling, and that would include Gable. Hurricane made many posts about Gable's jr high loss in the past, insisting that it was HS.  It wasn't.

 

Come now, Rosie.  There's no evidence that anyone's promoting a false narrative in this thread.

Let's examine what each of us has said about Gable's record in his initial year of competition:

 

Rossel3:

"Gable wrestled Keister from Edison Junior High School, and he did lose.  But that was not HS, it was Jr High."

 

Hurricane:

"Actually it was high school, albeit junior high.  West Waterloo didn't have a middle school in Gable's era."

(Note:  This was in reply to Gimp's post indicating that the loss to Keister occurred in MS not HS.)

.................

As shown above, our posts agreed on what type of school Gable was attending when Keister pinned him.  It was the junior high in West Waterloo, not the senior high. Therefore, we stated the same fact, although our semantics may have differed slightly.  

 

Also note that Cletus suggested the following: "Perhaps it's best to simply call it 9th grade.    From 9th-12th grade he was pinned once.   Very impressive no matter how one words it."  

 

Rosie, it's simply ridiculous to view any of the above comments as somehow falsifying or disparaging Gable's record. Quite the contrary actually - I reported factually about Gable's record and Cletus indicated that it was a very impressive one. I can only conclude that - once again - you're simply tilting at windmills.

Edited by HurricaneWrestling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...