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Jim Zalesky vs Tom Brands

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So Zalesky was fired from Iowa in 2006 because he wasn't winning enough NCAA titles...

 

His run as coach looked like this...

 

1998 Champions

1999 Champions

2000 Champions

2001 Runner Up

2002 4th

2003 8th

2004 Runner Up

2005 7th

2006 4th

 

Toms Brands run as head coach looks like this so far...

 

07 8th

08 Champions

09 Champions

10 Champions

11 3rd

12 3rd

13 4th

14 4th

15 Runner Up

16 5th

 

The two sets of results dont seem all that different. Im curious to how Iowas Athletic Admin feel about the lack of championships at Iowa...

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The only real difference I see is that Zalesky's early titles were pretty much residual from the Gable era. Tom and Terry sort of set the ground work on their own from what Zalesky left , guys they recruited and guys Tom recruited at Va Tech (Although Gable did assist one season in 2007). But yea, sort of similar. Who do you replace them with? I mean, is there anyone out there that can produce like Cael can? Everyone is pretty much fighting for second like during the Gable era. Cael will probably end up with 15-17 titles similar to what Gable achieved or possibly more. Parity won't come from the top, only the teams fighting for 2nd.

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Reality is two big Universities are keeping the best east cost kids home. Both Ryan and Cael do good jobs developing the kids. But I do not see Tide turning if Cael and Ryan keep getting best from PA and Ohio the two best prep areas in country.  ( then add others around country coming there stacked) 

 

Frank C

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The similarity of the success of the two coaches at Iowa is undeniable.

 

I do think it is fair to say that Zalesky started out with a Team (left by Gable) that was returning more NCAA points than the second place team scored in the previous year, by quite a bit. So it was pretty hard to not get a least one or two titles from what he was handed.

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The only real difference I see is that Zalesky's early titles were pretty much residual from the Gable era. Tom and Terry sort of set the ground work on their own from what Zalesky left , guys they recruited and guys Tom recruited at Va Tech (Although Gable did assist one season in 2007). But yea, sort of similar. Who do you replace them with? I mean, is there anyone out there that can produce like Cael can? Everyone is pretty much fighting for second like during the Gable era. Cael will probably end up with 15-17 titles similar to what Gable achieved or possibly more. Parity won't come from the top, only the teams fighting for 2nd.

 

Iowa's in a tough spot.  They're still one of the country's premier programs.  However, they're not bringing home NCAA titles like they did in the past. And, to your point, there's no ready answer to the question; "Who would they replace Tom and Terry with?" 

 

Just a wild theory, but here's a scenario that could play out over the next several years:

  1. Dresser does a comparable job at ISU as he did at Virginia Tech.
  2. Brands continues to be unable to bring an NCAA title back to Iowa City.
  3. ISU and Iowa becomes a great rivalry again.
  4. Iowa lures Dresser away from ISU to take over the helm at his alma mater.

Again, just a wild theory, but what if the above was Dresser's long term strategy when he left Virginia Tech for ISU?

 

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I don't know how organized guys like David Taylor, Kyle Dake, or Logan Stieber are, or how good they'd actually be as coaches. But they have name recognition with the young kids and with a world title or two under their belt, preferably Olympic Gold, they'd definitely be high on the list kids would like to wrestle for.

 

That's the only way I can see somebody topping Cael. Has to bring the same cachet to recruiting that he does. John Smith was probably as good or better than Cael ever was, but his glory era was over 20 years ago. Most kids he's recruiting weren't even born when John was doing his thing on the mat. Kinda dulls the luster.

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Reality is two big Universities are keeping the best east cost kids home. Both Ryan and Cael do good jobs developing the kids. But I do not see Tide turning if Cael and Ryan keep getting best from PA and Ohio the two best prep areas in country.  ( then add others around country coming there stacked) 

 

Frank C

Its more then having the best kids from a region come to your school. Cael is a sensational coach and I am pretty sure he can make winners out of most kids that have the right mindset for his system. People always say Gable was plucking all these blue chip recruits from the East when in reality I can only count on my hand the National Champions he had that were actually East coast. The majority of his champions were all Midwestern kids from Iowa and surrounding states. Off the top of my head I can only think of the Banachs from New York, Penrith (NY), Campbell (NJ),Chip was Maryland,but there are few more I'm missing. But I do know McIlravy (SD), Randy Lewis (SD), Barry Davis (IA), Mike Ironside (IA), Royce Alger (IA), Tom Brands (IA), Terry Brands (IA), Jim Zalesky (IA), Joe Williams (IL), TJ Williams (IL), Doug Schwab (IA), Kevin Dresser (IA),Mark Reiland (IA),Jeff McGinness (IA), Daryl Weber (IA), Jesse Whitmer (IA), Pete Bush (IA), Troy Steiner (ND), Terry Steiner (ND), Joel Sharratt (MN), etc, I can keep going. Kistler was from Cali and Goldman was from CO. Fact is Gable molded the guys he felt would survive his system, not if they were a Blue Chip recruit or not.

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Iowa's in a tough spot.  They're still one of the country's premier programs.  However, they're not bringing home NCAA titles like they did in the past. And, to your point, there's no ready answer to the question; "Who would they replace Tom and Terry with?" 

 

Just a wild theory, but here's a scenario that could play out over the next several years:

 

  • Dresser does a comparable job at ISU as he did at Virginia Tech.
  • Brands continues to be unable to bring an NCAA title back to Iowa City.
  • ISU and Iowa becomes a great rivalry again.
  • Iowa lures Dresser away from ISU to take over the helm at his alma mater.
Again, just a wild theory, but what if the above was Dresser's long term strategy when he left Virginia Tech for ISU?

Interesting thoughts. Could very well be the case. I would love the ISU/Iowa rivalry be relevant again.

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I think Iowa need to hang in there with the Brands Bros. I actually see them improving going forward. They are finally landing some of the top P4P guys like Spencer Lee and Gavin Teasdale, and Warner is right there too. Kemerer, Young and Marinelli with those guys could form a potent line up. If they go in another direction they can probably forget about some of those recruits. 

 

Now, if Dresser gets Iowa State past the Hawkeyes then maybe their AD starts to think about switching things up.

Edited by TBar1977

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Lots of points still to be had this year but looks like Iowa will finish 4 or 5 in 2017.  Personally, I think a lot of the coaching change at Iowa had to do with perception and personality.  Jim is a quiet, low-key guy.  Tom is brash and brings a swagger factor--great for soundbytes and he embodies the old Iowa mentality that many felt left with Gable.  Are the results all that different?  Jim--three titles and 7 top-four finishes.  Tom--three titles and 8 top-four finishes.  Slight edge to Tom, but definitely not meeting the expectation of year-in, year-out title threat.  I think most important are couple of observations:  as Cangemi says, now it is about developing wrestlers, and that means in technical skills.  Look at all the Penn State finalists this year who were hitting inside trips and step-over throws--the style is wide-open, dynamic, and technical.  The old get in great shape, push and shove, drive 'em out of bounds Iowa style isn't cutting it against opponents who are also in great shape but are simply better trained technically.

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Guys like to point to Zalesky bringing back a lot of Gable recruited talent, and say his results don't stack up to Brands. On the other hand, Zalesky didn't pilfer the talent he recruited at another university and drag it to Iowa, either.

 

Brands is no better than Zalesky was, imo. He's fun and entertaining though.

Edited by TobusRex

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Zalesky was not competing with Cael.  John Smith didn't get worse at coaching, and yet he is staring at Cael running away with the team title.  So unless the replacement strategy accounts for breaking up what Cael's doing at PSU, then it's a pointless strategy.

 

Additionally, at the highest level, recruiting is a big part of it, and even if there was frustration with Brands, Spencer Lee probably resets the clock on that pressure.  Recruiting these days in all sports is half done by the kids on your team.  They know each other and recruit each other and want to wrestle together.  Other recruits will follow Lee (like Teasdale already did).  

 

But I think some of the big names of our sport make for interesting Head Coaches going forward, and it will be interesting to see who the first big school is to offer Dake, Taylor, Perry, Snyder a head coaching job.  Dake seems like the guy most likely to succeed.  If he can make the world team and win a medal it will complete the pre-coaching resume and allow him to add post collegiate success to the the things he sells to kids going forward.  

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I think Iowa will be right back in the mix over next few years. They are bringing in tons of talent from the east. Once that happens, it opens the door for more kids to follow suit. Lee to Iowa, is like Taylor to PSU. If you want to contend for NCAA titles and then Olympic teams, there are 4 major programs that are best prepared to make that happen. Iowa is one of them. Penn State can't grab all of the studs every year.

 

I do think that Cael has a swagger that is hard to match, however. He is way more cerebral than most other coaches. By making the sport "fun" (According to every PSU kid interviewed), he is more likely to avoid burn-out and get his kids to peak at the right time.

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I don't know how organized guys like David Taylor, Kyle Dake, or Logan Stieber are, or how good they'd actually be as coaches. But they have name recognition with the young kids and with a world title or two under their belt, preferably Olympic Gold, they'd definitely be high on the list kids would like to wrestle for.

 

That's the only way I can see somebody topping Cael. Has to bring the same cachet to recruiting that he does. John Smith was probably as good or better than Cael ever was, but his glory era was over 20 years ago. Most kids he's recruiting weren't even born when John was doing his thing on the mat. Kinda dulls the luster.

John Smith was the best the US has ever had in International Competition. Many of the recruits for college may do Freestyle but they are being recruited for College teams wrestling Folkstyle.

Only one guy was 159-0, Outstanding Wrestler 4 times while winning it all each time and was on the Wheaties cereal box.

 

Olympic Gold for Cael was good, John Smith has two.

 

College recruiting - Cael Sanderson's record paves the way whenever Penn State recruiting is coming up your front walk.

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John Smith was the best the US has ever had in International Competition. Many of the recruits for college may do Freestyle but they are being recruited for College teams wrestling Folkstyle.

Only one guy was 159-0, Outstanding Wrestler 4 times while winning it all each time and was on the Wheaties cereal box.

 

Olympic Gold for Cael was good, John Smith has two.

 

College recruiting - Cael Sanderson's record paves the way whenever Penn State recruiting is coming up your front walk.

Cael's 159-0 proved that he is the only person to go undefeated over four years. It's likely that smith was the better wrestler of the two in their junior and senior seasons given his world titles at the same time. Similarly, I think Burroughs was better by his senior season and Snyder was better as a true sophomore than Cael as a redshirt freshman.

 

There's a difference between peak performance and overall career record.

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Would it be fair to characterize Brand's so-called "dual recruiting class" as a similar nice starting point as Zalesky's starting point? 

 

No, since there was no guarantee any of those kids were going to be great NCAA wrestlers except for probably Metcalf.  And the bottom line is they only got consistent NCAA points from two of them: Metcalf and Borschel.  Zalesky returned, as someone previously noted, more NCAA team points than the returning second place team had scored.

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