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Minutes after Ed's victory, his brother, Lou, charged onto the mat in the heavyweight division. He's a different breed from Ed. Gable says of Lou, "Whatever the rest of the group is doing, he wants to do something else." But Gable can handle all personalities; that's one mark of how good a coach he is. Thus, Lou ended up being hell on legs all year and never more so than in the NCAA finals when he grabbed Iowa State's Wayne Cole in a classic bear hug and ripped him over backward. End of match.
The brawling Banach boys, both seniors, have been the heart and soul of the Iowa team for four seasons. A fan walked by and said, "Thanks, Looie, you've pleased a lot of people over the years."
Replied Lou, "Thanks, I've pleased myself."
The other Hawkeye winners were Barry Davis (126) and Jim Zalesky (158), both juniors. Davis, in a typical Iowa-style performance, defeated Arizona State's Gary Bohay 5-2 by outlasting him and by showing superior conditioning. Zalesky, undefeated this season (40-0), whipped Lou Montano of Cal Poly 7-4 with a combination of quickness and extremely effective blocking of Montano's offense. Iowa's only loser among the five finalists was freshman 177-pounder Duane Goldman, who was defeated 4-2 by Oklahoma's Mark Schultz, who won his third national championship. (Also winning a third NCAA crown was Iowa State's Nate Carr at 150.) But Goldman was not intimidated; he'll be back.
So Iowa wins while others complain. There is much pointing, for example, at the philanthropy of the late Roy Carver, the Hawks' angel, whose enormous wealth enabled him to throw money at the University of Iowa—more than $11 million, and still counting. Wrestling was his major athletic love, and the Hawks have benefited mightily from his will. Other schools are free, of course, to raise money for wrestling, and a few do. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, for example, are getting with it seriously. And in truth, Iowa didn't win everything. Outstanding Wrestler for the meet was Oklahoma State's Mike Sheets, the 167-pound titlist, who won his five bouts by a combined score of 68-3.
But the major reason the Hawks keep winning is Gable. Some experts insist Iowa is so good the Hawkeyes would go on winning without him; that's wrong. Gable is Iowa wrestling. " Dan Gable," says Wrestling Hall of Fame Director Bob Dellinger, "didn't steal anything from anybody. He just went to work. Others have to realize that you never succeed when your goal is tearing down someone else."
Says Goldman, "I knew if I wanted to be the best, I had to come to Iowa and wrestle for Gable. That way I could start at the top—and work my way up."
Nobody in Oklahoma City disputed that the Hawks were the finest college wrestling team in history. And next year, it looks as if they'll be even better. Gable says he plans to replace the Banachs—230 wins between them plus five national titles—with "people as good or better." Ed Banach agrees: "It doesn't matter who you beat from other schools because you know there's somebody back in the wrestling room in Iowa City who can kick your butt."
"If other teams could win," says Gable, "it might generate more enthusiasm. But we're not going to lose on purpose. I just think all the others need to get with it." The idea that Iowa's excellence is hurting the sport is a mystery to Lou Banach. "How can you ruin wrestling by going out and wrestling your heart out?" he asks. "There are times when I wonder why I am going through all the hard work. Then, like now, I look up at the scoreboard and I know."