Cyclone vets give Kevin Dresser 200th collegiate coaching win

Iowa State wrestling head coach Kevin Dresser addresses the crowd at Humboldt High School after Iowa State’s 23-13 win over No. 15 Purdue on Dec. 19.

Sam Stuve

Iowa State wrestling head coach Kevin Dresser said he could’ve never imagined it happening. Not in a place so special.

He’s got 200 career coaching wins under his belt.

It’s thanks to No. 13 Iowa State beating No. 15 Purdue 23-13 on Sunday in his hometown of Humboldt, Iowa, in the high school gym he wrestled in high school in the early 1980s.

“Nobody would ever have told me in a million years that I would have won 200 duals and then to win [the] 200th dual and have it happen in my high school gym, no way,” Dresser said following the win.

The site of Dresser’s 200th collegiate career coaching victory, the Humboldt High School Gym, was not only the old stomping grounds for Dresser, but also Purdue head coach Tony Ersland, making this a homecoming for both coaches.

“I thought it was a great event, win or lose it’s obviously more fun to be on the winning side, because we’re all competitors. But I thought the event overall was just a great event,” Dresser said. “Sometimes when you got an opportunity to do something unique and out of the box, especially for the sport of wrestling because we’re all a little out of the box, I think it’s good and I knew that this would be just a packed, jammed, crammed gym.”

That it certainly was.

The gym, which seats about 1,500, was filled up to the brim. And after big wins by Iowa State veterans, the crowd rallied behind Iowa State and got the 200th win for Dresser.

This change in momentum started at the 149-pound weight class. 

No. 24 Jarrett Degen entered the bout with Iowa State down 11-0 after three of the 10 matches. 

Through the first two periods, Degen got takedowns and near-falls against Purdue’s Trey Kruse, and capped it off with four point near-fall which gave him a 20-1 technical fall victory (Degen earned the riding time advantage and was awarded the bonus point after the near-fall, making it 20-1).

This made the score 11-5 Purdue.

Degen’s win was impressive, but in the following match, redshirt junior David Carr, the defending national champion at 157 pounds, had what is probably going to be labeled as the biggest win of the night.

Carr, who is No. 1 in the country in his weight class, faced off against No. 10 Kendall Coleman.

On paper, this was supposed to be the closest match of the night, or one of them, but early in the third period, Carr put Coleman’s shoulders on the mat and got the fall.

“He was so relaxed on the mat, I kind of looked at the ref and was like ‘I don’t know he’s just sitting there,'” Carr said when asked about the tilt he used to pin Coleman. 

Getting the pin and the bonus points in team score is one of the biggest differences that Dresser has seen in Carr from his freshman year until now.

“Two years ago when he was young, he would have been happy with the three point decision for the team. But he’s continued to mature, he’s continued to get mentally tougher and he puts that he puts that on his shoulders,” Dresser said. 

With Carr’s pin, and a point being deducted from Purdue’s team score for unsportsmanlike conduct, which had to do with the pace of getting to the center circle shake hands following the match, Iowa State took its first lead of the night, 11-10.

From there, the wins by Cyclone upperclassmen kept coming.

At 174 pounds, redshirt junior Joel Devine upset No. 21 Gerritt Nijenhuis via a 4-1 decision, and redshirt senior Marcus Coleman, No. 13 at 184, defeated No. 20 Max Lyon 8-2 thanks mostly getting a takedown in each period.

All of this then culminated with a 2-0 win by Sam Schuyler, who did transfer into the program in the summer but is a senior.

With the win Sunday, Dresser has 40 in his five-year tenure with the Cyclones, on top of the 160 he had while coaching at Virginia Tech from 2006-2017.

Since having moved back to Iowa for the Iowa State job in the summer of 2017, Dresser has had the chance to be able reconnect with the citizens of Humboldt.

Which then led to the opportunity for him, a two-time state champion as a high school wrestler for Humboldt in 1980 and 1981, to get his 200th collegiate coaching career win in front of his friends, family and peers on Sunday. 

“One of the really, really good byproducts of taking this job when I took it, four plus years ago, was getting to reconnect with all these people and so I continue to reconnect,” Dresser said. “Every time I come back here, whether it’s for RV TV or whatever it’s for, I get to connect with a lot of these people and you know a lot of them show up at Hilton. Right now Humboldt County leads the ticket sales for season tickets at Iowa State, so these folks get into it.”