Kevin Dresser stays busy since being hired

Iowa State freshman Kanen Storr wraps up his opponent during a match at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Sunday, Nov. 13. 

Ben Visser

ST. LOUIS — New Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser waited in line outside the Scottrade Center just like every other wrestling fan.

It was cold, but this “fan” had a different level of interest than the mob of people he was surrounded by.

Dresser was named the Iowa State wrestling coach on Feb. 22. Since then, he hasn’t stepped in the wrestling room — he’s mostly been recruiting.

But now the “Kevin Dresser era” has arrived, and just because he wasn’t in the wrestling room doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy.

“A lot of recruiting,” he said.

A few weeks ago Dresser went to Chicago to visit Austin Gomez, a top-ranked recruit who asked for his release from Iowa State when Kevin Jackson stepped down. Dresser said Gomez was on the fence, but after the visit, Dresser got Gomez on his side.

“Gomez is a stud,” Dresser said. “Very passionate family, very great wrestling family, very respected wrestling family in Illinois. At the end of two hours, I just feel like they’re all in, and that’s important.”

Keeping recruits like Gomez and Jarod Verkleeren was important for Dresser, but it was just as important to keep the young guys currently in the room like Kanen Storr and Ian Parker.

Dresser individually met with a lot of the young guys. Keeping young talent wasn’t something he had to worry about when he took the job at Virginia Tech 11 years ago.

“The difference between Virginia Tech and Iowa State is there really wasn’t a lot of wrestling talent at Virginia Tech, there were some great kids, but not the talent that Iowa State has right now,” Dresser said. “But talent doesn’t do you anything if it’s not put in the right vain. I’m not that patient with what we’ve got.”

Dresser’s timetable for Iowa State returning to national prominence? Next season.

He recognizes the NCAA Championships is an incredibly tough tournament with a lot of talent on the mat and a lot of talent in the corners of those mats coaching the athletes.

Right now it’s just Dresser in the corner, he doesn’t have any assistants yet. But that’ll change soon.

“That’s my next priority,” Dresser said. “I want to get done with this weekend. I’ve got a short list of guys we’re looking at. That’s important, our staff is going to be really, really important. The training center staff and our training center athletes that we’re going to put in place here real soon are important, so all of that is to be determined and coming soon.”

Dresser didn’t name any names on the coaching search front, but as far as the Cyclone Regional Training Center, a place where young wrestlers can train, goes, he said he’s gotten all the paperwork done to make it legal with the IRS and USA Wrestling.

Besides that and a few meetings, it’s been mostly recruiting for the future for Dresser to this point.

“Iowa State, we have tradition to sell,” he said. “This is where Dan Gable wrestled, this is where Cael Sanderson wrestled, this is where Nate Carr wrestled, this is where Jim Gibbons wrestled, Joe Gibbons wrestled — I could go on and on and on. Those guys are all superstars and legends and I know there are kids out there that want to be in that same conversation.

“They want to be mentioned with those great Iowa State wrestlers.”