Dan Gable’s accomplishments in wrestling have created a larger-than-life legacy.
Iowa announced Saturday night that it will honor its legendary former coach with a larger-than-life statue of Gable that will be placed outside the main entrance to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The seven-foot bronze likeness will be sculpted by Larry Nowlan, the same artist who created the Nile Kinnick statue outside Kinnick Stadium.
“That’s impressive if they make a life-size statue,” Gable said Saturday night after the Gable’s Gold banquet at the Coralville Marriott. “I walk around Iowa City and I see some of those statues of some of those famous Iowa Citians, I tell you what, that’s forever.
“If I’ve made that kind of impact that they’re putting those things up, I’m going to have to go home tonight and think of some of that impact because they’re wowing me a little bit. I thought I still had another 20, 25 years of accomplishments and then they’d do something like that.”
Gable coached the Hawkeyes to 15 NCAA titles and 21 Big Ten championships in his 21 seasons. He compiled a 355-21-5 record at Iowa before retiring in 1997. His last team set an NCAA meet record with 170 points and the Hawkeyes had five individual national champions.
“Coach Gable stands in a class on his own in terms of the contributions he’s made to the University of Iowa and the sport of wrestling,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said. “Fifteen NCAA championships and 21 Big Ten titles in 21 years is a remarkable feat, but his progressive contributions go well beyond the numbers.
“He produced the sport’s greatest wrestling environment inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and we believe this statue is fitting and well-deserved tribute that honors his legacy.”