Bobby Douglas

With over 87 seasons of success, Iowa State's wrestling program has established itself as a front-runner in college wrestling. Five coaches have contributed to the tradition-rich history of ISU wrestling, putting together a résumé of eight national team titles, 12 conference team championships, 42 NCAA champions, 113 conference champions, 135 All-Americans and a national record of 918 dual meet victories.

Iowa State head coach Bobby Douglas, now in his 13th season at ISU, has made many notable contributions to the Cyclone wrestling program. Since taking the helm in 1992, Douglas has accumulated a 171-66-3 dual record, an amazing .714 winning percentage. Most recently on his long list of accolades, Douglas served on an Olympic coaching staff for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and helped Cael Sanderson bring home the gold medal. Last season Douglas joined Oregon State's Dale Thomas, Iowa State's Harold Nichols, Rutgers's John Sacchi as the fourth Division I wrestling head coach to win 400 career matches with a 22-9 victory over Nebraska on Jan. 26.

He has coached ten ISU squads to top-10 NCAA team finishes, including runner-up teams in 1996, 2000 and 2002. Douglas has produced six national champions, 17 conference champions and 25 All-Americans at Iowa State, highlighted by undefeated four-time NCAA champion Cael Sanderson and ISU's 10th four-time All-American, Joe Heskett, who became a national champion in 2002.

Douglas's 2004 team was led by senior Zach Roberson (133) who captured his first national championship against Josh Moore from Penn State. Stablilizing four weight classes were a group of redshirt freshmen in Trent Paulson (149), Travis Paulson (157), Grant Turner (174) and Kurt Backes (184). Grant Nakamura (125), Nate Gallick (141), Nick Passolano (165) and Scott Coleman (HWT) were returning starters from the 2003 team.

Douglas led this ISU squad to an 16-4 dual record. He sent eight wrestlers into the 2004 NCAA Championship in St. Louis, Mo., producing a national champion and five All-Americans, Roberson (1st), Gallick (5th), Travis Paulson (6th), Backes (7th) and Coleman (8th). The Cyclone performance was good for sixth place team finish.

Now, in 2005, Douglas will be looking to capitalize on the experience his wrestlers received at the NCAA Championships and build on a successful 2004 campaign. Douglas will only lose one starter (Roberson) and rely on his returning seven NCAA qualifiers and four All-Americans. Douglas is in the stages of creating another national championship contending team and there is no other head coach more worthy of this task than Douglas, whose collegiate and Olympic credentials as a competitor and coach give him a unique vision for the future.

In 2002, Douglas was recognized as Wrestling Institutes Newsmagazines's Coach of the Year. He guided a Cyclone squad of four seniors, four transfers, a sophomore and a redshirt freshman to a 17-5 dual meet record and a third-place showing at the Big 12 tournament, before finishing as runner-up at the NCAA Championship in Albany, N.Y. Douglas coached three national champions, Cael Sanderson (197), Joe Heskett (165) and Aaron Holker (141), and two All-Americans, Billy Maldonado (149) and Zach Roberson (133). ISU's three national champions were the most since the 1987 Iowa State team crowned four NCAA champions in College Park, Md. The Cyclones' five All-Americans were the most since the 2000 ISU squad, which also placed second at the national tournament.

The most amazing story in 2002 was Cael Sanderson, who under Douglas, became the greatest wrestler in collegiate history. Sanderson became the first college wrestler to complete his career with four NCAA individual titles and an undefeated record of 159-0. He also was the first to be named the NCAA Championship's Outstanding Wrestling four-straight years and claim the prestigious Dan Hodge Trophy, given annually to the nation's top collegiate wrestler, three-straight seasons.

In 2000, Douglas was named the National Wrestling Coach of the Year as the Cyclones went 20-2 in dual action, including a win over Minnesota for the national duals team title. Douglas was named the Big 12 Conference's Coach of the Year after a runner-up finish at the league championship. A season of success crescendoed to a runner-up national finish.

Douglas sent four wrestlers into the 2000 NCAA Championship finals, the most Cyclones to make the championship match since 1987. At the NCAA Championship, Cael Sanderson won a second-straight 184-pound title and was named the NCAA Tournament's Outstanding Wrestler for the second-straight year. His performance earned him the Dan Hodge Trophy. Cody Sanderson (133), Joe Heskett (165), Zach Thompson (197) and Trent Hynek (HWT) all earned All-America honors.

Iowa State's NCAA runner-up finish in 2000 was the team's best national placing since Douglas turned an injury-plagued 1996 regular season into one of the most remarkable NCAA Tournament performances in recent memory. The Cyclones finished second that season, with all five qualifiers attaining All-American status. Current ISU assistant coach Chris Bono won the NCAA 150-pound title, while Jason Nurre (118) and current volunteer coach Dwight Hinson (126) earned runner-up status. Derek Mountsier (142) finished fourth and Barry Weldon placed fifth (167). Iowa State has finished first or second at the NCAA Tournament 23 times.

For Douglas, life at the top of collegiate wrestling has been the rule. He saw seven wrestlers on his first Cyclone team earn All-America honors at the 1993 NCAA Championship, ISU's highest total in 10 seasons. Iowa State crowned five Big Eight champions and finished just one-half point short of the conference crown. The Cyclones were 13-4 in dual competition and Douglas was named Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year. His second ISU squad featured four-time All-American Eric Akin, who placed second nationally at 118 pounds. Derek Mountsier (134) and Dan Troupe (190) also earned All-America honors. Douglas continued his winning ways in his third year, leading the Cyclones to 17 dual wins, ISU's most since 1987-88. Two All-Americans were crowned in Chris Bono and Dwight Hinson, with Hinson earning Freshman-of-the-Year honors from Amateur Wrestling News.

Before taking over Iowa State's prestigious wrestling program, Douglas built one of his own at Arizona State. From 1975 to 1992, Douglas guided ASU to nine conference titles and nine top-10 NCAA team finishes, including the school's first national championship in 1988 and consecutive NCAA runner-up finishes in 1989 and 1990. He coached three national champions, 37 conference champions and 58 All-Americans. During Douglas' 18 years at Arizona State, his teams won nearly 75 percent of their dual matches (226-76-6), making Douglas the all-time winningest coach in Sun Devil history.

Douglas' coaching accomplishments have not gone unnoticed, earning conference coach of the year honors nine times at ASU and three times with Iowa State. He was USA Wrestling's Man of the Year in 1992 and the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2000. Douglas is considered one of the nation's most knowledgeable and respected experts in his field and because of this he has been USA Wrestling's top choice to coach several World and Olympic teams, most recently the 2003 and 2002 U.S. Freestyle World Teams. Unfortunately, the 2002 U.S. World Team was unable to compete at the World Championships in Teheran, Iran.

Douglas has been one of the most successful and active freestyle coaches in the nation. He served as the head coach of the 1992 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team that competed in Barcelona, Spain. Under Douglas' guidance, all 10 U.S. wrestlers placed among the top 10 competitors in their respective weight classes--a U.S. Olympic first. The U.S. claimed six individual medals, led by gold medalists John Smith, Bruce Baumgartner and Iowa State's own Kevin Jackson. Excluding the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, which were boycotted by the powerful Eastern Bloc nations, the three gold medals marked the United States' highest gold medal total since the 1972 Munich Olympics, where Cyclone wrestlers Ben Peterson and Dan Gable won gold medals and Chris Taylor won a bronze.

During the four Olympic Games that preceded the Barcelona Games (1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988), Douglas served as a valuable member of the U.S. coaching staff, paving the way for his appointment as the 1992 head coach.

Douglas has served as head coach of two previous U.S. World Championships teams. He led the 1989 U.S. World Cup team as well as the 1991 Pan American Games team. He has been an assistant coach on numerous other U.S. international teams. He was named the 1992 USA Wrestling Freestyle Coach of the Year.

Considered one of the world's top wrestling technicians, Douglas served as the U.S. head coach at the 1989 World Championship in Switzerland. In December of 1988, he guided a U.S. squad to a 7-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the Sunkist/Fiesta Bowl Takedown I. The win marked the first time in the 17-year history of dual matches between the two countries that the United States emerged victorious.

Douglas served as an assistant at the 1994 World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as assisting the U.S. team at the 1995 World Championship in Atlanta and the 1996 Olympic Games. Douglas was a member of the United States' staff at the 1987 World Cup and 1986 Goodwill Games and World Championship. In 1983, Douglas coached the U.S. National team in the Soviet Union and served as an assistant coach for six U.S. teams. Douglas will be an Olympic coach again for the 2004 Olympic Team in freestyle wrestling that will participate in Athens, Greece. In all, Douglas has been an assistant at six Olympic games and head coach at one.

As a competitor, Douglas captured five national championships and a pair of U.S. Olympic Trials titles. He had a fourth-place featherweight finish at the 1964 Tokyo Games and he captained the U.S. Olympic freestyle team at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. He was named the nation's outstanding wrestler in 1970, the year he retired. He accumulated a career record of 303-17-7 (.953) from his high school days through his World Championship competition. He was runner-up at the World Championship and won a bronze medal and placed fourth at the previous World Championship.

Born in poverty, Douglas rose to the top of the wrestling world. Douglas became the first black Ohio high school state titlist when he captured the 112-pound weight class at Bridgeport High School. He wrestled for West Liberty (W.V.) State College and won the NAIA title and was runner-up at the NCAA Championship.

After transferring to Oklahoma State, Douglas won the Big Eight Conference 147-pound crown. The Cowboys never lost a dual meet with Douglas in the lineup and captured a pair of conference championships and the 1964 NCAA team title.

In 1987, Douglas was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame following his enshrinement into the NAIA Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1985. Douglas is also a member of the Ohio Hall of Fame and in 1999 was inducted into the Arizona State Hall of Fame. Most recently Douglas was selected as a member of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2004.

He has written five books on wrestling technique - Takedown I, Takedown II, Pinning and Olympic Technique, Take it to the Mat, and The Last Takedown. Douglas is one of a handful of gold certified U.S. coaches.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State in 1967 and his master's degree from ASU in 1981, where he was admitted to candidacy for his doctoral degree.

Douglas and his wife, Jackie, have one son, Bobby.


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Marriage 1 Jackie 
1 Child:
  1. Bobby

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