Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grateful for Greatness-Dan Gable and John Wooden

I don't know if there are many men that have enjoyed as much succees in their life as Dan Gable has. Or have imparted as much success on other men.

Many of you probably don't even know the name.  I was reminded of this living legend today in a column in USA Today by Mike Lopresti.  For those not familiar with Mr. Gable let me provide a brief summary:
  • His record as a high school and collegiate record as a wrestler was 182-1.  The only match he ever lost was his last as a collegian Iowa State.
  • He was a 3-time high school state champion and 2-time NCAA champion.  He was not permitted to wrestle as a freshman at either level.
  • He won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics.  He did not lose one point in any match on his way to the gold.
  • He was head wrestling coach at Iowa for 21 years.  He won the Big Ten title 21 times and the National Championship an incredible 15 times in those 21 years.  His record in dual meets as a head coach was 355-21-5.
This was a man who either wrestled in or coached in dual meets and saw victory over 500 times and experienced defeat only 23 times in his career.  There is likely no athlete who has had such success in any sport as both a participant and coach.  The only other man who might be his equal would be John Wooden.  

Most people know Wooden as the coach who led UCLA to 10 NCAA championships in basketball.  This included 10 championships in the 12 years between 1964 and 1975.  However, Wooden was also a 3-time All-American at Purdue which was the national champion in 1932.  He also led his high school team to a state championship and 2 runner-up finishes.

Wooden passed away last year a few months short of his 100th birthday.  Dan Gable is 62 years old.  Let him live as long as Wooden did.   We need men like this around us as long as possible for the lessons they provide about success and excellence.  What better man is there than one that has the gift of greatness but can also share that gift so that others may also drink from the cup of success?  I for one am grateful for the greatness of Dan Gable and John Wooden.

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