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Brands signs new five-year deal

BY MOLLY IRENE OLMSTEAD | JULY 18, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa wrestling team — the proud owner of a nation-leading 26 NCAA titles — hasn't won the team race in two seasons.

But the Hawkeyes will see five All-Americans return to the mat for the 2012-2013 season.

And now they're guaranteed to have their head coach for five more years.

Tom Brands has signed a five-year contract that will keep him with the Hawkeyes through the 2016-17 season, UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta announced on Tuesday.

Brands' annual income will equal at least $225,000 per year starting with the 2012-13 season. The head coach will also receive compensation for reaching competitive, academic, and longevity benchmarks. The details of these incentives have not been released by the Athletics Department; however, it's doubtful whether Brands needs the extra motivation to earn his fourth NCAA championship.

Brands embodies the Iowa wrestling philosophy: Never be satisfied.

"None of those guys are satisfied, short of perfection," Brands said on the team's media day on Nov. 9, 2011. "Let's pin everybody every time, win a national championship in 10 weight classes. That would be a pretty good year."

The Hawkeyes have won three NCAA titles under Brands (2008-10), and he has taken Iowa to the national tournament every year. The lowest finish he's seen as Iowa's head coach is eighth place during his first season in 2006-07.

Brands has coached four grapplers to a total of seven individual national titles. He's been responsible for 14 NCAA finalists, 34 All-Americans, 10 Big Ten champions, and 53 conference placewinners.

And he did that all in six years.

Brands joined the Iowa coaching staff as an assistant coach in 1993 immediately after graduating from the UI (and earning his third NCAA title). He held that position for 12 years before leaving for two years to serve as the head coach at Virginia Tech. But he came back in 2006, and now he's here to stay.

"I know we're biased, but I believe Tom Brands is the best wrestling coach in the country," Barta said in a release. "He's done an incredible job competing, recruiting, setting high expectations in the classroom, and developing character in young men. He approached everything he does with intensity and integrity."

The Hawkeyes will see five 2012 All-Americans return this season: Matt McDonough (125 pounds), Tony Ramos (133), Derek St. John (157), Ethen Lofthouse (174), and Bobby Telford (285). Grant Gambrall (184) also earned All-American honors in 2011.

Two Big Ten champs are coming back — McDonough and St. John.

Things are looking good for Brands to continue his legacy.

"It's always been our mission to win championships and win them right away," he said in a release. "We're not satisfied with the status quo. I understand and respect Iowa's tradition, and we'll continue to embrace the championship mentality that's always defined this program."


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