Ex-Gopher joins Hawkeye wrestling staff

BY CODY GOODWIN | JUNE 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands crossed a state border in order to find his new volunteer assistant wrestling coach.

The search stopped at Ben Berhow, who has been an administrative assistant at Minnesota for the past two seasons. Berhow, a former heavyweight wrestler for the Gophers, will join the Iowa wrestling program; Brands made the announcement Tuesday.

“He adds to a lot of good guys here, and he’ll fit in very well,” Brand said. “We liked what he was about, and he fits a need of ours. He’s a big guy, and he adds to what a lot of great guys are doing right now.”

The hiring of Berhow also fills a void in the Iowa coaching staff. Former volunteer assistant coach Kurt Backes recently left the Hawkeye wrestling program to take a job with Wells Fargo in Des Moines.

Berhow, a native of Hayward, Minn., wrestled for four years in the Minnesota wrestling program, and he he compiled 78 victories and three-consecutive trips to the NCAA championships from 2008-10.

While Berhow was on staff with the Gophers, Minnesota crowned four Big Ten and two NCAA individual champions — most notably, Tony Nelson, who is a two-time NCAA heavyweight champion for Minnesota.

Berhow played an integral role in the development of Nelson over the course of the current Gopher heavyweight’s career. He practiced with Nelson throughout each of the last few seasons, striving for solid technique and toughness.

The results speak for themselves. Nelson has a 65-3 record over the last two seasons to go with the two-consecutive national titles, and he is just two victories shy of 100 career wins.

Nelson has said that Berhow has been a huge contributor to his successes.

“[Berlow] was my main workout partner [this past season], and he’s been here the last three years,” Nelson said after winning the 2013 NCAA championship. “He taught me a lot. I appreciate everything he does for me. He’s one of the reasons I’ve done what I’ve done.”

The success that Berhow had with Nelson makes it easy to see that Berhow’s primary task at Iowa will be helping to coach and further develop All-American Hawkeye heavyweight Bobby Telford.

One of those goals that Telford will work with Berhow to achieve entails unseating Nelson as the nation’s top heavyweight.

Brands said he was excited about Berhow arriving at the practice room and getting started right away. Berhow’s feeling was mutual.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for me,” he said in a release. “Iowa wrestling is a prevalent program in our sport, and I’m looking forward to working with Coach Brands and the entire staff. It’s a good fit for me, and I’m excited to get on campus and get going.”

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