Iowa unveils new wrestling facility: ‘It has everything you need and more’

The Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa unveiled its new state-of-the-art wrestling facility to the public.

A crowd filled with donors, fans, current and former athletes, coaches and administrators were on hand Thursday afternoon for the dedication ceremony. The 38,500-foot, $31 million dollar Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center adjacent to Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a monument to the current and past men’s and women’s wrestling teams, their past success and the athletes it will help in the future.

“I think you have to have the full package and we have the whole package now,” said Iowa men’s wrestling coach Tom Brands, noting that the NIL landscape and new rules will continue to impact college athletics. “I think facilities, uniforms and everything that goes with being the latest and greatest is important. This (facility is) pretty late and great.”

What’s inside the new Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center

Visitoues tour the Men’s Wrestling locker room during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Visitoues tour the Men’s Wrestling locker room during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The training features include a wrestling room with 30-foot tall ceilings and double the mat space of the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex that was housed inside Carver. Athletes have a strength and conditioning room that opens direct to the wrestling room.

Men’s and women’s teams will have locker rooms on the lower level. Athletic training staff and resources are also located off the practice room. Coaches offices and student-athlete lounges will be on the upper-level that overlook the wrestling room.

One of the notable feature is an underground tunnel system that connects the facility to the court level of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This will allow wrestlers to flow directly from the facility to the arena floor, entering from the other end of the arena.

The Tunnel leading from the new wrestling facility to the event-level at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The Tunnel leading from the new wrestling facility to the event-level at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The women’s program will no longer have to share a locker room with opponents. Sophomore Nyla Valencia said the facility has amenities designed to enhance training and recovery, including specialized training areas with advanced technology to hone skills and reach peak performance. They also have areas for team meetings and to watch and dissect video from competition and practice.

“This facility is more than just a building,” Valencia said. “It is a symbol to our commitment to excellence. A testament to the power of perseverance. A strength of community and the indomitable spirit of the Hawkeye nation.

The women’s wrestling team under head coach Clarissa Chun won the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships and National Wrestling Coaches Association Multi-Divisional Duals titles in its first season of official competition. Ava Bayless, Felicity Taylor, Reese Larramendy, Marlynne Deede and Kylie Welker won individual national titles.

“It’s a place where dreams will be realized, where champions will be made and legacies to be forged.”

A weight Training area directly adjacent to the Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. The proximity of Weight Training and Athletic Training/PT facilities to the new wrestling room was noted by men’s wrestling head coach Tom Brands as a significant improvement. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

A weight Training area directly adjacent to the Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. The proximity of Weight Training and Athletic Training/PT facilities to the new wrestling room was noted by men’s wrestling head coach Tom Brands as a significant improvement. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The large bronze statue of Dan Gable that stands near an entrance to Carver will now be stationed at the entrance of the Goschke Family Training Center.

The main entrance includes a “Hall of Champions,” displaying the Hawkeyes’ college wrestling history. Iowa men’s wrestling has produced 24 national team titles, 85 NCAA individual champions and 367 All-America honors. The Hawkeyes have won 37 Big Ten Conference team championships and 210 individual crowns.

Iowa has at least one All-American every year since 1972 and has had a national finalist in 48 of the last 49 NCAA tournaments, including 34 in a row with Drake Ayala’s runner-up finish at 125 pounds in March.

A trophy room is open to the public.

All the bells and whistles are deafening.

“It’s beautiful here,” said Iowa NCAA runner-up Real Woods, who plans to compete internationally with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. “It has everything you need and more. It’s exciting. It’s going to be very resourceful for everyone training here.”

The Athletic Training/PT area directly adjacent to the Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. The proximity of Weight Training and Athletic Training/PT facilities to the new wrestling room was noted by men’s wrestling head coach Tom Brands as a significant improvement. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The Athletic Training/PT area directly adjacent to the Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room is seen during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. The proximity of Weight Training and Athletic Training/PT facilities to the new wrestling room was noted by men’s wrestling head coach Tom Brands as a significant improvement. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The Hawkeye Wrestling Club for men and women also trains at the facility.

Spencer Lee, a three-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American, will compete for Team USA in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris this summer and is the 20th Hawkeye to be part of the U.S. Olympic team.

“You might as well break this place in with an Olympic gold medal,” Brands said.

Impact of the new Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center

The venture was funded by private donations through the Carver Circle campaign.

“It is a little different in that way,” Brands said about the funds raised strictly from donations. “It’s not like someone handed you a blank check and said design it.”

Brands said ideas materialized in 2015 and the facility started to become possible as early as 2017. The Hawkeyes were the top NCAA men’s wrestling team in a postseason-shortened 2020. They followed with a national team title in 2021.

“We knew the next piece to this was that we have to build the best facility on the planet,” Brands said. “And it is.”

Men’s Wrestling Head Coach Tom Brands speaks during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Men’s Wrestling Head Coach Tom Brands speaks during a dedication ceremony and open house at the University of Iowa’s Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

“We have an opportunity to take wrestling to a higher level,” UI President Barbara Wilson said. “How proud are we that not only are we going to support the men’s wrestling program here but our brand new wrestling program? That is pretty stunning.

“Everywhere I go I brag that we are the first in the Power Five (school) to have women’s wrestling. Now, we have facilities space to celebrate that amazing legacy and we’re going to do it with men and women together.”

Iowa Athletics Director Beth Goetz said the dream had become a reality.

“The Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center will serve the needs of our outstanding wrestling teams supporting almost 70 Hawkeyes annually and hundreds more in the years to come,” Goetz said. “The facility will offer state-of-the-art training spaces for both programs, locker rooms, training tools, team rooms for meetings, meals and study. These resources are fundamental to our mission of ensuring they have the tools to compete at the highest level, the services to ensure their health and well-being and the needed support to pursue their UI degrees.

“It will provide a long-awaited home for those premier programs. A place where their hard work, sweat and tears will lead to a lifetime of memories and friendships.”

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