IOWA CITY, Iowa — A Hawkeye now will lead the Cyclones onto the mat.
And it could lead to an interesting rivalry.
Iowa State on Monday named Virginia Tech coach — and former Iowa wrestler — Kevin Dresser its new wrestling coach, and did so on the heels of Dresser taking an indirect shot at Iowa last weekend.
Dresser coached the Hokies in a 22-15 victory against Nebraska in the National Duals on Sunday before taking the Iowa State gig. After the match, Dresser talked about the Hawkeyes … without ever mentioning the program.
Dresser: "I take my hat off to Nebraska. Thanks to coming. When a lot of teams are finding ways not to make this happen, they did." #Hokies
— Ryan Dye (@Ryan4VT) February 20, 2017
The National Duals essentially is billed as the Big Ten against the rest of the country. The top Big Ten team meets the top non-Big Ten squad. The second-best teams typically face off and so on down the list it goes.
It’s why the top two teams in the country, Penn State and Oklahoma State, wrestled a dual last weekend. And following that logic, it appeared that Iowa, the second-place team in the Big Ten, would face Virginia Tech.
But the match never materialized. Instead, Iowa traveled to Pennsylvania and beat Edinboro in the National Duals on Saturday.
Dresser, a 1986 NCAA champion, insinuated that Hawkeyes coach Tom Brands ducked the Hokies. There is history with Brands and Virginia Tech. Brands coached the Hokies for two seasons, 2005-06, before taking over the Hawkeyes. Dresser took over for Brands, and the Hokies didn’t make it easy for wrestlers to follow Brands to Iowa City. The exit left hard feelings on both sides.
Brands was asked about not facing Virginia Tech after the Edinboro match by Flo Wrestling.
“I’ll just say this. Virginia Tech made Tom Brands a liar,” Brands told the website. “That is all I’ll say.”
Brands would go on in the interview to say that Dresser is a mentor and that he has “nothing but good things to say about Kevin Dresser.”
Brands gave a statement to Tommy Birch of The Des Moines Register on Monday:
Iowa coach Tom Brands statement on hiring: "We share similar goals and that's to capture championships. That's where my focus is today. "
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) February 20, 2017
The Cy-Hawk rivalry has become one-sided. The Hawkeyes hold a 12-match winning streak in the annual series.
Brands said all the right things about Dresser, who replaces Kevin Jackson. If Dresser keeps making comments about Iowa, he may get the attention of the Hawkeyes in a way an Iowa State coach hasn’t since Cael Sanderson.
And then Iowa-Iowa State could become truly interesting again.