1 established wrestling organization
1 corporate sponsor
1 wrestling fan
2 college administrations
2 coaching staffs
2 wrestling legends
miscellaneous additional “spices”
1. Established wrestling organization (Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum) selects theme(s) (Coe College vs. Cornell College dual meet and honoring Barron Bremner) for holding a wrestling promotional event.
2. Established wrestling organization contacts coaching staffs and administrations of the two colleges with the idea.
3. Schools respond in the affirmative.
4. Established wrestling organization contacts local fan to act as “organizer” for the event.
5. Established wrestling organization and fan meet and decide:
a. event promotion strategy.
b. “hook” – honoring Barron Bremner.
c. event expenses should be covered by sponsor, if possible.
d. event should be a fund-raiser for the two colleges’ wrestling programs.
6. Fan arranges venue and helps develop an invitation list.
7. Established wrestling organization finds corporate sponsor (Body Bar Systems) so that all ticket sale proceeds can be donated to the schools.
8. Established wrestling organization confirms the participation of 2 wrestling legends (Barron Bremner and Dan Gable).
9. Event is promoted with radio interviews, newspaper article, direct mail, emails and various online postings.
10. Event program is developed: speeches from the established wrestling organization, the fan, the two coaches, the guest of honor (Barron Bremner) and Dan Gable.
11. Mix in a liberal quantity of spices like members of the legendary 1947 Cornell NCAA and AAU champions; 2X Cornell All-American , Lloyd Corwin – who beat 1960 Olympic champion, Doug Blubaugh, in the quarter finals of the 1955 NCAA championships; former Coe wrestler, Mark Olinyk, who was one of Gable’s workout partners before the 1972 Olympics; super fans like Rich Foens and Bob Majors and civic leaders who care about the future of wrestling tourism in Cedar Rapids.
12. Stir it all together with lots of stories, memories and the conviction that wrestling truly is the world’s greatest sport. Serve it HOT.
In the past few weeks, two more NCAA Division I universities, Duquesne and Cal State-Bakersfield, announced the elimination of their wrestling programs. The National Wrestling Coaches Association will once again do the yeoman’s share of the work in trying to save these programs. The rest of the wrestling community will respond with letters, petitions and donations and maybe – just, maybe – one, or both of those programs can be saved.
WAKE UP! The time to save a program is before it is threatened. These are overwhelmingly difficult economic times for most colleges and universities. Just assume that your favorite or closest wrestling team is potentially on the chopping block. Don’t spend your time whining and moaning and waiting for someone – the NWCA, the NCAA, the coach, the alumni – anyone else but you, to fix the problem. ACT! If your ideas for growing – yes, GROWING, intercollegiate wrestling are good enough to post on an online forum, they’re good enough to present to an athletic director or a wrestling coach or the president of the alumni association.
The above recipe can be modified to fit almost any school or situation and it “nourishes” the sport in many ways. Showing college administrators that wrestling is important to a community and to alumni is first among those. It also lays the groundwork for fund raising. I know it isn’t fair when a wrestling team has to raise money to save itself and a softball team doesn’t. SO WHAT! Life hasn’t been fair since Eve talked Adam into eating that apple. Get busy and endow this sport.
Kyle Klingman and Kent Sesker from the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum are to be commended for conceiving the Coe/Cornell breakfast. Thank you, Arno Niemand, of Body Bar Systems for sponsoring it.
Kudos also go to Coe AD, John Chandler; Cornell AD John Cochrane and assistant AD Dick Simmons and coaches Duroe and Oostendorp for their participation. However, the true “man of the hour” – the guy everyone came to see – was Barron Bremner.
It made for one heck of a day to be a wrestling fan.