Brands named InterMat Coach of the Year

Iowa coach Tom Brands guided Iowa to a No. 1 ranking heading into the NCAAs (Photo/Sam Janicki,

Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands has been named 2020 InterMat Coach of the Year, the amateur wrestling website announced Friday.

This award, presented each year since 2006 to the best college wrestling coach in all divisions for his/her college wrestling coaching performance during the 2019-2020 season, is based exclusively on the balloting of writers at InterMat. Each staff member is asked to select five coaches and rank them from first to fifth. Point values are assigned to each placement, ranging from one point to a wrestling coach listed fifth on a voter's ballot, up to nine points for a first-place vote.

Iowa's Tom Brands received a total of 84 points -- including eight out of ten first-place votes from the InterMat staff -- to propel him to the top of the balloting for the 2019-20 season. The only other college wrestling coach to get any first-place votes was Chris Ayres, head coach of the Princeton University mat program. Two InterMat writers voted Ayres as their choice for the nation's top collegiate coach, for a total of 39 points, placing him second in the rankings for this season.

Tom Brands has long been associated with the Iowa Hawkeye mat program, first as a wrestler who was three-time national champion (1989-92) and four-time NCAA All-American, earning Outstanding Wrestler honors at the 1992 NCAA Championships. He was also a three-time Big Ten champion, and won 95 percent of his matches at Iowa, compiling an overall mark of 158-7-2 as a Hawkeye wrestler.

Tom Brands later became a coach at his college alma mater; he just completed his 14th season as Iowa's head coach. In his time at the helm, Brands has guided the Hawkeyes to three NCAA team titles, four Big Ten championships, and a dual meet record of 229-23-1 (.908). What's more, during that time frame, Iowa has crowned 12 NCAA individual champions and earned 72 All-America honors since 2007.

This season, Tom Brands and his mat stars built a perfect 14-0 dual-meet record ... capped off with a successful performance earlier this month at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. Brands led his Hawkeyes to the conference crown with three individual champions -- Spencer Lee at 125 pounds, Pat Lugo at 149, and Alex Marinelli at 165 -- along with runner-up Michael Kemerer at 174 pounds. For that successful performance at the conference championships, Tom Brands was named Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career (having also been so honored in 2008, 2009 and 2010) ... while Spencer Lee was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year.

Prior to the NCAAs being canceled because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, many college wrestling analysts and fans considered Tom Brands' Hawkeyes to be the favorites to claim the team title at the 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

It's been quite a year for Tom Brands. One more bit of good news: Tom Brands -- along with assistant coaches Terry Brands and Ryan Morningstar -- were granted contract extensions through 2026 by the University of Iowa. InterMat's 2020 Coach of the Year award is the latest good news for the Iowa coach.

2020 InterMat Coach of the Year Voting Results
1st-5th-Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)

1. Tom Brands, Iowa 84 (8)
2. Chris Ayres, Princeton 39 (2)
3. Mark Manning, Nebraska 29
4. Pat Popolizio, NC State 21
5. Tony Ersland, Purdue 17
6. Coleman Scott, North Carolina 11
7. Cary Kolat, Campbell 8
T8. Nick Mitchell, Grand View 7
T8. Cael Sanderson, Penn State 7
T8. Kevin Ward, Army West Point 7
T11. T.J. Miller, Loras 5
T11. Matt Storniolo, Northwestern 5
T13. Keith Gavin, Pitt 3
T13. Pat Santoro, Lehigh 3
T15. Steve Costanzo, St. Cloud State 1
T15. Kevin Dresser, Iowa State 1
T15. Zeke Jones, Arizona State 1
T15. Sam Schmitz, McKendree 1

InterMat Coach of the Year Past Winners

2019: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2018: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2017: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2016: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2015: Tom Ryan, Ohio State
2014: Tim Flynn, Edinboro and J Robinson, Minnesota
2013: John Smith, Oklahoma State
2012: Cael Sanderson, Penn State
2011: Mike Denney, Nebraska-Omaha
2010: Rob Koll, Cornell
2009: Tom Ryan, Ohio State
2008: Tom Ryan, Ohio State
2007: Cael Sanderson, Iowa State
2006: John Smith, Oklahoma State


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ban basketball (1) about 8 months ago
I never cease to be amazed at the ebb and flow of perception of coaching success. It wasn't terribly long ago that some were talking that Brands had to go and that his "style is obsolete." Today, he's the Coach of the Year.

I doubt his style changed, but, rather, and, voila, he has strong recruits now. Whodda thunk that that plays the largest role in coaching success, eh, folks?
Childs (1) about 8 months ago
Tom, though the season ended prematurely, the 'Outstanding Coach Award' did not, and YOU are that person. What you accomplished is what we all aspire to do. YOU are to be CONGRATULATED!! My best to you, and Good Luck next year - 'Go Hawks'
PatrickJBurket (1) about 3 months ago
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