Brands voted InterMat Coach of the Year for second straight year

Tom Brands coaching Jaydin Eierman in the NCAA finals (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Tom Brands guided the Iowa Hawkeyes to an undefeated dual meet season, share of the Big Ten dual meet championship, Big Ten tournament championship and the program's first national championship since 2010.

On Thursday, Brands was named 2021 InterMat Coach of the Year. It's the second straight year Brands has received the award.

This award, presented each year since 2006 to the best college wrestling coach 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.

Brands received a total of 71 points -- including four of the 10 first-place votes from the InterMat staff -- to propel him to the top of the balloting for the 2021 season. Penn State coach Cael Sanderson and Arizona State coach Zeke Jones both received three first-place votes. Sanderson and Jones finished second and third respectively in the voting. Oklahoma State coach John Smith and Oklahoma coach Lou Rosselli rounded out the top five vote getters. Other coaches receiving votes included Pat Popolizio (NC State), Tony Robie (Virginia Tech), Kevin Dresser (Iowa State), Jason Borrelli (Stanford), Omi Acosta (Life), Steve Costanzo (St. Cloud State), John Hangey (Rider) and Cary Kolat (Navy).

Brands led the Hawkeyes to a perfect 5-0 dual meet record in 2021, outscoring their opposition 166-48. Iowa shared the Big Ten's dual meet championship with Penn State. The Hawkeyes went on to claim their second straight title at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships, scoring 159.5 team points and crowning four individual champions. Iowa won the team title by 35.5 points, which was the largest margin of victory by a conference champion since the 2010 Hawkeyes won by 37 points.

The Hawkeyes carried that momentum to the 2021 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, winning their 24th national championship by 15.5 points and crowning seven All-Americans, highlighted by Spencer Lee winning his third NCAA title at 125 pounds.

2021 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 71 (4)
2. Cael Sanderson, Penn State 66 (3)
3. Zeke Jones, Arizona State 41 (3)
4. John Smith, Oklahoma State 20
5. Lou Rosselli, Oklahoma 13
6. Pat Popolizio, NC State 11
7. Tony Robie, Virginia Tech 10
8. Kevin Dresser, Iowa State 5
9. Jason Borrelli, Stanford 4
T10. Omi Acosta, Life 3
T10. Steve Costanzo, St. Cloud State 3
12. John Hangey, Rider 2
13. Cary Kolat, Navy 1

InterMat Coach of the Year Past Winners

2020: Tom Brands, Iowa
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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Dave J (1) about 2 weeks ago
Interesting choice. lineup full of 25 year olds that essentially got beat by a dominant freshman lineup. 4-1
and the Warner ghost pin-lol.
why would anyone go so hard against the P4P best man 1 week b4 the NCAA's that they tear his ACL?? He had no competition so didnt need to go hard-he beat em in his sleep. The trip to Iowa was the Olympic dream-bigger picture-NCAA's was forgone. Not so sure that decision making, coaching, or planning deserves an award, as great a coach as he is. 3 more years to heal up.
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