Brands Named NWCA Coach Of The Year

John Bohnenkamp

Iowa coach Tom Brands was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year on Wednesday.

The NWCA coaching honor is the second of Brands’ career. He first won the award in 2008 after the Hawkeyes won the national title.

Brands' 2019-20 team was ranked No. 1 after an undefeated season, and the Hawkeyes were favorites for the team title at the NCAA championships before the event was canceled. The Hawkeyes had three top seeds in the tournament, including 125-pounder Spencer Lee, who won the Hodge Trophy has the nation's top wrestler. Iowa had a wrestler in all 10 weight classes, and nine were seeded eighth or better.

Iowa was going for its 24th national title.

The Hawkeyes went 13-0 in dual meets, 9-0 in the Big Ten. Iowa won the team title at the Big Ten championships, scoring 157.5 points with three individual champions. It was the highest point total for an Iowa team since 1995. Brands was named the conference's coach of the year, and Lee was the conference's wrestler of the year.

But they didn't get a chance to win the ultimate prize.

“This team was robbed of history,” Brands said two weeks ago. “Spencer Lee was robbed of history. Pat Lugo, a senior, was robbed of history. We had three No. 1 seeds, nine guys in the top eight. They were robbed of history. They were robbed of opportunity.

“There’s going to be a lot ahead that you don’t know what’s coming up around the corner, so you have to keep your perspective. The consistent message is this coaching staff is working on the future.”

The NWCA honor is Brands’ second national award this season. He was also named 2020 InterMat Coach of the Year.