August 13, 2010 by David Gillaspie
One name represents wrestling in America.
Dan Gable. The DG.
He marked the sport like no other competitor or coach marked any other sport.
So what’s the problem? Call it proper recognition.
NFL Super Bowl winners hold the Lombardi Trophy, named after Vince Lombardi who coached the Green Bay Packers to wins in the first two games. But was he the best at what he did? Bill Walsh took the SF 49ers to three titles and earned the name ‘The Genius.’
Dan Gable took his Iowa Hawkeyes to nine straight titles and earned the name Dan Gable.
Jimmy Johnson traded Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys to the Minnesota Vikings and won three titles in four years. Yet he’s no Vince Lombardi, The Genius, or Dan Gable.
Chuck Noll coached the Pittsburgh Steelers to four NFL titles, the most of any coach in history. His nickname should be Dan Gable.
The big difference between the Dan Gable streak and the NFL Super Bowl winning coaches is they got their wins with the same teams intact. The pretty boys all have name recognition. Bart Starr, Joe Montanna, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw. Maybe they’re not all that pretty, but they were a consistent link on their teams.
What is the link to nine straight Iowa Hawkeye titles? Take a minute. I’ll argue that it’s Dan Gable because no one wrestles nine years in college. It’s called eligibility and it runs out.
Dan Gable was the quarterback.
From dangable.com: “The Hawkeyes won 25 consecutive Big Ten championships, 21 under Gable as head coach and four while he was an assistant coach and administrator. He had a winning percentage of .932 and captured nine consecutive (1978-86) NCAA Championships. At the time that equaled the longest streak of national titles won by any school in any sport, and is also held by Yale golf (1905-13) and Southern Cal track (1935-43).”
Tied with golf and track with nine straight?
Who is Dan Gable tied with for racking fifteen titles in all? If you google “most NCAA team titles won by one coach” you find John Wooden whose nickname was the ‘Wizard of Westwood.’
I love John Wooden, but he’s no Dan Gable.
Two of the top coaches in NBA history have fewer titles than Dan Gable. Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics is the closest example, but Phil Jackson, the ‘Zen Master’ has the numbers. With eleven titles as a coach of teams with players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and two as a player on teams that included Willis Reed and Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe, he totals thirteen.
It’s a huge accomplishment, but he’s no Dan Gable.
When you google DG what do you get? Dan Gable? You should. Instead it’s Dolce & Gabbana. Try it. Do you know Dolce & Gabbana? They are all about “the metropolitan glamour: an eclectic and contemporary brand, the expression of a changing world.”
Sounds nice, right? Dolce & Gabbana is “the new luxury, authentic and unconventional. A style that expresses new forms of elegance, presenting itself as a modern classicism.”
I know what you’re thinking, “oolala. Where can I get some of that Dolce & Gabbana? I needs some Dolce & Gabbana gear from their Fall-Winter collection for men and women.”
Sure you do.
I asked a fashion expert, my mother-in-law, who says Dolce & Gabbana is “top of the line, terribly expensive, I can only wish I had some.”
What does Dolce & Gabbana have that Dan Gable doesn’t? It’s general name recognition to a public yearning for high quality. A search for DG should begin with Dan Gable and go from there. The clothes hangers strutting on fashion runways might disagree, but adding more Dan Gable to their menu couldn’t hurt.
Is there a way to increase the Dan Gable-DG profile? How do you push the brand to the top of every search of best coach, winningest coach, top coach? How do you get Dan Gable on the same page with John Wooden, Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson, and Bill Walsh? Does it take a catchy nickname?
I’ll make the call: the way to lift wrestling is by shining a brighter light on the biggest brand. DG. The first step came with Tom Brands, the next is pitching a bigger tent for DG.
Can you see Dan Gable in Dolce & Gabbana? Time to hit the New York fashion runways for a little roadwork if that’s what it takes.
You make the next call.