Proof that wrestling lives in Iowa: State-of-the-art training facility will help the men’s and women’s wrestlers achieve their dreams.
Thursday, May 23, 2024

After years of planning, fundraising, and development, the University of Iowa wrestling programs have a new training center that complements their world-class competition home at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

Coaches, athletes, administrators, fans, and donors celebrated the dedication of the Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center on May 30. The 38,000-square-foot facility is the new training home of the Iowa men’s and women’s wrestling programs. The wrestling room on the south end of the building is connected by underground tunnel to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, recognized as one of the best wrestling venues in the world.

“Iowa City is the mecca of wrestling and Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a destination for wrestlers and wrestling fans from around the world. This new facility is at that level. It is state of the art, and with the people we have in this room, it will only get better with time,” says Iowa men’s wrestling head coach Tom Brands. 

The two-level building features a Hall of Champions that pays homage to the history of Iowa wrestling. The main entrance welcomes visitors with trophy displays celebrating Iowa’s All-Americans and national champions. The lower level includes locker rooms for the men’s and women’s teams, while the upper level houses student-athlete lounges and coaches’ offices that overlook the wrestling room.

The facility’s largest space, the Bob and Kathy Nicolls Wrestling Room, features 30-foot-high ceilings with nearly twice as much practice space as the former wrestling room. An adjacent strength and conditioning room on the lower level flows seamlessly into the wrestling room.

The underground tunnel that connects the two facilities serves as a gateway from the training center to the arena, where both programs will continue to compete in front of sold-out audiences. 

“The new facility is beautifully designed, and we are grateful for the support we continue to receive from our donors and fans, and the entire wrestling community,” says Iowa women’s head coach Clarissa Chun. “I am also grateful for the hard work of the men’s program and the UI Center for Advancement for their fundraising efforts and commitment to this project.”

Hawkeye wrestling has been an international brand since 1973, when former Iowa head coach Dan Gable started the Hawkeye Wrestling Club to provide the training, coaching, and resources necessary to help postgraduates pursue their dreams of becoming world and Olympic champions.

That standard of success has existed for more than 50 years. Originally housed in the UI Field House, Gable’s teams moved into Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 1983. The wrestling room was renovated in 2010, and an investment in the new facility represents the university’s commitment to two storied programs. The Iowa men have won 24 NCAA team titles and continue to represent the Hawkeye state at the international level. Earlier this month, former Hawkeye Spencer Lee wrestled in Turkey and qualified his weight class for the 2024 Paris Olympics. He is the 20th Hawkeye to represent Team USA on the Olympic stage.  

The wrestling room in the new Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center
The wrestling room is named in honor of longtime supporters Bob and Kathy Nicholls.

In 2021, the university announced that Iowa would become the first Division I Power Five school to compete in women’s wrestling. Two and a half years later, the Iowa women joined the elite company of champions by winning the 2024 national championship in their inaugural season. Iowa crowned six individual champions and earned 12 All-America honors. Chun was named USA Wrestling Coach of the Year, and Kylie Welker was named The Open Mat’s NCAA Women’s Wrestler of the Year. 

The new facility extends a decades-long tradition of excellence and will pull new eyes toward Iowa City, which was dubbed Wrestletown, USA, when Carver-Hawkeye Arena first hosted the United States Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in 2012. Carver later hosted the trials in 2016, and then hosted the UWW World Cup in 2018. The university is synonymous around the world with wrestling, and the Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center is emblematic of its commitment to the past, present, and future. 

“This facility represents both our storied history and a commitment to continued championship level success. The generous philanthropic support speaks to the passion our donors have for the experience of our student-athletes, and how critical it is to have an excellent training environment,” says Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Beth Goetz. “The support for Hawkeye athletics is second to none, and we now have a space that reflects the incredible standards of Coach Brands and Coach Chun.”  

The $31 million training center was funded entirely by donations through the Carver Circle campaign. The wrestling room is named in honor of Bob and Kathy Nicolls. The building is named in honor of Doug and Ann Goschke. Both families are among the hundreds of contributors who support Iowa wrestling.

“The entire facility is impressive, and it will be such a benefit for the athletes,” says Ann Goschke. “Doug and I were raised in Iowa. We’re staunch supporters of the Hawkeyes, and we look forward to events every year. The athletic department has an awesome team of people providing an unforgettable experience for these kids.”