According to the Roanoke Times, VT wrestling coach Tom Brands will end all
speculation this afternoon about whether he will leave for Iowa when he is
introduced as the new coach of the Hawkeyes at a 4 pm press conference. He is
expected to take many of his prized recruits with him to Iowa City, and Virginia
Tech’s dreams of a national championship in wrestling are severely damaged.
The Roanoke Times article quotes redshirt freshman wrestler Brent Metcalf as
saying that Brands called his VT wrestlers and told them he was leaving.
Among the current Tech wrestlers expected to move to Iowa with Brands include Metcalf,
Dan LeClere, Joe Slaton and Jay Borschel. LeClere, Slaton and Borschel are from
the state of Iowa, and Metcalf was rated by some services as the #1 recruit in
the nation. They each took a redshirt during the 2005-06 season.
The status of incoming recruits is unknown as well. Christiansburg High
School wresting coach Kevin Dresser was quoted by the Roanoke Times as saying
the commitments of Christiansburg wrestlers Matt Epperly, Jantzen Minton and
Cody Gardner are “kind of up in the air.”
Brands came to Virginia Tech on June 9, 2004 and immediately turned Virginia
Tech into a threat in the wrestling world. The Hokies won a school record 16
dual meets during his first season as coach and also won the ACC dual meet
title. Five Tech wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships, and in the
offseason Brands signed one of the top recruiting classes in the country.
Virginia Tech’s record slipped this season, as the Hokies recorded just one
win in dual meets because they redshirted the vast majority of their talented
recruiting class. Nevertheless, three Hokies qualified for the NCAA
Championships, and heavyweight Mike Foust was named ACC Wrestler of the Year.
Brands returns to his alma mater, where he won Big 10 and NCAA Championships.
He was a four-time All-American and three-time National Champion for the
Hawkeyes. He also won a Gold Medal during the 1996 Olympics at the 136.5-lb.
Brands replaces Jim Zalesky, who did not have his contract renewed after it
expired following the season. Despite leading the Hawkeyes to a fourth-place
finish in the NCAA Championships, Zalesky did not have a wrestler win a Big 10
or an NCAA Championship in his final two seasons.