Virginia Tech Wrestling Coach Kevin Dresser Departing for Iowa State

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BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock confirmed Monday that Kevin Dresser has resigned his position as wrestling coach to become the next head coach at Iowa State.

Dresser’s hometown of Humboldt, Iowa, is approximately 80 miles from Ames. Dresser was a two-time All-American at the University of Iowa and won a national championship for the Hawkeyes in 1986. He was a 2014 inductee into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“While the in-season timing is admittedly not ideal and disappointing to hear, the opportunity for someone to return home is rare in collegiate athletics,” Babcock said. “We appreciate all of Kevin’s contributions to Virginia Tech. We will always be grateful for that fact that Kevin took over a program in a very tenuous position and transformed Virginia Tech into a top five wrestling program in the nation. I have respect for Kevin and Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard. We wish Kevin and his family the very best.”

Under Kevin Dresser in 2016, the Hokies claimed the ACC dual meet championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships, the best finish in program history and the highest finish ever by an ACC squad. Virginia Tech claimed the ACC dual meet title under Dresser once again this season with a 20-14 win over N.C. State on Feb. 11. The Hokies finished the 2016-17 dual meet season with an 18-1 record and are currently ranked fifth in the NWCA/USA Today coaches poll.

“Virginia Tech and the Hokie Nation have been wonderful to me and my family,” Dresser said. “I appreciate all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff who helped make the Hokies one of the elite programs in the nation. We’ll always cherish the time we spent at Virginia Tech and wish the Hokies much success going forward. While the timing of this move isn’t perfect, making this very difficult decision is what is best for our family and I am excited to return home to Iowa and ISU.”

Babcock indicated that Tony Robie, who is in his 11th season as associate head coach at Virginia Tech, will serve as interim head coach, effective immediately for the remainder of the season. A former head coach at Binghamton University, Robie was a two-time All-America selection and an NCAA runner-up as a student-athlete at Edinboro University. His resume also includes assistant coaching tenures at Michigan, West Virginia and his alma mater.

“We have great confidence in Tony as our interim head coach and also in assistant coach Mike Zadick and Derek St. John to successfully lead our squad during the championship season,” Babcock continued. “Tony has previous head coaching experience, he recruited many of the young men currently on our team and has served on our wrestling staff for a decade. A three-time All-American and Olympian, Mike has been a tremendous asset to our team since his arrival a year ago, while Derek is a former NCAA champion who has also been a solid addition to our staff.

“We are committed to finding a head coach who can continue our success and ultimately bring a national championship to Blacksburg,” Babcock concluded. “We will conduct a comprehensive search at the conclusion of the season to find the right individual to lead the Hokies with both internal and external candidates to be considered. In the meantime, our focus must be solely on our team and student-athletes, and supporting them in every way possible. They’ve worked incredibly hard to get us to this point and they deserve nothing less.”

Kevin Dresser joined the Hokies in April of 2006 and guided the program to a 160-51 record in 11 seasons. He came to Virginia Tech after previously serving as head coach at a pair of Virginia high schools in Christiansburg and Grundy, Virginia.

Dresser bio on

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18 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. The timing was really out of Kevin’s hands once Iowa State came calling with a desperate situation and a once-in-a lifetime offer. I fault Iowa State for setting it up this way – and the NCAA should have some rules about that.

    But in the end, the team will be OK because he built it so well. I can only say “Thank You” to Kevin Dresser for everything he has done for Virginia Tech wrestling and wrestling throughout Virginia and the ACC. The man had an enormous impact. Good luck at Iowa State, Coach!!!

  2. There’s no doubt Dresser put the wheels back on the wrestling wagon at VT & gave us a solid push in the right direction. I’m sorry to see him go but I wish well. Hopefully, VT has established itself now as a national contender & we can continue our push towards a wrestling National Title & perennial power.

  3. Iowa State? Let’s see, B10 with PSU, OSU, Iowa, that will be a yearly load. By the way he will be expected to win NC. I don’t see this as a great coaching move, and what is in Iowa anyway but cold winters, hot summers and a lot of corn fields. I hope he wins big soon, he had already established himself at VT and the ACC. Good luck.

  4. Having been born in Iowa, raised as a Hawkeye for about 12 years, family members who attended both schools, never willing to move back there (brrrrr) and someone who is now Hokie through and through…

    I barely understand this move. I guess he isn’t getting the Iowa job away from Brands, so it’s the next best thing I guess. I would still rather be Hokie, Hawkeye and maybe Cyclone as a very distant third. In that order.

  5. Kevin did a great job. Can’t blame a guy for wanting to get close to home. Timing by Iowa State very bad, but that is the cut throat world we deal with now in college athletics. Now let’s go kick Iowa (first Iowa defector) and Iowa State’s behind in wrestling. I bet we can find another Kevin Dresser closer to home.

  6. I wish Coach Dresser and his family the very best. But in the course of my working career there is no way that I would have done this to my employer (i.e., leave them high and dry at such a critical time.) And there is no way I would ever return to my home state and coach against alma mater.

    Thanks to his successes and what was being created by his predecessor I would think that Virginia Tech is an attractive coaching opportunity.

    (I just heard on the evening sports that ISU is doubling his Virginia Tech salary. Are you a member of the Hokie Club? Is $100/yr. too steep for your budget? Help Whit and join up!)

  7. We often expect Virginia raised people to “come home” and would be happy to welcome a Virginian who is a top 5 coach to Hokie Nation if we had a vacancy. So I see it as no surprise that an Iowan would head home. The timing is terrible, but may not be up to the coach. You have to grab your dream job if it is offered.

    A coach staying for 10 years seems perfectly reasonable. A coach that also increases significantly the stature and competitiveness of the team during that time deserves a lot of thanks.

    If Coach D had left now for Michicken U at this time and/or had stayed only 2-3 years (mainly using the previous coach’s recruits) or ran the team into the ground, then you can vent some nasty thoughts.

    But be happy for what Coach D contributed, wish him well going back home, recognize that Whit Babcock will keep using the right process to hire the next coach, and keep self-indulgent sour grapes feelings to yourself. Coach D deserves to be celebrated for what he did for the program by raising our stature along with his to the point that one of better programs in a wrestling-centric state went after him. He deserves to be wished the best in his personal career and assume (at least until proven otherwise) that he will treat VT with respect and gratitude for what the university afforded him in the way of opportunities and resources.

    1. Well said. And I believe you have to give KD some credit for the timing, as well. If he knew that he was leaving, why disrespect your fans and wrestlers and try to keep it secret; that would have been very distracting when the inevitable leak came out. I believe KD is a class act and thank him for what he has done for VT.

  8. Mixed opinions for me. My charitable self thanks Coach D for all he has done and wishes him the best. It’s hard for a wrestling geek to turn down an opportunity to coach in Iowa, the Center Of The Universe for that sport in the US. Then there’s the “F-Word”, family. Having lived in the Upper Midwest many years myself, dem Iowegians love it up dere, eh 🙂

    My cynical self does not understand why he had to leave now, on the cusp of post-season competition. Perhaps VT wanted it that way, “If you’re leaving, then begone”. I hope he has enough class not to poach the program of current team members or committed recruits.

    So, we begin again. Maybe this will spark the kids to a national championship. Go Hokies!

    1. Why do we begin again…family wasn’t the only thing! And now we wait until after the season to start hiring….sounds funny doesn’t it? Maybe we ought to get smart and look now and steal some good coach..ha ha..I doubt the AD will do that and heaven forbid they won’t be able to hire more paper pushers in the athletic department.

      The guys will do the best as they can with or without the ex coach. But u know as well as I do that there will be that some thoughts in the back of the minds of the underclassmen what did we get ourselves into.

      Please don’t get any coach from the Midwest.

      Why do we have to sit back and be nice guys and let them steal our recruits ? We basically paid the expenses to get them to come from VT. Make ISU pay penalties for all that money spent.

  9. This is to the AD. Why don’t you give some of your salary increase. Is he going to come back and steal some of the recruits like happen to us several years ago. Dresser should be barred from this area in recruiting. And let’s don’t give him the satisfaction of coming back or VT going out there for matches.

    I agree with flemdawg about leaving right before ACC championship . Pretty poor !! If they wanted him that bad..they could have waited until the season was completely over.

    Now we start all over again…why can’t we keep coaches longer than 10 yrs in. On non rev sports

    Knowing Vt they will hire the ISU coach who quit. Just to save money and pay mega money increases in salary.

    1. Agreed, we can expect some talent to go with him. As for salary, I expect it will cost Tech more to lure a top talent coach away from an established program than it would be to keep an established winner.

      A darn shame, this is. A real shame.

  10. Thank you Coach Dresser and may you and your family find nothing but the best in your future. Hope to see ISU and VT take the podium together soon. Blacksburg will always be your home too. Cheers.

    1. I hope the door doesn’t hit you in the a## on the way out. Anyone who quits on their team at this point in the season is a selfish human being.

      1. Well . . . um . . . yeah . . . I think you are right as far as I can tell.

        Iowa is a nice place compared to 4 or 5 other states, so if that is the place he wants to go, good for him, but it sure is cold there well past the end of the season.

        My one thought about this whole deal: I trust Whit made him a nice offer to get him to stay. Considering wrestling is the one of very few sports at Tech that one could reasonably expect to win a National Championship I would not have let money get in the way. On the other side, Iowa may match any sum we can make because I suspect it is VERY important to Iowans. I recall, seeing a duel playing on the TV’s at the Des Moines airport.

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