Photo by Ben Strandberg (

Earlier this spring, Tom Brands and company made a big splash in the wrestling community when they lured alum Mark Perry back to Iowa City to head up the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. Prior to his return to the Hawkeye program, Perry was the associate head coach at the University of Illinois and widely considered one of the top coaches for the next big Division I opening.

Instead, Perry chose to return to the Hawkeyes and switch his focus from folkstyle to freestyle. In less than six months the move is already showing dividends with the club attracting/signing two high profile freestyle wrestlers, and hardware returning to Iowa City for the first time in a decade. Let’s take a look at the timeline of the HWC’s successful summer.

4/10/17: Tom Brands confirms on Takedown Radio that 2017 Hawkeye graduate Thomas Gilman will indeed be joining the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, and that he will be the lone senior competing at the last chance qualifier.

4/25/17: The HWC announces the signing of four wrestlers, Gilman, 2017 NCAA champion Cory Clark, Alex Meyer, and Sammy Brooks. All 2017 Iowa graduates.

5/15/17: Mark Perry accepts job to head the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

5/20/17: Perry makes his HWC debut in Minnesota watching Thomas Gilman compete in his first Senior level tournament.

6/02/17: Jesse Delgado joins the HWC, following Perry from Illinois.

Perry talking with Gilman at the World Team Trials (Photo by Ben Strandberg –

6/10/17: Gilman makes the World Team at 57 kg downing former HWC wrestler, Tony Ramos in the finals.

6/21/17: Dom Bradley announces he is leaving Ames. Mentions Perry as a reason for looking at the HWC.

7/4/17: Pat Lugo transfers to Iowa. While Perry is not a University of Iowa coach, Lugo mentions the fact (Cedar Rapids Gazette story) of Perry being in the room made Iowa an attractive landing spot.

7/15/17: Gilman wins his first Senior level International tournament in Spain.

8/07/17: Two-time Women’s World medalist Alli Ragan joins the HWC.

8/18/17: Pat Downey Transfers to Iowa, on the Potentially Dangerous podcast also hints that Perry’s presence at Iowa made an impact on his decision to consider Iowa.

A few of Gilman’s friends and family celebrate the HWC’s first medal since ’06 (Mark Bader Photo)

8/25/17: Gilman wins the 57 kg silver medal at 2017 World Championships. It’s the University of Iowa’s first Senior World Medal since 2006*.

*While Perry has only been in the room for about three months, we realize that a lot of Gilman’s career development has happened under the tutelage of Tom and Terry Brands. However, it’s a little kismet that the same summer that the HWC adds Perry, who has the intent to “change the scene” in USA international wrestling and is renowned for his film study, is the same summer that the HWC picked up it’s first World medal since 2006.


By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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