Iowa City, Iowa — The Hawkeye Wrestling Club announced Saturday, May 6, 2023 that University of Iowa legends and Hawkeye Wrestling Club founders Roy J. Carver and Dan Gable have been named recipients of the fifth annual Rob McReynolds Passion Award.
Carver is a long-time friend and supporter of the University of Iowa, and the namesake of the greatest wrestling venue in the world. The doors to Carver-Hawkeye Arena opened Jan. 3, 1983, when the Hawkeyes topped Oklahoma, 35-7. In the 40 years since its grand opening, the arena experienced a multi-million dollar facelift in 2011, and beginning in 2024, the home of the Hawkeyes will expand south when the Goshke Family Wrestling Training Center opens its doors.
Carver passed away in 1981 at the age of 71. Despite passing before the opening of the arena, Carver’s name has become synonymous with Iowa Wrestling, and his influence on the wrestling program started well before Gable and the Hawkeyes moved in. Gable and Carver berthed the Hawkeye Wrestling Club in 1973, providing the training, coaching, and resources necessary to help postgraduates pursue their dreams of becoming World and Olympic Champions.
The Hawkeye Wrestling Club was formed during Gable’s second year on campus. The most successful coach in the sports’ history joined the Iowa coaching staff in 1972, assisting head coach and Hall of Famer Gary Kurdelmeier until taking over the program in 1976.
As the University of Iowa’s all-time winningest coach from 1976 to 1997, Gable won 15 NCAA National Wrestling Team Titles while compiling a career record of 355-21-5. He coached 152 All-Americans, 45 National Champions, 106 Big Ten Champions and 12 Olympians, including four gold, one silver and three bronze medalists. The Hawkeyes won 25 consecutive Big Ten championships, 21 under Gable as head coach and four while he was an assistant coach and administrator.
Gable has coached many United States teams in International Freestyle competition. He is a three-time Olympic head coach (1980, 1984 and 2000). The 1984 Olympic team, which featured four Hawkeyes, won seven gold medals. He was an assistant freestyle coach at the 1976 and 1988 Olympics. Gable also served as head coach of the World Team in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1994 and 1999, as well as 10 World Cup teams winning three team golds in the World Cup competition. Gable also coached the U.S. team to a bronze medal at the 1986 Goodwill Games and has led several all-star teams to Europe and the Soviet Union.
Gable and Carver are being honored with an award presented annually to a member of the HWC community who best displays the characteristics that define the late Rob McReynolds’ life as a husband, father, friend, athlete, coach, mentor, and businessman. Those characteristics include directing endless energy toward achieving a desired outcome, inspiring others to achieve their highest potential, and providing loving support and compassion for those around him. Eligible recipients include club athletes, club coaches/staff, fans and supporters.
“Our tradition of excellence started with Dan Gable and Roy Carver, and it continues here fifty years later by celebrating world-class individuals,” said HWC Executive Director Chad Beatty. “With their vision, hard work, and commitment to our athletes, we have been fortunate to celebrate 24 NCAA team titles and four Olympic gold medalists. It’s our privilege to recognize Coach Gable and the Roy & Lucille Carver Family as the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, 2023 Rob McReynolds Passion Award winners.”
Rob McReynolds Award Recipients:
Roy J. Carver, Dan Gable (2023)
Herb Tyler (2022)
Randy Novak (2021)
Beth & Steve Reese (2020)
Forrest Molinari (2019)
About Rob McReynolds:
Born in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Rob McReynolds moved to the Hawkeye State with his family in 1964. He graduated from DeWitt Central High School in 1977, lettering as a three-sport athlete in baseball, football, and wrestling. Rob excelled in wrestling and set the school single-season record with 31 wins in 1977. He did not win the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament and ironically, this disappointment became a driving force for many things he did over the next thirty years.
After their marriage in 1981, Rob and his wife, Barb moved to Colorado. There, he began his 36-year career in the roofing business. He purchased D Roofing Inc. in 1997. With enthusiasm, trust, and hard work, he built an incredible customer base. He was committed to keeping his customers happy, and every employee was aware of this priority. In addition, the company won job workmanship awards from the Colorado Roofing Association (CRA) for 15 consecutive years. Nationally, Roofing ranked as high as 16th based on total sales volume and they consistently finished in the top 40 in the U.S. In 2014, D Roofing won the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) prestigious Gold Circle Award for the job of the year.
During his career in roofing, Rob held many leadership roles for both the CRA and the NRCA. In the roofing industry, it was well known that Rob raised the bar for roofing contractor standards. Starting in 2003, he worked on over 19 different committees for the NRCA for 10 years. He was the president of the National Roofing Legal Resource Center in 2008. Rob also served as a director for the NRCA from 2003 to 2007 and was later promoted to vice president of the NRCA Executive Board from 2009 to 2011. Rob was the president of the CRA in 2004. In 2013, Rob won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the CRA. Rob sold D Roofing Inc. in January of 2016 and managed the transition for the new owners for two years until retiring in January of 2018.
A loving husband and father, Rob and his wife raised two daughters. As a family, they suffered the loss of a three-month old son who died of SIDS in 1987. Without a doubt, Rob was devastated. He found an outlet to ease his pain through coaching High School wrestling in Colorado. Those who wrestled for him knew that Coach McReynolds required dedication and commitment, but they also recognized that he sincerely cared to make them better at their sport and outstanding young men. He coached for a span of 10 years through 1996. The pinnacle of Rob’s coaching career came from 1993 through 1995. For those three consecutive years, Rob coached the wrestler of the year in the state of Colorado. Those three wrestlers had a combined record of 107 wins with zero losses. Rob also coached a Colorado Cadet and Junior National team from 1992 to 1995.
Rob was passionate about everything in life and was known for his high energy, drive, and determination. An avid Hawkeye wrestling fan, Rob was a board member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. He attended 34 NCAA wrestling tournaments and was a member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association for 25 years. With his family at his side, Rob passed away in September 2019 following a bout with cancer.
About the Hawkeye Wrestling Club:
Since its inception in 1973, the focus of Hawkeye Wrestling Club has been to provide the training, coaching and resources necessary to help our athletes pursue their dreams of becoming World and Olympic Champions. The money raised through the HWC goes directly to benefit the athletes helping with living expenses, training and traveling needs. Maybe the most important aspect of the HWC is its pursuit in trying to get the best post-collegiate athletes to train with the HWC together in Iowa City to attain the ultimate prize in wrestling… World and Olympic gold medals.