University of Northern Iowa athletics director Troy Dannen is waiting for the i’s to be dotted and the t’s to be crossed on his biggest hire since taking over the position two years ago this month.
Until then, you’ll have to read between the lines.
Dannen confirmed the process is in the final stages of a new UNI head wrestling coach to be in place, but cannot comment on who before everything is finalized. He hopes the announcement can be made Wednesday. UNI has already released a statement about a press conference scheduled for noon Thursday at the McLeod Center to introduce the new head coach.
Multiple sources have reported University of Iowa assistant coach Doug Schwab will take over the position opened when former Panthers coach Brad Penrith was fired April 7. Schwab was one of three finalists, which included SUNY-Binghamton head coach Pat Popolizio and Iowa State assistant and former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga head coach Chris Bono.
“I’ve made an offer and it has been accepted,” said Dannen, noting everything is pending on final formalities being approved. “I was very excited about all three candidates.”
At the beginning of the process, Dannen stated he wanted to take his time and do “due diligence” in finding the program’s next leader. He did his homework up to the very end. He made his final decision Sunday evening and offered the position late Monday evening. According to a source, Schwab met with Dannen Tuesday morning. Dannen said he’s only released his decision to the search committee members.
“There were about 20 more phones calls I wanted to make over the weekend,” Dannen said. “I probably talked to about 20 people for each finalist.”
Schwab, a three-time All-American and 1999 141-pound NCAA champion for the Hawkeyes, has served as an Iowa assistant to head coach Tom Brands the last four seasons, helping the Hawkeyes win three straight Big Ten and NCAA team titles. Before his stint at Iowa, Schwab served as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech for two years in 2004-06.
Schwab, 32, is a native of Osage, where he won the Class 2A 130-pound state title in 1996 as a prep. He was a member of the 2008 Olympic team, wrestling at 145 1/2 pounds.
Dannen said he received about 100 phone calls from alumni and wrestling community members, advocating various candidates, which doesn’t include the media attention. The attention focused on the hiring process didn’t surprise Dannen.
“It was what I expected,” Dannen said. “From a public standpoint, it was (the most notable hire I made).”
The announcement of a press conference two days early was simply so people could make plans to attend, giving wrestlers the chance to return to campus for the announcement. Spring semester ended May 7. He said the process, which last more than a month, was pretty coommon to most university hires.