The University of Iowa made a big addition to its wrestling coaching staff.
The Hawkeyes announced they have named former University of Minnesota heavyweight Ben Berhow as volunteer assistant, replacing Kurt Backes, who resigned at the end of May to seek other career opportunities.
Berhow, a former Golden Gopher heavyweight who was a three-time national qualifier, has served as an administrative assistant at Minnesota the last two seasons, graduating in 2011.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me,” Berhow said in a news release. “Iowa wrestling is a prevalent program in our sport and I’m looking forward to working with coach Brands and the entire staff. It’s a good fit for me and I’m excited to get on campus and get going.”
An upperweight coach seemed natural to replace Backes and join a staff that already includes head coach Tom Brands, associate head coach Terry Brands and assistant coach Ryan Morningstar. Luke Lofthouse is the team’s strength and conditioning coach, while Luke Eustice is administrative assistant.
Berhow will likely help the development of All-American Bobby Telford, who will be a junior next season coming off a knee injury that derailed a second podium finish at the NCAA Championships in March. Nathan Burak, a national qualifier at 197 for Iowa last season as a true freshman, could be the responsibility of the new coach.
“We’ve had our eye on Ben for a long time and we’re confident he’s going to be a positive addition to the program,” Tom Brands said. “He fills a need and he fills it in a big way. We’re excited for him to get started.”
Berhow has been on the radar. He helped Nelson capture two straight NCAA titles, beating Northwestern’s Mike McMullan, 6-2, in the finals in March, and beat Lehigh’s Zach Rey, 4-1, in 2012. Nelson noted Berhow’s impact on his success, serving as his training partner.
“He taught me a lot,” Nelson said after his second national title. “I appreciate everything he does for me. He’s one of the reasons I’ve done what I’ve done.”
Berhow, a standout prep for Albert Lea (Minn.) High School, won 78 college matches, putting in the top 50 all-time for Minnesota. He placed third at the 2010 Big Ten championships – his best finish – and was 2-2 in the NCAA tournament that year, falling a win short of All-American status.
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