Darrah inducted into Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame


by Ashley Van Alstine

Women’s Golf Coach Bob Darrah will be inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa on Saturday.

Darrah was wrestling coach at Simpson for six years, from 1989 to 1995, but is also known for his coaching in high schools at Morning Sun, Urbandale and West Des Moines Dowling Catholic.

For Darrah, his experiences as a high school coach are now fond memories with records worth being proud of. His most recent induction seems to be a payoff for his successful career.

“You’re selected for the Wrestling Hall of Fame from your success you’ve had along the way,” Darrah said. “In the last eleven years that I coached Dowling, they went 161-1. We lost one dual meet in 1986, and in that scope we beat the South Dakota champion, we beat the Nebraska champion, we beat Minnesota’s large school champion. You look at the accomplishment of 340-17 record and that places you in a 95 percent wins to losses.”

This is the seventh hall of fame Darrah has been elected into. Others include the Iowa High School, Dowling Catholic High School, Westmar College, Chariton High School, Iowa Wrestling Federation and National Wrestling Hall of Fames.

While Darrah never had the opportunity to wrestle himself, his interest in the sport caused him to develop his own viewpoints.

“My philosophy on coaching wrestling is always stay in good position, be as strong as we could be in working out,” Darrah said. “We would be in the best shape of anybody that we wrestle. We’d always say that if somebody was lucky enough to get into overtime with us, we’d kill them, because they would be out of gas.”

In his 27 years as a high school coach, he never had a losing season. His high school teams went 340-17-2 and his 340 dual wins placed Darrah at second for the most wins in high school history.

In 1989, Darrah resigned at Dowling Catholic to start his coaching position at Simpson as head coach of the wrestling and women’s golf programs.

“Then when I came to Simpson, we were 86-25 and won the Iowa Conference in 1991, which is the only time that we have ever won the Iowa Conference,” Darrah said. “When you put the high school record on top of the record at Simpson, it’s 426 wins and 42 losses in 33 years. I guess that’s part of the reason why they selected me [for the hall of fame].”

Though Darrah, who is now in his 17th year as women’s golf coach, is no longer wrestling coach, his efforts for the team are not forgotten. In 1996, the college dedicated the wrestling room to Darrah, the Darrah Wrestling Room.

Those who have worked with Darrah have taken note of the coach’s personality and the mark he has left on the sports he coached.

“He’s very modest,” Sports Information Director Matt Turk said. “He’s a legend in the world of high school wrestling at Dowling Catholic High School and he resurrected the wrestling program here.”

Although Darrah’s enthusiasm has led others to view his coaching as extreme, his dedication led his team to repeated victories.

“People would say that I’m a fanatic, that I’m crazy but we would wrestle some schools in the city and we’d beat them 73-0, and we’d go home and practice right after that,” Darrah said. “I wasn’t going to waste a day on some place that we’d pinned everybody, so we’d go back home and practice for an hour or so.”

Other awards that Darrah has received include: the 1977 Iowa Class 3A Coach of the Year, the 1988 Amateur Wrestling News High School Coach of the Year and the 1990 National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Coach of the year.

“I think he’s an outstanding coach,” Wrestling Coach Ron Peterson said. “When he coached wrestling in high school, he was the top coach in the nation, and then came to Simpson and really established the program and made it credible.

For Darrah, the key to achieving multiple honorary titles in a variety of sports is simple.

“When you outlive everybody they end up having to put you in the hall of fame,” Darrah said.