The Winter Sports outlook at the University of Iowa is as bright as the glare off the snow on a sunny Iowa January day. There were no ifs ands and buts spoken at this luncheon.
Jim Zalesky led off with his comparison of wrestling and basketball at the University of Iowa. "The Iowa Wrestling goal is not to make the Final Four. Our goal is the NCAA championship. Second place doesn't cut it! Bob Bowlsby can't fire me if I win the NCAA championship every year. Hopefully, last year was an aberration, finishing second to Minnesota."
That is a tall order for Zalesky, who must replace five graduated All-Americans. Freshman heavyweight, "Steve Mocco, will be a great wrestler at Iowa", added Zalesky. "He has a great work ethic. "He can almost take me down in practice." Although I'm sure he was kidding, with wrestlers you can never be certain.
Lisa Bluder was positive about her squad this year. Lisa was a winner here at Drake and is very popular in Des Moines. Look for Lisa to take Iowa back to the NCAA tournament this year.
Steve Alford led off by saying how much he appreciated having Lisa at Iowa. Both coaches came from the Missouri Valley conference (SMS & Drake) and have a great deal of respect for each other.
1. Brody Boyd had an MRI on Friday.
2. Rod Thompson had two teeth knocked out in practice by Reggie Evans because he didn't remember that when you go in the paint in Carver that it's "Evans World".
3. Since games are divided into 4-minute segments, Iowa practices are divided into six-minute segments. No time-outs. He kids Kirk Ferentz that football players rest after every play.
4. Strength of schedule should be in the top three in the country.
5. Hawks are on NATIONAL TV 10 times!
6. 2,200 will be in the Hawks Nest.
7. Iowa will play the in the first college basketball game of the season on ESPN when they host the Harlem Globetrotters on Wednesday night.
8. Can we guard well enough to win the Big Ten? That is the question. Alford was not pleased with the defense displayed in the Black and Gold Blowout.
9. Senior leadership- Luke, Reggie, Ryan, Duez and Rod give us the leadership we must have in order to have a great season. They lead by example. Reggie loves the University of Iowa. He is among the first to greet the football team before and after a game. While Evans embodied the Iowa spirit from day one, Luke had to learn. After Luke enrolled at Iowa, he would come into Carver Hawkeye wearing Indiana or Arizona caps or shirts. Steve told him "Don't come into our house wearing that stuff. Wear the Black and Gold and wear it proud" Luke got the point and has adjusted his wardrobe accordingly.
10. Added security at Iowa will never be a problem for Sam Alford. Sam told Steve "I've never seen a gym I couldn't get into"
The 'Z'might be 80, but he is still going strong. He was at his best roasting the Iowa staff, especially Director of Development, Mark Jennings. Zabel said "Mark leads the Big Ten in athletic fund raising, followed closely by Illinois. However, the Illinois funds never reach the school." I have heard Jim say that 50 times and I still laugh. Bob Bowlsby complimented Jim on being an optimist. "Jim and his new wife, Jill, bought a house close to a grade school." Now that is optimistic! However, on this day, all Iowa coaches were extremely positive about the upcoming season. Get ready for a Winter Wonderland in Iowa City.