Doug Schwab has accumulated a very long list of credentials throughout his wrestling career. During his prep career at Osage High School, Schwab was a three-time state finalist and one-time champion. He later went on to become a University of Iowa Hawkeye, where he was a three-time All-American, a two-time finalist and was crowned a national champion once. The list does not stop there as Schwab went on to represent the United States in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Now the University of Northern Iowa’s head wrestling coach, Schwab shares his lessons learned through wrestling with his team. Schwab and his wife, Allyson, have four children, Hayden, Hendrix, Jenna and Lennon. Doug has one sister, Julie, and two brothers, Mike and Mark, who both wrestled at UNI.
Q: Who got you into wrestling?
A: I grew up around the sport of wrestling. Both of my brothers were wrestlers as well.
Q: What did it take to become an NCAA National Champ?
A: There are a lot of things that go into winning a title. It took a lot of grit and believing that it can be done. I knew that I was not going to get it on the first try, but by never giving up on myself and continuing to work I knew I would eventually make it. It was important to me that I would keep coming back with the same passion and fight day in and day out. Lastly, I was very fortunate to have such great people around me while I was wrestling.
Q: What was your experience like being a part of the 2008 Olympic team in Beijing?
A: It was amazing to see how much the Olympics meant to people around the country. There is so much pride around the games. I vividly remember walking into the opening ceremony; people dream about that moment all their lives. In the end, I know I can use that experience to be a better coach for my athletes.
Q: Why did you choose to coach? And why did you come to UNI to do so?
A: I chose to coach, because I wanted to give back to the sport that has done so much for me. Wrestling has instilled a belief and confidence in me that could not have been done anywhere else. So I want to be able to help others to find that as well. Also coaching allows me to work with many highly inspired individuals. For why I came to UNI to coach is because of the way wrestling is such a big deal in the whole state of Iowa. Mark and Mike, my brothers, competed at UNI as well.
Time at UNI
Q: What is the greatest lesson you want to teach your athletes?
A: That is a tough question, because I cannot pick just one lesson I would like to teach. First, I want my wrestlers to know that they can handle anything that life throws at them. I hope my lessons can help strengthen their inner self reliance to overcome any challenge. Second, there is a saying on a sign right outside of the locker room that states “How you do anything is how you do everything”, and that is a message that is very powerful. The third lesson I want teach my athletes is to treat people well and to be grateful.
Q: What do you believe sets UNI apart from the rest of the teams in the NCAA?
A: Well we are one of 12 teams ever to win a team national title. But also, we may be looked at as an “underdog” by being a small school and we may not have the top notch facilities or equipment, but we still have had guys choose to come to UNI over other schools.
Q: What has been the greatest moment during your time at UNI?
A: So far I can’t choose a single greatest moment, because my career isn’t over yet. But I would say my favorite thing about being at UNI has been the opportunity to create the relationships I have and will make in the future. I have made connections with people that have gone through the program for the rest of my life. It is hard to point out one greatest moment. It hasn’t come yet.
Q: What do you admire most about the UNI wrestling community?
A: The loyalty of our fans is second to none. I am serious when I say that some people have been here since my brothers were UNI Panthers. There has been a consistent core group from day one. It is amazing to see and we don’t forget about those that were here for us, win or loss, they still show up and support this team. Our fan base truly cares for everyone around UNI wrestling and they have your back no matter what.
Life and Career Goals
Q: Outside of wrestling, what other goals do you have in your life?
A: I have have a couple of goals. I want to raise my four children to be grateful, respectful human beings. I would like to live a life that others are inspired to live. And lastly, it is important to stay true to my beliefs and not compromise that. I would say that is what I want my kids to mirror as well.
Q: How has wrestling helped prepare you to be a father?
A: Wrestling has helped prepare me for everything in life. What it takes to be good at wrestling it takes to have a good life and to be a good father. I have been able to learn how to work hard and deal with adversity. But, equally important, I have been able to practice patience because kids will make mistakes but it is important to learn and move forward from them. I find it kind of funny that you never feel completely ready in parenting, but wrestling always teaches you to stick with it no matter what adversity comes along the way.
Q: Who as been your greatest support along your journey to this point?
A: My mom. She was constant in her support and was always showing up. No matter what it was she was there and made us feel loved. My sister and my brothers loved me, they never pushed me to wrestle. And my wife is very selfless. I am forever grateful that she would give up some of her dreams to help me live mine. I know that I have been very fortunate to have the people that are in my life.
Q: What keeps you driven?
A: I really want to be a good example for the team and my family. Mostly because if I ask for your best you can expect me to give mine. It pumps me up to try to get the most out of everyday, and I will squeeze the sponge to get every drop out of the day. I’m also driven by the idea of being an “underdog” and being counted out so I will work my butt off to prove you wrong.
Q: You have achieved so much, but what do you want to be remembered for most?
A: I cannot say that I want to be remembered for any of the awards I have won, because they are not lasting. I want to be remembered for actions I do on a daily basis and that I raised four great kids, as well as the forty guys on the team, who will go on to change the world for better.
Q: What would you rather have: a lifetime supply of Mountain Dew or the Pittsburgh Steelers win this year’s Super Bowl?
A: If we are talking White Label Dews, then the lifetime supply all the way. The Steelers already have won six championships anyways.
Also read up about Doug in his bio on unipanthers.com.
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