Mike Duroe earns Lifetime Service to Wrestling award

Cornell coach will be recognized during Oklahoma State at Iowa dual Sunday

Cornell head wrestling coach Mike Duroe during a February 2017 dual meet at Eby Fieldhouse in Cedar Rapids. Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cornell head wrestling coach Mike Duroe during a February 2017 dual meet at Eby Fieldhouse in Cedar Rapids. Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Cornell College Coach Mike Duroe has made an impact on various levels of wrestling.

He has coached at the collegiate level, including the last 13 years for the Rams. Duroe has been a constant at USA Wrestling and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, helping coach the country’s international competitors, and worked in the high school ranks.

Duroe’s longtime contributions will be recognized when he receives the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Iowa Chapter in a ceremony during the Oklahoma State-Iowa dual Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable, an NWHOF Distinguished Member, and NWHOF Executive Lee Roy Smith will present Duroe with the award. The honor acknowledges Duroe’s 38-year coaching career and will be after the second match, according to Cornell’s news release Thursday.

“If you think about it everybody has one family,” Duroe said when he talked about his battle with brain cancer. “I’m blessed because I’ve got our personal family. I’ve got my Cornell family. I’ve got my Iowa and Hawkeye Wrestling Club family. I’ve got Team USA family.

“I really have so many things to be grateful and thankful for.”

The Charles City native wrestled at Drake University, serving as the Bulldogs’ team captain for two seasons as a four-time letterwinner. He wrestled on the U.S. National Team for four years and won an AAU national freestyle title.

Duroe has produced a successful coaching career. He is Cornell’s all-time leader in dual victories, posting a 142-97-2 record. Duroe has guided 44 NCAA Division III national qualifiers, 19 All-Americans and five NCAA finalists. Alex Coolidge won the 197 national title in 2014.

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“What makes Mike Duroe special, in my opinion, is that he cares about each person,” Cornell assistant and former Ram wrestler Brent Hamm said. “He doesn’t care so much about what I can do for Cornell wrestling. He cares about what I can do for myself and what I can do to become the person I want to become.”

Before taking over in Mount Vernon, Duroe was the head coach of the HWC from 2003-05. He also held coaching stops at Northern Michigan, Northwestern’s Wildcat Wrestling Club and University of Pennsylvania.

Duroe has been the U.S. men’s freestyle team assistant for six Olympic Games and has helped coach either the junior or senior national teams for the last 25 years. He was the head coach for the U.S. World freestyle teams in 2005-06. The U.S. Olympic Committee named him Volunteer Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007. Duroe guided the U.S. to its only women’s freestyle World title in 1999.

Duroe was instrumental in bringing the U.S. Olympic Trials to Iowa City, hosting the 2012 and 2016 events at CHA. Iowa also will host the 2018 World Cup in April.

“He’s definitely a Hall of Fame caliber coach,” Iowa associate head coach Terry Brands said. “There’s no question in my mind.

“He was looking to better people. They don’t understand the amount of energy he’s put into it throughout his lifetime.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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