Dan Gable Biography

Dan Gable, a former Olympic wrestler and head coach, is widely regarded as one of the greatest amateur wrestlers in American history. His journey in wrestling began at the age of 16, following a tragic event that deeply impacted his family. Motivated to make his late sister proud, Gable dedicated himself to the sport and achieved remarkable success. He gained fame for losing only one match during his collegiate career at Iowa State University and went on to win the 1971 world and Pan-American championships. At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Gable emerged victorious in all six matches, securing a wrestling gold medal for the United States. However, it was his tenure as the head coach at the University of Iowa that truly solidified his legacy. Gable led the team to an impressive 15 NCAA team titles between 1976 and 1997. Even after retiring from coaching, he remains deeply connected to wrestling as a dedicated analyst.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Danny Mack Gable
  • Age: 75 Years, 75 Year Old Males
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Kathy Gable, father: Mack Gable, siblings: Diane Gable
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Dan Gable
  • Wrestlers
  • Height: 5’9″ (175 cm), 5’9″ Males
  • U.S. State: Iowa
  • Notable Alumni: Iowa State University
  • More Facts
  • Education: Iowa State University

Childhood & Early Life

Danny Mack “Dan” Gable was born on October 25, 1948, in Waterloo, Iowa, to Mack Gable, a real-estate salesman, and his wife, Katie Gable, a homemaker. He began competing in sports at an early age, but realized that wrestling was his true passion around middle school when an unfortunate tragedy struck his family. His older sister, Diane Gable, was molested and murdered on May 31, 1964, in the Gable family home, while Dan and his parents were on vacation. After the incident, he became motivated to earn a name for himself in order to make his family proud of him and thereafter started wrestling for Waterloo West High School. He was undefeated in high school competitions and won three consecutive Iowa state high school championships.


After completing high school, Dan Gable got enrolled at the Iowa State University where he decided to continue his wrestling. In his freshman year, he participated in the Midlands Tournament, a major U.S. wrestling meet, and emerged victorious in that competition, defeating two national champions. After graduating from Iowa State University, he won the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali Columbia and World Championships in Sofia Bulgaria. At the 1972 Munich Olympics, he won a gold medal in the Freestyle, 68 kg category. In 1972, Dan Gable decided to become a coach and joined the Iowa coaching staff, assisting the head coach, Gary Kurdelmeier. In 1976, Gable became the head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa and went on to become the most successful coach in American collegiate history. His team won 15 NCAA titles in 21 seasons, including a record nine titles in a row, from 1978 to 1986. He also coached the 1980, 1984, and 2000 U.S. Olympic teams and served as an assistant coach in 1988. In 1997, he retired as the head wrestling coach of University of Iowa. In June 2002, he was appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In 2007, he rejoined the coaching staff at Iowa and later also served as a wrestling analyst for Iowa public television. He shared his coaching techniques for developing wrestling champions in his book titled ‘Coaching Wrestling Successfully’. He has also created a series of wrestling instructional videos.

Awards & Achievements

Dan Gable was undefeated at Waterloo West High School, winning 64 matches and earning 25 pins. His success continued at Iowa State where he won 117 matches in a row, along with two NCAA championships and three All-America titles. At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, Dan Gable won a gold medal in Men’s Freestyle, 68 kg event. In the whole Olympics, he did not surrender a while single point. From 1976 to 1997, Gable was the head coach of wrestling at the University of Iowa. Under his supervision, the Iowa team achieved extraordinary success, winning 15 NCAA titles and 21 Big Ten championships. In 1980, Dan Gable was inducted into the U.S. Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 1985, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 1996, he was named on the list of ‘100 Golden Olympians’, an honor bestowed to the top 100 U.S. Olympians of all time. In 1999, he was selected as the greatest sports figure in the history of the state of Iowa by ‘Sports Illustrated’. During the 2012 Olympic Games, Dan Gable was inducted into the FILA Hall of Fame Legends of the Sport. In his honor, October 25, 2013 was recognized as ‘Dan Gable Day’ in Iowa.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1974, Dan Gable married Kathy Carpenter and the couple has four daughters: Jenni, Annie, Molly and Mackenzie.

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