CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Former UNI head wrestling coach Don Briggs received special recognition this fall from the Iowa Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, being selected as one of four recipients of the hall’s Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award.
Briggs joins Glen Wood, Bryan Poulter and Gary Curtis as Lifetime Service award winners, given to individuals to recognition of years of dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in young people through the sport. Bruce Kinseth was also honored as an Outstanding American for his contributions to wrestling in Iowa.
Briggs wrestled for four seasons at the University of Iowa where he compiled a career record of 30-5-1, taking third place at the Big Ten Championships in 1970 and 1971. He spent nine years as a graduate assistant and assistant coach at UNI, helping develop 14 NCAA Division II national champions. He was named UNI’s head coach in 1982.
During his 15 years as UNI’s head coach, Briggs amassed a dual meet record of 164-98 and coached 15 All-American athletes. Leading the Panthers to 12 consecutive NCAA regional championships from 1986 to 1997, Briggs was also named the NCAA West Regional Coach of the Year ten times.
Many former athletes stressed that Briggs surrounded himself with the best of the best assistant coaches, all of whom played an important role in the development of coaches who went on to become excellent coaches themselves. It has been said that Coach Briggs embodied the mission statement of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as it states “to preserve our history, recognize excellence and inspire future generations.”