A Season on the Mat: Dan Gable and the Pursuit of Perfection

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Overview

For the past twenty-one years, Dan Gable's Iowa Hawkeyes have dominated wrestling to an extent rarely seen in any sport. In A Season on the Mat, award-winning reporter Nolan Zavoral explores Iowa's storied wrestling program and Gable's record of excellence in an unprecedented, intimate look at the man and his methods. As Gable approached the 1996-1997 season, he was a mere shell of his usual, vigorous self. A dozen back and knee surgeries had reduced his proud athlete's walk to that of a stooped, shambling old ...
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Overview

For the past twenty-one years, Dan Gable's Iowa Hawkeyes have dominated wrestling to an extent rarely seen in any sport. In A Season on the Mat, award-winning reporter Nolan Zavoral explores Iowa's storied wrestling program and Gable's record of excellence in an unprecedented, intimate look at the man and his methods. As Gable approached the 1996-1997 season, he was a mere shell of his usual, vigorous self. A dozen back and knee surgeries had reduced his proud athlete's walk to that of a stooped, shambling old man. A Season on the Mat chronicles this dramatic season, in which Gable led his team - far from his most talented - to the national title. Zavoral takes the reader behind the scenes, into the stifling heat of the wrestling room where young men from places like Rock Falls, Iowa, or Philip, South Dakota, sacrifice everything they have just to be a part of the Hawkeye program. We watch strong-willed athletes like Mike Mena, whose struggle to make weight almost cost him a shot at the national championship; Lincoln McIlravy, who overcame persistent severe headaches to win his third national title in his four-year career; and all the other wrestlers who contributed to a record-breaking performance at the NCAAs, scoring the most points in collegiate wrestling history. But most important, we see the man behind the Gable legend. From his difficult upbringing, interrupted by the tragedy of his sister's brutal murder, through the single defeat that haunts him to this day, to the ups and downs of his phenomenal coaching career, Gable has come to symbolize to many all that is special about this demanding, elemental sport.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the year's best sports books and the finest wrestling title to hit the mat in a long time" — The Library Journal

"Finally, wrestling has a classic to call its own." — The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

"The ring of truth is unmistakable. . . . Some of the best writing on wrestling since John Irving wrote about 'Gorgeous Dan' for Esquire magazine." — Des Moines Sunday Register

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743254229
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/19/2003
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Nolan Zavoral has been a reporter and editor for twenty-five years at newspapers ranging from the lowa City Press-Citizen to USA Today. He is currently a reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; his stories have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, and The Washington Post. The author of In the Chutes, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2004

    DAnN GABLE IS AMAZING

    This book is a great book which every person who loves sports should read. It is very inspiring. Wrestling is the best and hardest sport in the world nomater what anyone ses.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2004

    AWESOME!

    This is an excellent book for anyone who loves wrestling and is intrigued by Dan Gable and what he has done for wrestling. I encourage everyone with an interest in wrestling to read this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    A Season on the Mat

    A Season On The Mat was an excellent portrayel of a college wrestling season.While their legendary coach,Dan Gable was in for his last season the Iowa Hawkeyes remained focused and once again captured the national title.This book also gives an in depth look into the personal life of one of the greatest wrestler and coach of our era,Dan Gable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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