Rivalry splits two brothers

Allison Younge

Since Minnesota defeated Iowa 18-17 last Sunday to clinch the National Duals title, the rivalry between the border teams has intensified. Friday night, it won’t be hard to tell where loyalty lies when Williams Arena packs with fans.
But the situation is a little more complicated for one set of brothers. Minnesota’s assistant coach Mark Schwab will support the Gophers, and his younger brother Doug Schwab wrestles the 126 pound match for the Hawkeyes.
Usually, the Schwab brothers root for one another’s teams, but Friday’s match leaves them on opposite sides of the mat.
“It’s not hard for me when the Gophers wrestle Iowa, because I want to beat Iowa,” Mark said. “But it is a little awkward when somebody on our team wrestles my brother.”
Mark will take a passive role on the sideline during the 126 pound match Friday night, when Doug goes to work against the Gophers. While Mark holds strict allegiance to Minnesota’s team, he admits that watching his brother’s match is difficult.
“It’s more of a feeling than it is words,” Mark said. “He’s a guy that I’ve worked out with and wrestled with my whole life. He’s my brother. To sit there and yell against him — I couldn’t do it, so I just stand back and watch.”
After the 118 pound match is completed, the older Schwab will vacate his coaching position and turn the 126 pound match over to his Minnesota coaching counterparts. J Robinson and Marty Morgan will take full command of the Gophers’ coaching corner for the match.
Doug understands his older brother’s position as assistant coach. He realizes that it must be tough for Mark to watch him compete against Minnesota. While Mark’s feelings shift for the bout, Doug’s are cemented in Iowa.
“I want to go out there and win no matter who I’m wrestling,” Doug said. “If he coaches them I want to beat them too, but nothing changes between us. The brother thing and family goes farther than anything else.”
The Schwab name is readily recognized among wrestling circles in Iowa. Three Schwab brothers earned state-wide acclaim wrestling for Osage High School. Mike (the oldest Schwab brother), Mark and Doug all won state wrestling titles during their high school careers. Mike and Mark also went on to be named NCAA All-Americans at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
While just beginning his career with the Hawkeyes, Doug has his sights on similar wrestling achievements. He said that growing up with two older brothers who were successful gave him an edge on his early opponents.
“I grew up watching them wrestle, and I saw their work ethic and they set an example for me,” Doug said. “They were really into it, and got me into it. I’ve always been a competitor. Wrestling was part of my life, and I came to love it.”
After winning a high school state title to cap off his 30-0 senior season, Doug stepped out of his brothers’ footsteps — straight into Hawkeye country. But it wasn’t without hesitation. Doug considered joining Mark at Minnesota before committing to Iowa.
“It was a real tough decision with my brother being up there,” Doug said. “I would’ve loved to be up there with him, but I had to look at the whole picture. Growing up in Iowa and having (longtime coach Dan) Gable here was a big influence — just to be underneath him and learn from the best.”
As a freshman, Doug has already begun to make a name for himself on the Division I college wrestling scene. Sunday, in the Gophers’ meet against the Hawkeyes, he defeated Minnesota’s seventh-ranked Pat Connors by decision, 9-5.
Although Friday will offer Connors a rematch with Iowa’s Schwab, it will also offer the Hawkeyes another shot at defeating Minnesota — a chance the Iowa wrestlers readily invite.
“We’re really looking forward to going into Minnesota’s environment and having their hostile crowd on us. We’re going to like that a lot,” Doug said. “They came down here and beat us. Now we want to go up there and do the same thing.”