Note: This post is the first in a series of retrospectives that will examine the career highlights of some of the greatest college wrestlers in recent history and tell you where they are now.

Being a wrestling fan in the early ’80s meant being a fan of Ed Banach. Nicknamed “The Horse” because of his strength, toughness, and determination, Banach parlayed those qualities into three NCAA individual titles during a stellar collegiate career at the University of Iowa. His presence on the Iowa team helped elevate the Dan Gable-helmed wrestling program to elite status, as the Hawkeyes would eventually win a record-smashing nine consecutive national championships from 1978-1986.

Unlike many college wrestlers, Banach’s wrestling glory didn’t end with graduation. He subsequently proved himself on the international stage by becoming a member of the 1983 World team and earning a silver medal in the 1984 World Cup. The Horse then went on to win Olympic freestyle gold by defeating Akira Ota of Japan in the 90kg class at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

A partial listing of Banach’s stats, championships, and accolades follows here:

  • Two-time New York State high school champion (1977 and ’78)
  • Career record of 141-9-1 at the University of Iowa
  • University of Iowa school record for most career pins (73)
  • Big Ten Athlete of the Year (’83)
  • Four-time All-American selection (1980-83)
  • Four-time Big Ten champion (1980-83)
  • Four-time NCAA finalist (1980-83)
  • Three-time NCAA champion (’80, ’81, ’83)
  • World Cup silver medalist (1984)
  • Olympic gold medalist (1984)

Where is Ed Banach now?

After finishing his wrestling career, Banach served a brief stint as assistant coach for the Iowa State University Cyclones. He was named Assistant Coach of the Year in 1987 for helping lead the Cyclones to a NCAA championship, but lingering effects from an estimated 15 wrestling-related concussions forced Banach to abandon active participation in the sport.

Ed Banach was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993, and is now an Assistant Director of Athletic Compliance at Iowa State.