Ex-coach Gibbons now candidate Gibbons

Former ISU wrestling coach Jim Gibbons is leaving his job as a financial advisor to launch a campaign for congress.  Gibbons, who grew up in Ames, now lives in Des Moines which is in the third congressional district.  Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines who is the district’s current congressman, plans to seek a seventh term in congress in 2010.

In terms of full disclosure, my dad wrestled at Iowa State College in the 1930s and was a life-long fan of ISU wrestling.  I think that gives me full license to use terms like grapple, take-down and pin in describing the race.

In a telephone interview this morning, Gibbons told me he’ll approach the campaign like a coach would.  “I’m a coach, Kay, and you know when a coach looks at things, you look at fundamentals,” Gibbons said.

“…I come from the outside.  I’ve been a Republican.  I’ve donated to candidates in the past who have inspired me, but this race basically comes down to somebody from the outside that said, ‘You know what? Hey, I think I can do a better job.’ I think I can step up and maybe use some of the lessons I’ve learned in the financial world and maybe through coaching.”

Dan Gable, another famous former wrestling coach, has toyed with running for office, but never entered the political arena as a candidate.  After their days as coaches were done, Gibbons and Gable were recruited by Iowa Public Television to serve as on-air personalities during IPTV’s college wrestling broadcasts.  Gibbons told me he’s talked with Gable about this congressional race. 

“I did tell Coach Gable about this and I’ve got his blessing and support and I’m just excited to know what the future brings here,” Gibbons said.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Jim Gibbons, who leaves his clients in a lurch yet again (this is the 4th investment firm he has been with since he left coaching…) by many measures is clearly not the best candidate to run against Boswell that the Republicans can come up with. I believe he will quickly be relegated to the 2nd tier of candidates for this office along with Dave Funk (who might of self destructed his own campaign with a poor interview with CaffinatedThoughts.com on November 17 where among other gaffs the former flat taxer introduced a new Project Destiny like consumption tax as a part of his tax policy).

    It is not surprising Gibbons announces today with NO website, no way to contact him, no way to donate, and no way to volunteer for his campaign. This is clearly the work of a rookie campaign, which does not bode well.

    Clearly, this race needs an exprienced candidate with outstanding conservative credentials. This development makes it even more likely a top tier candidate like Senator Brad Zaun, with great metro popularity, a tested message, a very experienced campaign team, and a firm record in the party will enter the race.