Class of 2010, Biology
Growing up a wrestler in Coggon, Iowa, Dan LeClere always pictured himself wrestling for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He grew up attending Iowa wrestling meets with his dad and participated in the Hawkeye Kids Wrestling School, so he became familiar at an early age with the facilities and coaches at Iowa.
After winning four state titles for North-Linn High School, LeClere had a choice to make. He could not see himself wrestling for any other coaching staff besides Tom Brands’s. LeClere had been introduced to the coaches at a young age and grew up idolizing them. But Brands became the head coach at Virginia Tech after being an assistant coach with the Hawkeyes from 1993 until 2004. After years of dreaming of wearing Hawkeye black and gold, LeClere followed Brands to Virginia Tech.
Now, LeClere has the best of both worlds—the coach and the team he’d always wanted. In 2006 Brands took the head coaching job for the Hawkeyes, and LeClere was one of the student-athletes who followed him.
Transferring to Iowa resulted in a loss of one year of eligibility for LeClere, but he knows he would not be as successful as he is now had he not returned to his home state. LeClere received the Nile Kinnick Leadership Scholarship for his successes. “Earning a scholarship named for Nile Kinnick gives me a feeling of accomplishment,” he says. “It’s good to know all of my hard work is paying off.”
LeClere realizes the difficulty in balancing academics with athletics and says his scholarship has helped him with some of the burdens of college life. “When you stop and think about it, the support really means a lot,” he says. “I can see myself giving back in different ways in the future because I know how much it helps out.” A senior biology major and an academic all-Big Ten honoree, LeClere plans to pursue a career as a chiropractor once he graduates from the UI. But first, he is looking forward to his last Hawkeye wrestling season, and he thanks the fans for their endless support.
“Hawkeye fans are the greatest fans there are,” LeClere says. “We know our fans are always going to be behind us.”