Resident Scott Schulte pens biography of wrestler Dan Gable

Not many people get to meet their childhood heroes. For Milford resident Scott Schulte, not only has he had the chance to meet his hero, Dan Gable, but he has spent the last two years writing Gable’s biography.

Gable is perhaps the most recognizable wrestler in the country and even the world. He won a gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics and then became one of the most successful coaches in college history. His Iowa Hawkeyes won 15 NCAA championships under his guidance.  Now Gable remains involved with the sport he loves and is a sought-after motivational speaker.

“I met Dan at the 2012 Olympic trials,” Schulte said. “I initially wanted to do a magazine story about the murder of his sister, Diane, which happened when Dan was 15 and how that event changed Dan’s life.”

The two men agreed on the article and then Schulte pitched his book idea to the 1972 Olympic gold medalist and legendary coach. Rather than a typical biography, Schulte’s approach was to tell a collection of stories from Gable’s life.

“I have always been frustrated when reading biographies because so much in those books bored me,” Schulte said. “I had come up with an idea of having each chapter being a stand-alone story from Dan’s life.”

And thus was born A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable, with the University of Iowa Press publishing the book. The experience for Schulte has been surreal.

“Just meeting Dan at the Olympic trials was exciting,” Schulte said. “I mean, here is one of the most celebrated athletes in the world and I was so excited just to talk to him for a few minutes. The book has given me a chance to really get to know him, and we’ve become good friends.”

To create A Wrestling Life, Schulte spent several hours at the Gable home recording the stories as Gable told them. Everything from Diane’s death and his college days to winning the gold medal to being what many call “the best coach ever.”

Gable gives credit for the project to Schulte.

“Scott is the reason this book is becoming reality,” Gable said. “I’m always too busy to get projects like this under way. Once we agreed to do the book, Scott had three or four chapters in front of me before I knew it.”

“Dan has an amazing memory,” Schulte said. “He can recall details unlike anyone I have ever known. He is also a guy who cares deeply about the people in his life. We had chapters where there was a question about some detail and Dan would work so hard to make sure the details were correct.”

The book is currently in the pre-order stage, with its release slated for March 1.

“People have been ordering the book,” Schulte said. “I’m pleased.”

Working with his idol has left a big mark of Schulte’s life.

“I’ve said this several times,” Schulte said. “As great as Dan Gable is as an athlete and coach, he is even a better friend. Writing the book has been an experience of a lifetime, but having Dan as a friend is something I could never put a price tag on. He is just amazing.”