The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® continues to add facets to what is rapidly becoming a “Sports Breakfast for the Ages.” There is no doubt that Festival Organizers wanted to kick an already successful event up a couple of more notches this year. Their first step in accomplishing this goal was to secure a top-rate Sports Marshal, and that bill was filled by the incredibly popular Cal Ripken, Jr. The second step was to secure additional Sports Celebrities, particularly strong role models who have a positive effect on young people. The Festival has previously announced the appearance of retired NBA star and humanitarian, Larry Robinson; and, it is now with great pleasure that Festival President, Jim Douglas, announces that highly successful Virginia Tech Wrestling Coach, Kevin Dresser, the 2016 NCWA Coach-of-the-Year, will join the increasingly powerful lineup at the 2016 Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast, presented by Grange Insurance.
Hired as Virginia Tech’s coach in April of 2006, Kevin Dresser has gradually built the Hokies’ wrestling program into one of the nation’s elite. The Hokies won ACC Tournament Championships in both 2013 and 2014; and, won the ACC Dual Meet Championship in 2015 and 2016; and, were also Runner-up at the 2016 ACC Tournament Championship. The Hokies finished in the Top Ten nationally in all four of those years. In 2016, the team finished a program-best, fourth place at the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which is also the highest team finish in ACC history. Kevin Dresser has been named the ACC Coach-of-the-Year for the past four years; and, in 2016, was named the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Coach-of-the-Year.
Kevin Dresser was born on November 9th, 1962, in Humboldt, Iowa. He attended high school at Humboldt High School, where he was a two-time state high school wrestling champion. Dresser graduated from the University of Iowa, where he won a national title in 1986 at 142 pounds. He was a two-time All-American (placing fourth in 1985 at 142 pounds), as well as a two-time Big Ten Champion. For his performance in 1986, he received the Mike Howard Award, given to the most valuable wrestler for the Hawkeyes. Dresser earned his B.S. in general studies from Iowa in 1986. In 2009, Dresser was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame. In April of 2014, he was one of three inductees into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Dresser was a familiar name in the New River Valley long before he achieved national success at Virginia Tech. He was the head coach at Christiansburg High School for 10 seasons, winning the Group AA state title five times and claiming second place three times. Prior to his stint in Christiansburg, he led Grundy High School to eight state titles in as many years. In 2013, Dresser was honored with the Lifetime Service Award given in recognition of years of dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in youth through wrestling, by the Virginia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Penny, have three children: Emma, Anna and Jack. Penny Dresser is a native of Blacksburg, and the family resides in Riner.
Over the past few years, Lead Event Chair, Jim Gowdy, has been fine-tuning and elevating in stature the third and final component of the revitalized Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast, presented by Grange Insurance. That is the “program within the program” that is the “Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® Sports Breakfast Honors,” that are presented each year to deserving students from local high schools, private schools and Shenandoah University. During the next two weeks, the Festival will be announcing the names of eight deserving students who will be so honored at this year’s event. Please stay tuned for more information!