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Simpson community mourns loss of longtime coach Bob Darrah

Simpson community mourns loss of longtime coach Bob Darrah

Bob Darrah, beloved Simpson golf and wrestling coach and the winningest coach in Iowa High School Wrestling dual meet history, passed away Monday, Nov. 26 at the age of 89.

Services will be handled by Overton Funeral Home in Indianola. A visitation is scheduled from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 210 R63 Hwy. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date following the wrestling season, date and time to be determined.


Darrah built a women's golf dynasty at Simpson in his 23 years as head coach, leading the program to nine Iowa Conference Championships and 15 national tournament appearances from 1989-2012. He coached nine conference medalists, four All-Americans and led the team to two, national runner-up finishes.

Already a Hall of Fame wrestling coach before coming to Simpson in 1989, Darrah turned around a struggling program in his first stint as a collegiate coach. In the five years prior to Darrah's arrival, the Redmen had won just 20 duals. In Darrah's first season, the team went 18-2. He went on to lead Simpson to a conference championship in 1991. Darrah went 86-25-1 from 1989-1995, coaching five All-Americans and two-time National Champion, Travis Young.

Darrah earned Iowa Conference Coach of the Year honors 12 times throughout his career, more than any other coach in school history. He was inducted into the school's Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012 and the wrestling practice facility is named in his honor.

Prior to his time at Simpson, Darrah posted an incredible 340-17-2 record as a high school wrestling coach. His .950 winning percentage is the all-time best for an Iowa wrestling coach. He began his career in 1961 by starting the varsity program at Morning Sun, then moved to Urbandale in 1967. He took over at West Des Moines Dowling Catholic in 1969, leading the Maroons to a 268-12-1 record and four state titles in 20 seasons.

Although he never wrestled competitively, Darrah is a member of multiple wrestling Hall of Fames, including the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.