Emmmetsburg’s Seaman Family To Lead State Wrestling Tourney’s Grand March
The sport of wrestling has long held a special place for residents of the Emmetsburg area, and for several families, wrestling has become a family tradition, with brothers wrestling, and then watching their offspring carry on the family name and tradition on the mats. But for one Emmetsburg family, the love of the sport and the family’s dedication and support of the sport are being honored next month by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.
According to Bud Legg of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, Ron Seaman and his sons Ty and Tim will be the escorts for the Grand March of the 2008 State Wrestling Championships, which will be held on Saturday night, Feb. 16, at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The Seaman family was selected for the honor of leading the high school wrestlers in the Grand March across the floor of Wells Fargo Arena as a symbol of the extended family that supports Iowa high school wrestling.
The idea of a special series of Grand March Escorts began in 2006 when the State Wrestling Tournament moved from Veterans Auditorium to the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Alan Beste, the coordinator of the State Wrestling Tournament for the IHSAA, came up with certain areas to be represented by the escorts of the Grand March.
In 2006, Jeff Kerber as one of the undefeated prep wrestlers in the state, who were the escorts, represented Emmetsburg. In 2007, two coaches with the highest winning percentages were chosen to lead the march.
For 2008, the IHSAA looked for a family whose presence connotated its commitment to the sport of wrestling. The Seaman family was quickly selected to fill the honor.
“That is where the Seamans come in,” explained Legg. “Ron, as a newspaperman who took The Predicament to a higher level, Tim for his television coverage and association with the sport, and Ty, who wrestled and is now coaching wrestlers, including his own son.”
Even though he never wrestled as a youth, Ron Seaman caught the wrestling bug after moving to Emmetsburg in 1969 when Ty, the youngest of three sons, developed an interest in the sport.
“The Kerber family were our next door neighbors,” Ron recalled, “so there was plenty of wrestling going on and a lot of excitement about the sport, so it was easy to catch the fever, so to speak.”
According to Seaman, wrestling grew on the family, buoyed by youth tournaments and trips to the Junior Nationals, along with the stories of the Kerber garage and the hours of watching kids from all over the state coming to work out in the garage.
A journalist, Ron was working for The Reporter and The Democrat during this time, and became acquainted with The Predicament wrestling paper, which was operated by Tom Bishop of Iowa City. With The Predicament trying to get wrestling information out to coaches, Seaman and his late wife Diane, soon acquired ownership of the publication that they devoted their love of wrestling to for 22 years before selling it to Jim Steirt of State Center.
Along the way, the Seamans were also recognized and honored for their support of the sport they loved. They were honored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association Wrestling Writers of the Year, Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association and the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Media Award.
Even though Ron is semi-retired, he still enjoys wrestling, especially watching grandson Ben, a junior on Ty’s Storm Lake Tornado wrestling team, as well as his other four grandchildren. Ron also spends time with son Todd, who works for the City of West Des Moines.
Tim Seaman is well known across northwest Iowa, as well as the state, as Sports Director at KCAU television in Sioux City, and is known statewide for his work on the Iowa High School Sports Network each year at the state wrestling championships.
“My time on the mat was confined to Physical Education class, but living in Emmetsburg is was hard not to have passion for the sport,” Tim explains. “I really feel like we’ll be representing the entire town and its passion for wrestling when we serve as escorts. When it gets right down to it, the reason our family became a ‘wrestling family’ was because we moved to Emmetsburg. That was our introduction to the sport.
Growing up in Emmetsburg, Tim had many friends who wrestled, along with his brother, so it only stands to reason that wrestling would occupy a big part of his life. “Although I never competed, so many of my best friends did and continue today. Classmate Rich Stillman, a three-time state champ, is still one of my closest friends and his son Matt hopes for his first state title this season.“
With Ron and Diane running The Predicament out of their home, Tim has many memories of helping with the paper, such as compiling the top-10 lists from coaches around the sate or tallying votes from coaches for rankings.
“I have vivid memories of the days mom and dad ran the paper,” Tim recalled. “My parents seriously enjoyed heading out on the weekend to see a tournament – Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge, Ames – wherever. It was all fun for them. seldom work. One of my mom’s favorite things was talking to the kids at the meets – saying hi and watching them excel.“
Today, as the Sports Director at KCAU TV in Sioux City, Tim credits his father’s journalistic background for his guidance. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, Tim started his career at WMT radio in Cedar Rapids, before a stint in Sioux Falls, SD, where he says he was disappointed by how low-key the South Dakota State Wrestling Tournament was in comparison to Iowa’s tournament. Tim moved on to Sioux City and KCAU in 1988, and will mark 20 years association with the station in May.
“Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of the finest young men an coaches the state has to offer,” Tim notes. “From time in the wrestling room to the heart pounding excitement of the state meet, I’m very lucky to have had the chance to report on great athletes like the Brands brothers from Sheldon and so many others that went beyond what was expected in order to compete.“
Tim still finds time to be involved outside the high school wrestling scene, as he has worked the past three years as Co-Tournament Director (with longtime official Doug Manley) to organize the NAIA National Wrestling Championships, with this year being Sioux City’s third and final year as host for the tournament.
Ty Seaman has come full-circle in his wrestling career, starting back in the third grade, in the basement of John Kerber’s home, wrestling with Jeff Kerber in the days that preceded the formation of the Little E’Hawk Wrestling Club. Ty participated in those youth tournaments and then moved into scholastic competition. Wearing the black and gold of the E’Hawks, Ty made the trip to Vets Auditorium for the state tournament and finished in fourth place as a senior for the E’Hawks in 1982, helping the E’Hawks capture one of their state championships.
The love of wrestling didn’t end upon graduation, however, Ty attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake and wrestled for legendary coach Al Baxter and earned three letters from Buena Vista.
“I feel very fortunate to have had great coaches in Bill Eckert, Stan Peterson, Gene Hunt, Bob Roethler, Clint Young and Al Baxter,” Ty reflected. “They are the reasons that I became involved in wrestling and why I wanted to become a wrestling coach. The fun I hand and the lessons I learned while wrestling under these coaches made me want to become a wrestling coach and hopefully be able to share what I learned from them.”
Now, 22 years later, Ty has been a coach for each of those years, in stints at West Lyon of Inwood for seven years and Storm Lake for the past 15 years. Over those 22 years, Seaman’s teams have amassed a record of 222 wins, 149 losses and one tie. Along the way, there have been 49 State Qualifiers and 18 place winners at the State Tournament.
At West Lyon, Ty’s Wildcat wrestlers earned a second place finish in the 1991 and 1993 State Dual Meet Tournament and finished second in 1992. In his tenure at Storm Lake, Seaman’s teams qualified for the State Duals in 1998. Ty also has the privilege to be able to coach his own son, Ben, a junior on the Tornado wrestling team. In addition to Ben, Ty and his wife Joanie are the parents of Nic and Nora.
The three Seamans will lead the procession of all wrestlers who qualified to compete at the state tournament in one of the most colorful events that make up some of the pageantry of the State Wrestling Tournament.