INDEPENDENCE – Did you know Independence’s own assistant principal, Dewey Hupke, was a state qualifier in wrestling in 1990 and 1991? Hupke wrestled at 145 pounds.
Did you know that Independence’s Michael Doyle, a teacher and the head wrestling coach, was a 1991 state qualifier in wrestling? Doyle wrestled at 145 pounds.
In 1991, Dewey Hupke was a senior at Washington High School in Cherokee, Iowa. Michael Doyle was a senior at West Delaware/Manchester. They didn’t know each other personally, but they were aware of each other because of the rankings. In addition, Hupke’s older brother, Ben, wrestled at Wartburg College in Waverly, so he knew of Doyle due to the proximity of Waverly and Manchester.
They had never wrestled each other, nor had they ever met. The only time they were in the same tournament was between their junior and senior years in a freestyle tournament in Waverly, but they never ran into each other.
Hupke and Doyle were having great seasons (in 1991) and both had high expectations and big goals going into the state tournament. Both were highly ranked, inside the top three, in Class 2A at 145 pounds. It would have been the ideal situation if they met for the state championship, but that wasn’t the case. They would finally meet in the match for fifth place.
As Hupke recalls, “ I remember the match was in the center of Veterans Auditorium. It was on Saturday morning, and I was pretty upset, as I am sure Michael was. Both of us had big goals, and wrestling for fifth place wasn’t one of them.”
He continued, “In those days, the first period was only one minute in consolation matches. End of first period was 0-0. He chose down the second period. He got an escape and ended the second period, 1-0 Doyle. Third period, I chose bottom.”
We’ll get back to this….
Hupke went on to Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, majoring in elementary education. He played football for legendary coach Larry Korver (whom Hupke named his son after), from 1992 to 1995. He coached junior high wrestling while still in college and even was an assistant coach and head wrestling coach for several years following graduation from Northwestern.
Hupke has officiated wrestling since 1992, and was a referee at the state wrestling tournament for seven years, working the finals for four years. Before coming to Independence, he taught and coached at Alta, Orange City, South Sioux City (Nebraska), Pocahontas, and Storm Lake. He has officiated football, volleyball, and softball, too.
Doyle moved on to become a three-time All-American wrestler at Wartburg College. Following his college graduation, he moved to Independence and has become an iconic figure in this community.
These two men would not meet again until 2011, when Hupke was a referee at the state tournament and working the finals for the very first time. Hupke says he saw Doyle walk by and said “hello” to him. Doyle was presenting the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials’ Association Awards that night. They spoke briefly and paused for a photograph together.
Hupke and Doyle kept in touch through wrestling in the coming years. Hupke was the official’s chairperson for the Northwest Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials’ Association. He organized a high school senior all-star meet each year that was held in Cherokee. Doyle would help him with getting wrestlers from Eastern Iowa to compete in the meet.
When an administration job opened up in Independence in 2014, Hupke called Doyle and asked him about it.
Hupke says, “I respected him and thought it would be cool to have my son potentially wrestle for him. I knew he had very successful teams here.”
Dewey and Heather Hupke and their two kids, Mackenzie and Korver, moved to Independence in 2014. Heather became the head softball coach, and coached Doyle’s daughter Allison, along with Mackenzie. The girls were one year apart in school.
Hupke added, “I think it is pretty cool how all of this has come around full circle. I am very proud of my family and I know he [Doyle] is very proud of his. To have all of this come together is crazy!”
Hupke says they have spoken briefly about the match, mostly because a fellow colleague, Scott Eddy, likes to give Hupke a hard time about it. Doyle doesn’t speak of it, mostly because he doesn’t want to recall a match that he never wanted to wrestle in, a match for fifth place.
Hupke says, “The bottom line, I think both of us respect each other from knowing how hard a kid works to be good at wrestling.”
Now the Hupkes have a son, named Korver, who wrestles for Coach Doyle. He will be a sophomore next year. Hupke says he is so grateful for the program that Korver gets to be part of. And Heather Hupke helps out with the wrestling team, in a mental conditioning aspect.
When asked if there will ever be a re-match, Hupke laughed and said, “Scott Eddy wants a re-match.” But Hupke says his best days are long gone, and he knows better to ever wrestle Coach Doyle.
“I lost when I was in the best shape of my life. I know I am way too out of shape, and I know he (Doyle) is still tough as nails.”
Yes, Michael Doyle defeated Dewey Hupke. The final score: 1-0.