Carl Adams was a key cog in the most productive time period of the storied Iowa State wrestling program. In his four years at ISU (1969-72), Adams won two individual national championships, was a three-time All-American and was a member of three NCAA Championship squads (1969, 1970, 1972) and one runner-up NCAA team (1971).
A native of Bay Shore, N.Y., Adams arrived at Iowa State after a stellar prep career at Brentwood High School, where he never lost a dual meet and was the New York State champion his senior year at 157 pounds. Legendary ISU wrestling coach Harold Nichols penciled in the freshman as his 152-pounder in 1969, where he compiled a 9-2-1 dual mark and finished fifth at the NCAA Championship. The Cyclones took home the team title that year for the first time since 1965.
Adams won his only Big Eight Conference championship in 1970 (150 pounds), but was unable to place in the top eight at nationals as the Cyclones won back-to-back NCAA team titles. Adams regrouped and held a stranglehold over his weight class (158 pounds) in his final two seasons. In 1971, Adams was 9-2-1 in duals and won his first NCAA title by dominating Oregon State’s Mike Jones 18-5 in the championship match. Adams did not lose a dual match in his senior season (16-0-1) and capped off his second consecutive individual national title with a 7-4 decision against Stan Dziedzic from Slippery Rock. He was one of three Cyclone individual national titlists in 1972 (Ben Peterson, Chris Taylor), as the Cyclones were kings of the mat world for the third time in Adams’ four seasons with the Cyclones.
After ending his ISU career with a 45-4-4 dual mark and three Midlands championships (1971, 1972, 1974), Adams continued to excel on the mat at the international level while assisting Nichols and the Cyclone staff from 1973-79. Adams won the AAU 163-pound national championship in 1973 and 1975 and placed fifth in the 1975 World Team Championship held in Minsk, Russia. He won a silver medal at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City. Adams, who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State, left ISU in 1979 to take his first head coaching job at the University of Rhode Island. After two seasons with the Rams, Adams took over head coaching duties at Boston University, where he just finished his 24th year with the Terriers. Under his tutelage, the Terriers have won 10 conference titles and produced four All-Americans.
Adams has authored many books on wrestling and was the inventor of the Wrestling Takedown Machine, Adam, a device used by thousands of high schools and colleges across the country. Adams was inducted into the Midlands Hall of Fame in 1992 and was a 2005 inductee to the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame at the International Wrestling Institute in Newton, Iowa.