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Wrestling writer Dan McCool, who was as respected and well-known as the athletes and coaches he covered in the sport, died Monday. He was 60 years old.

Tony Hager of IAwrestle.com was the first to report the news. McCool's wife, Diane McCool, said the cause of death is believed to be a heart issue. 

“I would say that he’s about as well-known (in) wrestling in Iowa and across the United States from a journalist point of view as anybody that I know of for this great sport,” said Dan Gable, the legendary former Iowa State wrestler and former Iowa coach.

McCool had been a longtime writer for The Des Moines Register in the 1990s and early 2000s, covering high school and college sports. The sports ranged from football, baseball, soccer and swimming. His specialty, though, was wrestling.

McCool was the go-to source for high school and college news in the sport while he covered it. He wrote a book detailing the history of the Iowa state wrestling tournament called “Reach for the Stars: The Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament.”

“I don’t know anyone who logged more miles and visited more high school gyms than Dan McCool,” said former Register sports editor Bryce Miller. “He did it on snowy weekends. He did it on random weeknights. He went to gym after gym after gym to write stories about wrestling in the state of Iowa. He did that because he cared so much about that sport.”

Miller said nothing in the sport was off-limits to McCool, who chronicled wrestlers, coaches and officials. While he’d sit mat-side at the state wrestling tournament, many of them would seek out McCool for a conversation.

"Dan loved wrestling and the wrestling family more than anything else except his own family," Diane McCool wrote in a message to The Register. "He was devoted to advancing the sport and he wanted to keep its history alive to save its future." 

News of McCool's death brought an outpouring of sadness on social media, with many former wrestlers taking to Twitter to write about what a great ambassador he was for the sport. Just being interviewed by McCool was considered an honor by many wrestlers. 

“He’s an institution when it comes to wrestling,” Gable said.

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