Peacock wrestling receives $100,000 ‘challenge gift’

UIU alumni Alice and Roger Mangan of Littleton, Colorado, have pledged a $100,000 “challenge gift” to the Peacock wrestling program. The announcement comes on the eve of UIU hosting the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 9-10.

Upper Iowa University Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Roger Mangan and his wife, Alice, have pledged $100,000 in an effort to further strengthen the Peacock wrestling program. The “challenge gift” aims to spur an additional $100,000 in funds raised from other UIU wrestling alumni and fans.

“The wonderful generosity of Roger and Alice will allow us to further raise the profile and competitiveness of our nationally recognized wrestling program,” UIU Athletic Director Rick Hartzell said. “In addition, we are hopeful this significant gift commitment will encourage others to consider similar donations to help our athletic programs reach their highest possible level of success.  We are sincerely thankful to Roger and Alice for this generous donation.”

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Roger Mangan graduated from UIU in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in history with minors in political science and French. The four-time Peacock letter winner compiled a 33-2-2 career record and won Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships at 147 pounds in 1959 and 1960. Mangan started a 16-year teaching and coaching career in Fredericksburg, Cresco, Bettendorf and Estherville, Iowa.  He later became an educational consultant for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Davenport, Iowa, before moving to Littleton, Colorado, with his wife, Alice, and two daughters in 1976.

Alice (DeLong) Mangan followed in the footsteps of her mother and six aunts and uncles who also attended Upper Iowa.  A Maynard, Iowa, native, Alice helped organize a drill team at UIU before earning a physical education degree in 1961. Her first teaching position was at New Hampton, Iowa, where she taught K-12 physical education and led the Girl’s Recreation Association. Alice also opened a preschool in Estherville in 1966. Alice and Roger have been married for 55 years.

Upon moving to Colorado, Roger opened a State Farm Insurance scratch agency. He quickly credits Alice, who worked along his side for 34 years, as being essential in helping develop the agency into one of the largest State Farm agencies in the Denver metropolitan area.

“I believe the sport of wrestling taught both Alice and me to be fierce competitors and to never give up in life, regardless of the endeavor.” Roger said. “Upper Iowa and wrestling have always held a special place in our heart and we wanted to give back to the place that rekindles old memories and helped us invent our future.  We hope our fellow UIU alumni, friends of the entire Peacock community, and all wrestling fans see this as an opportunity to join together in providing further support to our student athletes as they continue to grow as our future leaders.”

Upper Iowa’s wrestling history is rich with success. The Peacocks claimed seven Iowa Conference championships as a member of the NAIA and NCAA Division III. UIU won six straight IIAC titles from 1968-1973. Prior to the University’s jump to NCAA Division II, the Peacocks earned 52 All-American honors and crowned eight National Champions including two-time champions Steve Exline, Mike Himes and Jesus Wilson. Upper Iowa’s top finish at an NCAA Championship came in 2001-02 when the wrestling squad earned NCAA Division III’s second-place trophy.

Since joining NCAA Division II in 2006, Peacock wrestling has celebrated 31 All-Americans, eight NCAA finalists, four National Champions including Trevor Franklin’s two crowns, six top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, six consecutive top 8 finishes at the National Dual Meet Championships, and three Northern Sun Conference Championships. UIU hosted the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships and is doing so again this year. Upper Iowa University will host the 2018 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships at US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 9-10.

“We have a special thing going on here at Upper Iowa,” UIU wrestling head coach Heath Grimm said. “During my 18 years at Upper Iowa, I’ve never been more excited about our possibilities on the mat than I am now. Upper Iowa is filled with special people, individuals who care about our student-athletes experiences, who support our goals, and who give back and contribute to all of our success. Roger and Alice’s groundbreaking gift has pushed our program onto a more stable platform to attain continued success. Roger has been more than a supportive alum to me over the years; he’s been a mentor and man that I respect greatly.”

In the spring of 2009, the Peacock Mat Club was founded to ensure that the Upper Iowa University wrestling program continues to have additional resources available for recruiting and training, which in turn has a positive impact on the student athletes to help them further succeed on and off the mat.

Six of UIU’s 10 wrestlers qualified for this year’s national tournament in Cedar Rapids after placing in the top four of their respective weight classes at the recent regional tournament in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Redshirt senior Josh Walker led the Peacock effort with a NCAA Super Region 3 championship at 133 pounds. Sophomore Nick Baumler finished second at 197 pounds and redshirt junior Damian Penichet placed third at 149. Peacocks placing fourth and punching their tickets to Cedar Rapids were redshirt junior Maleek Williams (125), freshman Dalton Hahn (184), redshirt senior Logan Hopp (285). For additional information about the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, visit

“I believe UIU can win a National Championship,” Roger said. “To do this, we need to continue to create more opportunities for our wrestling student-athletes. We have the coaching, facilities, reputation and a strong commitment to academic excellence, a great recipe for success. We can recruit the best!”

Grimm was pleased to report some matching challenge funds have already been donated by Peacock and wrestling supporters in 2018. For additional information about Peacock wrestling, visit  If you wish to make a donation, visit and designate your gift to Wrestling.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: