Remembering Ice

Remembering Ice

Mike Jacotout ’81 was one of the stars of the ’78–’79 wrestling squad, the first Lions team to win an NCAA championship. He talked with us recently about the coach who made it happen: Dave Icenhower MA ’84, who passed away in October at age 66.

Icenhower, pictured in an undated file photo, was head wrestling coach for 35 years.
Icenhower, pictured in an undated file photo, was head wrestling coach for 35 years.

“TSC’s wrestling team was ranked 16th the season before. But with Mike Rossetti and the other guys coming back, and Britt Mock and me transferring in, we knew we had the nucleus of a national championship team. We believed we were the best; Ice ensured our practices made us the best. They were exhausting. We wrestled eight-minute matches back then, but in practice Ice made us go for 11 minutes—and sent fresh wrestlers in every few minutes. He was preparing us for the worst so that if the time came he could say, ‘You’re ready for this.’

“Ice believed in continued, balanced improvement. ‘Good is not a permanent place,’ he’d tell us. ‘If you’re good, somebody’s striving to beat you.’ So we constantly pushed ourselves to be better.

“He was a participative leader, and ahead of his time in that respect. He never shouted or got in your face. He asked our opinions and listened. I never had a coach do that before. He was making us better wrestlers but also better men. He was building character and developing leaders. I know he thought he stopped coaching me after my final match, but nothing could be further from the truth. I still refer to the lessons he taught through his words and actions.

“There’s a saying: Some people pave the roads;  others ride on them. Dave Icenhower was a road paver for TCNJ’s athletic success. After our team won the college’s first NCAA championship, the floodgates opened and winning NCAA titles became the standard. That’s because Ice made everyone believe it was possible.”

“Ice believed in continued, balanced improvement. ‘Good is not a permanent place, he’d tell us.”

NCAA Champs018

5 Responses to Remembering Ice

  1. Dave was one of the turkey rememberable men in my life. I coached wrestlers at Glassboro versus his guys withheld Pinckney, and guided many high school kids to TCNJ because I knew they would be in great hands and guided wisely through a very important phase of their life.
    Ice always had a smile an a moment to say hi when I swung by as athletic trainer for the Rowan football team or visiting Joe Camillone for a professional meeting. A legend while living and forever in Ewing across the state and entire country!

  2. Dave was one of the truly rememberable men in my life. I coached wrestlers at Glassboro versus his guys withheld Pinckney, and guided many high school kids to TCNJ because I knew they would be in great hands and guided wisely through a very important phase of their life.
    Ice always had a smile an a moment to say hi when I swung by as athletic trainer for the Rowan football team or visiting Joe Camillone for a professional meeting. A legend while living and forever in Ewing across the state and entire country!

  3. A fitting tribute to Dave Icenhower from college teammate, Mike Jacoutot. I sensed that we had something special that 78-79 championship year as well. Ice was a class act and an intuitive coach. He made Division III Nationals truly an NCAA Division I qualifier by recognizing the potential. He had wrestled for Lehigh and he was well connected to recruit our area. I wrestled for him his very first year as head coach, and I watched him first hand mold our team. He recruited and trained a talented group of athletes then and created a perennial winner that he continued for 35 years, while other colleges dropped wrestling. I have been shaped by that experience, and I remember back to those times. I am grateful to have been a small part of this. Also congratulations are in order for the author of this article, Mike Jacoutot. who will also be inducted into the NCAA DIII Hall of fame as a National Champion, 4 time finalist and All American at the DIII National Championships in Hersey, PA in March. Well deserved congratulations, Mike.

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