Here is a CJ Ettelson quote from the late Dan McCool’s book, “Reach For The Stars:” “A funny, funny story, but when I was about 4 or 5, Danny Knight went on some Saturday tournament that my dad took him to and he left his pillow. I slept on his pillow for many years. That was the thing I was always conscious about it because my dad was always like, ‘you know who’s pillow that is, right? That’s Danny Knight’s pillow.” With that said, it’s crazy to think that Dan Knight was so good, that his greatness seemed to be contagious, for CJ ended up becoming a 4X State champion in 2003 just like Knight did in 1987. I am assuming that CJ acquired “Mad GOAT Disease” from using Knight’s pillow. Not a bad disease to acquire!
I remember going to a big Clinton youth tourney when I was 10 years old and Knight did a clinic before the tournament began and it was there that I learned that he had never lost a match in high school. He was 128-0 in high school along with being a 4X State champion for Clinton. I had no idea that a person had ever gone undefeated before, let alone 3 at that time if you include Kerber and Gable. I decided then and there that I was going to become a 4X undefeated state champ myself someday. I fell short of that… to say the least. I would have done it if I were lucky enough to get one of his magic pillows! I picked up a “shoulder to ear” tip when running a chicken-wing on top from Knight’s clinic that day. I pinned 3 guys in the first period and got first that day… used that chicken-wing tactic every time. Knight has been cool in my book since.
So Dan Knight sported a red singlet in his matches because he was from Clinton and that is their primary school color. He was essentially “The Red Knight” in the coliseum and when he won his first two state finals matches, his opponents stepped on the mat looking like this:
5 seconds after the whistle blew, they looked like this:
Naturally, since he was winning so frequently and so ferociously, he developed some haters. One of these haters was so bad, that I would classify it as adversity that most other 4 Timers didn’t have to deal with… This heckler was loud, obnoxious and crazy and if he was granted one wish by a genie, he’d wish for The Red Knight to be demolished.
This is the insanity he had to put up with this crazy hater he had when he won state as a Junior:
How did Knight respond?! He responded by taking his opponent down. Dan Knight took him down….down, down, down!
That was a pretty big statement he made there. You’d think that it would have silenced the hater a little bit…but it didn’t… In Knight’s Senior season state finals match when he was going for his 4th title, he still had to deal with shade being thrown his way from the crazy hater in the stands:
Dan Knight wanted to silence this guy and he wanted to do it as soon as possible. So he did:
So Knight was able to dominate in the state finals in multiple ways. He could run a takedown clinic on you and tech ya, or he could pin you in 20 seconds as if you were a guy who showed up at open wrestling tourneys wearing a t shirt and shorts instead of a singlet. Dan Knight destroyed you in multiple ways and if you were his opponent, the manner in which you were destroyed all depended on his mood.
Does Dan Knight have a case for being the Iowa HS wrestling GOAT?!!? Well, why don’t you ask the Black Knight!