Tony Hager ’08: Athlete, Artist, Entrepreneur

by Alex Kirkpatrick ’18

At Simpson College, you can be a sports enthusiast; you can be an art connoisseur; you can be a savvy businessperson — a trifecta of a success story.

That’s what Tony Hager ’08 did. And that’s what he continues to do as vice president and owner of Takedown Wrestling, a media company designed to promote and enhance the sport of wrestling.

“Simpson prepared me for meeting lots of people from different areas around the world,” Hager said. “There’s anybody from people who want to be a lawyer to somebody who wants to be an artist, like myself.”

As a Storm wrestler and graphic design major, Hager combined his love of sports and arts to be in a profession that advocates both.

“To be able to be in a field that is around the sport that I love and to not be going door to door doing something outside of my major, I feel like that is a success in itself,” he said.

With the help of invested and committed educators, Hager was able to challenge himself academically but also have a little fun.

“It wasn’t just what we were studying,” Hager said. “There was a lot of interaction with the students and the teachers here at Simpson that made it fun. I still talk to my friends from Simpson wrestling once a week at least.”

Seeing a lack of wrestling coverage around Iowa, Hager realized an opportunity to dive into the market, which expanded his entrepreneurial skills even moreso.

The open-mindedness mentality was something he says he learned at Simpson.

“In business, if you’re doing the same thing everybody else does, you’re going to be at that level,” Hager said. “So you have to go above and beyond to be different to make a name for yourself. My advice to kids that come to Simpson College is just to have an open mind.”

Growing up in the small town of Ogden, Hager says he appreciates Des Moines being just a 20-minute car ride away.

“I came to Simpson College, because when you come here, you’re so close to Des Moines that you’re going to have opportunities around the area,” Hager said. “I like to see this school growing and continuing to strive to have the best academics and athletics in the state of Iowa.”

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