Augustana introduces new wrestling head coach
Tony Willaert is the Terry & Sandy Shockley Endowed Wrestling Coach at Augustana College for the 2017-18 season.
Willaert, alumnus and former head coach at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, takes over for Eric Juergens. Willaert will be the 15th head coach to lead the program at Augustana.
"I am excited that Tony will be leading the Augustana wrestling program," Mike Zapolski, Augustana athletics director, said in a news release. "We were fortunate to have a strong applicant pool for the position, and Tony has the vision and work ethic to continue the positive momentum established by Eric Juergens. Tony was an integral part of several solid teams at St. John's, and has an excellent track record of identifying and developing young men who want to excel in the classroom and on the wrestling mat."
At St. John's, the wrestling program finished third at the NCAA West Regional and had a 6-5 dual-meet record last season. Four grapplers went on to the national meet, bringing Willaert's national qualifiers total to nine during his three seasons with the Johnnies.
His teams also did well academically, the news release said.
A 2011 graduate of St. John's, Willaert was a highly ranked competitor at 197 pounds during his senior year. He made it to the round of 12 in the national meet and helped the Johnnies place sixth.
Augustana came in 17th at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in 2017, and two wrestlers were named All-Americans. Christos Giatras, 184 pounds, of Lemont, and Adarios Jones, 285 pounds, of Moline, are expected to be back this season.
"I am honored to take over the Augustana wrestling program and look forward to picking up where Eric left off," Willaert said. "I am anxious and excited to get started and I look forward to working with this team. This year's team has great potential and the future is bright as well."
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