Head Coach: Daryl Thomas
Email Coach Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daryl Thomas enters his first season as the Lincoln College Lynx head coach in 2016-17. Thomas, a former 133-pounder at the University of Illinois, will also manage the Scott Joslin Fitness Center inside the Lincoln Center complex.
“I’m humbled and just ready to work and start the recruiting process here at Lincoln College,” Coach Thomas said. “I’d like to thank Dave Klemm, president Gerlach and all the other members of the administration who were involved in this process for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I look forward to pursuing national team titles and coaching individual all Americans and National Champions, but most importantly preparing the kids to be successful in life and at the next level.”
Prior to Lincoln College, Thomas was an assistant at Northern Illinois University for two years. Thomas was instrumental in coaching five NCAA National Tournament qualifiers in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Thomas also helped coach freshman Austin Eicher (133) to a MAC Championship, the team’s first since 2011. In the 2015 season, Thomas helped guide Husky 141-pounder Steve Bleise to NIU’s first Midlands Tournament finalist since 2006. Prior to that, Thomas was an assistant at Edwardsville High School, where he helped the Tigers advance four wrestlers to the Illinois state tournament. In addition, EHS also won the team title at the Granite City Regional and finished the regular season with a perfect 28-0 record and a Southwestern Conference title.
At Illinois, Thomas finished with a 53-47 record with six pins. The Edwardsville, Illinois native was a two-time placewinner at the Big Ten Championships – placing sixth in 2012 and 2013 – and also advanced to the NCAA Championships as a senior. In his career, Thomas placed at four open tournaments, while also advancing to the placing rounds at the 2012 Midlands Championships and the 2009 Las Vegas Invitational. Thomas was ranked as high as seventh by WIN Magazine as a senior, while finishing third at the 2012 ASICS USA Wrestling University Nationals to earn Freestyle All-American honors.
Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Communications in the spring of 2013.
Assistant Coach: Shannyn Gillespie
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Shannyn Gillespie, a former U.S. Olympic Education Center Coach & USA Wrestling National Team Staff Coach joined Coach Thomas’ staff in 2016-17. Gillespie has successfully coached teams at 34 National Championships, 12 International tournaments & camps, four World Championships, and one Pan American Championship. Gillespie has also coached individuals to 29 National Championship Gold medals, 14 World or Pan American medals, five USA Wrestling Outstanding Wrestler Awards, and one Olympic Bronze medal.
Assistant Coach: Eric Biehl
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Eric Beihl joined the Lincoln College wrestling staff in the 2016-17 season. In his own wrestling career, Eric Biehl held a 105-40 record while in high school, was a NCAA DI starter for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, placed 7th at 2011 Nationals, and received the achievements of NCWA All-American as well as NCWA Academic All American. In 2011, Biehl returned to central Illinois to help create a wrestling program for Heyworth Junior and Senior High School where he then served 5 years as the Heyworth Junior High program’s head coach and as the assistant coach for the Heyworth High School program. While at Heyworth, Biehl experienced the successes of two IHSA state qualifiers, 15 IESA state qualifiers, 3 IESA state placers and achieved team titles including the 2016 IESA team sectional championship and an 11th place team finish in the IESA state competition series.
Assistant Coach: Jason Hoffman
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Jason Hoffman began coaching the wrestling program at Lincoln College in 2005 as an assistant coach. An Alum of Lincoln College, Hoffman has helped produce 24 All-Americans and five National Champions. Jason was an IHSA State runner-up for Prairie Central High School and then continued his wrestling career at Lincoln College and then at Eastern Illinois University. He graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree with Magna Cum Laude honors.