Lincoln, IL – The Lincoln College Athletic Department has named Daryl Thomas as its next head coach for wrestling at Lincoln College. Thomas will take the place of current wrestling coach and Athletic Director Dave Klemm, who is stepping down to focus on his duties as Athletic Director and leading the future transition of Lincoln College Athletics.
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 Communication in the spring of 2013.
Lincoln College Athletic Director Dave Klemm said, “We’re excited to have Coach Thomas coming on board. We believe that he will be a great addition to Lincoln College.”
Coach Thomas will begin his duties in the spring 2016 semester.