EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips announced today that head wrestling coach Drew Pariano has been given a five-year contract extension through the 2018 season. In three seasons as head coach of the Wildcats, Pariano has guided the squad to top-20 finishes at the NCAA championships in each season along with seven All-America honors.
"In his three years as our head coach, it is evident to see the positive impact Drew has had on our wrestling program and our athletic department as a whole," Phillips said. "He produced two NCAA finalists this past season, seven All-America honors in just three years and his teams are consistently recognized by the NCAA and NWCA for academic success. As a result, we are looking forward to crowning multiple NCAA champions and All-Americans in the coming years and seeing what the future holds for the Northwestern wrestling program with Drew at the helm."
"I would like to thank Dr. Phillips and President Schapiro for their ongoing support of our wrestling program," Pariano said. "Northwestern Wrestling is synonymous with excellence and my staff and I will work extremely hard to carry on the tradition. Northwestern is a very special place for me and I plan on building the program into a perennial national title contender. The student-athletes that we currently have, and those who we continue to recruit, will embody what Northwestern Athletics is all about; success, honor and dedication".
Pariano has been an integral part of the Northwestern program for 12 years, wrestling for the Wildcats from 1995-99, returning as an assistant coach in 2005 and then elevated to associate head coach before assuming the role as head coach on June 1, 2010.
In his three seasons at the helm, the Wildcats have enjoyed a significant amount of success in the highly-competitive Big Ten Conference and on the national level. The 2012-13 season culminated with then-senior Jason Welch winning the Big Ten title at 157 lbs. and also earning a trip to the national finals at the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships, capping his NU career in elite company as a three-time All-American. Redshirt sophomore Mike McMullan also advanced to the national finals at heavyweight, giving Pariano's squad two NCAA finalists. Northwestern was one of just four schools, along with team champion Penn State, runner-up Oklahoma State and Iowa, to advance at least two wrestlers to the finals at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
The Wildcats have qualified at least five wrestlers for the NCAA championships in each of Pariano's three seasons as head coach. Additionally, the squad has finished inside the top 20 all three years, including a top-10 showing (ninth place) during the 2011-12 campaign. During that span, four different wrestlers have achieved seven All-America honors. Since Pariano returned to Northwestern as an assistant coach in 2005, he has helped coach Jake Herbert (2007, 2009) and Dustin Fox (2008) to three national titles and guided nine wrestlers to 19 All-America honors.
Pariano's Wildcats also are consistently honored for their academic achievements. As a team, Northwestern's GPA during the 2012-13 season ranked amongst the top 20 squads in the country according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) and the Wildcats had a perfect APR score of 1,000 during 2011-12 to receive an NCAA Public Recognition Award. Redshirt sophomore Pierce Harger, a two-time NCAA qualifier, became a two-time NWCA All-Academic honoree in 2012-13, which extended NU's streak of at least one NWCA All-Academic honoree to nine of the last 10 seasons.
Off the mat, Pariano has been instrumental in assembling several of the most highly-touted recruiting classes Northwestern has seen in the past two decades. He took the lead in recruiting two-time Illinois state champion Brandon Precin from Chicago's Sandburg High School in 2006 -- coaching the three-time All-American Precin to two third-place national finishes at 125 pounds -- and in 2008 he helped NU sign Welch -- a three-time NU All-American and 2013 NCAA finalist -- the Junior Dan Hodge Trophy winner as the nation's best prep wrestler. He also signed McMullan, who was the nation's No. 1 ranked heavyweight and now two-time All-American at NU, along with one of the top recruits in the country in 2012, four-time Indiana state champion, Jason Tsirtsis, who is currently preparing for the 2013 FILA Junior World Championships.