Joe NortonJoe Norton takes the reins as the new full-time head wrestling coach on September 16. He replaces Tony Islas, who stepped down in July after 12 seasons as a part-time coach with the Prairie Fire to take a position as a high school administrator.
Norton comes to Knox from his alma mater, North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where he served as a graduate assistant wrestling coach from 2010 to 2012. His responsibilities included recruiting and retaining quality student-athletes, as well as helping to plan and run team practices and workouts.
Norton was a four-year varsity letter winner as a member of the North Central wrestling team between 2006 and 2010. He had 94 career victories on the mat and was a four-time NCAA regional place winner. He was a two-time conference runner-up, three-time tournament champion, seven-time tournament finalist, captain of a team ranked as high as #4 in NCAA Division III, earned a #9 national ranking as an individual, and was the recipient of the "Hammer Award" in recognition of outstanding commitment and work ethic.
"I had a great opportunity to spend seven years in a program that knows what it takes to be successful," Norton said of his time at North Central.
Norton attended Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Illinois, where he was a 2006 All-State selection and an AAU first-team All-American. He concluded his high school career with 102 wins and was the captain of three squads that won state championships.
"Joe comes from two great programs in Montini Catholic High School and North Central College," said Knox College athletic director Chad Eisele '93. "He has been taught and worked for some great mentors and I am confident that Joe is ready to take on the challenge of running his own program."
Norton said he's excited to lead a program that has such tremendous support. "The fact that Knox is willing to commit to wrestling says a lot about where the program can be. I'm thankful to Chad Eisele and President Teresa Amott for their faith in me to take the wrestling program to the next level."
Norton is the seventh full-time coach hired by the College in the past two years.