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Iowa mat champ Williams new HS co-head coach

Joe Williams, University of Iowa wrestling champ and 2004 Olympian, has been named co-head wrestling coach of the wrestling program at the yet-to-be-opened Liberty High School outside Iowa City, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported Thursday.

Joe Williams
Tom Van Dyke will join Williams to lead the first wrestling team at the new school, located in North Liberty. Liberty High School, part of the Iowa City school district, will open this fall for the 2017-18 school year.

"Liberty is excited to announce its co-head wrestling coaches," said Liberty principal Scott Kibby in a press release issued Thursday. "Tom Van Dyke and Joe Williams will lead Liberty wrestling together in its inaugural season."

Both coaches bring on-the-mat and coaching experience to the program that has yet to wrestle its first match.

Williams was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time NCAA All-American while at University of Iowa, wrestling for legendary head coach Dan Gable. Williams went on to craft an impressive freestyle career, winning two gold medals at the Pan-American Games, two bronze medals at World championships, and placing fifth at the 2004 Athens Olympics. After graduating from Iowa, Williams served as the Hawkeyes' head assistant coach for three seasons. In 2012, Williams launched his own youth wrestling academy in North Liberty, where he serves as head coach and managing director.

Van Dyke, an Iowa high school state heavyweight champ, has spent the last five years teaching at Iowa City West High School, where he has also served as an assistant wrestling coach under head coach Mark Reiland. Prior to coming to Iowa City West, Van Dyke was head wrestling coach at two other Iowa schools.

The first season for the Liberty Lightning wrestling program will be during the 2017-18 school year. Starting in 2018-19, Liberty will compete in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

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