CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- University of Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan announced Wednesday that two-time NCAA champion Mark Perry will join the Fighting Illini coaching staff as an associate head coach. Perry comes to Illinois from Cal Poly, where he served as co-head coach last season and as an assistant coach in 2009-10.
"We are thrilled to have Mark Perry join our staff," Heffernan said. "Through the support and resources provided by our administration, we were able to hire the best young coach in college wrestling. In assessing the needs of our program moving forward, I knew the best option was to bring in someone with a new approach, fresh ideas and a lot of fire. Mark's strengths as a coach address all the areas where we need the most improvement. His competitive nature and will to win are very evident and will be contagious. He will be a difference-maker for our program and we are all anxious for him to get started."
Perry won a pair of NCAA titles at Iowa, taking the crown at 165 pounds in 2007 and 2008. He was a four-time All-American from 2005-08 and won a Big Ten title in 2007. He helped lead the Hawkeyes to an NCAA team national title in 2008 and was a team captain from 2005-08.
"I'm very excited to be at Illinois," Perry said. "The main thing that drew me here was the vision of Coach Heffernan and Coach (Jeremy) Hunter, which is to win championships both in the Big Ten and nationally. That's where this program is headed and I'm going to do everything I can to help it get there."
A native of Stillwater, Okla., Perry was the 17th four-time All-American and 14th two-time national champion in NCAA history. He defeated Michigan's Eric Tannenbaum in the championship match in 2008 and took down two-time defending champion Johny Hendricks of Oklahoma State in the 2007 finals. Perry also defeated Tannenbaum in the 2007 Big Ten championship match. Perry also won the Gorrarian Trophy after he pinned four opponents at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
He was named the NWCA Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the Iowa Athlete of the Year in 2007. Perry also was a four-time finalist at the Midlands Championships, winning two titles.
The former Hawkeye wrestler was an assistant coach at Penn State in 2008-09 before taking the position at Cal Poly in 2009. At Penn State, Perry helped a pair of wrestlers to freshman All-America honors and he has directed Mark Perry Wrestling Camps nationwide for the past four summers.
Perry earned his B.A. in art from Iowa in 2008. He was a two-time high school national champion at Blair Academy in New Jersey and a three-time Asics High School All-American while posting a 169-7 career record.
The Perry File
Born: June 16, 1984
Education: B.S. in art (studio emphasis), University of Iowa, 2008
2010-11 Co-Head Coach - Cal Poly
2009-10 Assistant Coach - Cal Poly
2008-09 Assistant Coach - Penn State
Two-time NCAA Champion (2007, 2008) - 165 pounds
Four-time NCAA All-American (2005-08)
NCAA Gorrarian Award for most falls in NCAA Championships - 2006
Big Ten Champion (2007) - 165 pounds
Four-time Big Ten Finalist (2005-08)
Two-time Midlands Championships Champion (2005, 2008) - 165 pounds
University of Iowa Athlete of the Year - 2007