COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Saint John’s University wrestling coach Tony Willaert ’11 was named head coach at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., on Thursday, June 22.
He replaces Eric Juergens, who resigned in May following a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships and 10 seasons as the Vikings’ head coach.
“I just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be at Saint John’s as long as I have,” Willaert said. “I will always be a Johnnie at heart and this place will always be home to me.”
Willaert completed his third season as head coach of the Johnnies in 2016-17. He was named interim head coach in May 2014 and the interim tag was removed in April 2016.
The search process to replace Willaert begins immediately.
“We thank Tony for his dedication and hard work with the SJU wrestling program,” athletic director Bob Alpers ’82 said. “We wish him all the best at Augustana and in his future endeavors.
“We’re currently working to fill the vacancy and are solid in our institution’s commitment to our wrestling program.”
Despite a 16-37 dual record over the three seasons, nine Johnnies qualified for the national tournament and eight were named National Wrestling Coaches’ Association Scholar All-Americans. The Johnnies achieved the fourth-best team GPA in the nation and placed third at the NCAA West Regional in 2016-17.
Willaert also served three seasons as an assistant coach at SJU prior to his three-year stint as head coach. He also led the Central Minnesota Wrestling Club, as part of the Minnesota Storm program.
As a Johnnie wrestler, Willaert compiled a 74-49 (.602) career record on the mat and was a national entrant, one of a school-record seven, as a senior at 197 pounds in 2010-11.