Graphic and release courtesy of Northwestern Sports Information. Photo by Colin Boyle (@colinbphoto).
EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern wrestling head coach Matt Storniolo has agreed to a multi-year contract extension, Combe Family Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Derrick Gragg announced on Thursday.
“Under Matt’s leadership we have recruited and graduated exceptional student-athletes, and won championships in one of the most rigorously competitive conferences anywhere in college athletics,” Gragg said. “His program is one our entire Northwestern community can be proud of. Wildcats wrestling is in great hands for years to come.”
Currently in his sixth season as head coach of Northwestern Wrestling, Storniolo has established himself as one of the premier head coaches in the sport, guiding the Wildcats to numerous individual and team accomplishments in his tenure.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity–Northwestern has been my home for the last 12 years and over that time, I have been fortunate to work with some of the best and brightest student-athletes you will find in our sport,” Storniolo said. “Thank you, Dr. Gragg, for believing in me to continue leading this extraordinary group of young men. I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a team to this point, but this program’s best days are yet to be realized. And the journey there is going to be a lot of fun. Go ‘Cats!”
Storniolo joined the Wildcats as an assistant coach ahead of the 2009-10 season. Since being elevated from interim head coach ahead of the Wildcats’ 2016-17 campaign, he has seen 14 different wrestlers earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Under Storniolo, six different Wildcats have combined to earn a total of 10 All-American honors, with multiple wrestlers reaching All-American status in each of the past three seasons.
A two-time All-American and Big 12 champion as a wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, Storniolo has seen a total of four Northwestern wrestlers win individual Big Ten championships over the last three seasons, including a sixth place finish as a team in 2020 to mark the program’s highest finish in the nation’s most competitive conference over the last eight seasons.
Under Storniolo, the Wildcats have seen consistent growth as a team at the NCAA Championships, finishing 24th in his second season, 22nd in 2018-19, and 10th at last season’s tournament. The Top-10 finish marked the Wildcats’ best under Storniolo and Northwestern’s highest finish since 2014.
In Northwestern’s 2019-20 season, Storniolo saw a pair of Wildcat wrestlers (Ryan Deakin and Sebastian Rivera) finish the year ranked as the No. 1 overall wrestlers in their respective weight classes entering the canceled 2020 NCAA Championships. The Wildcats ended the season ranked No. 4 in the nation by FloWrestling, and Storniolo was named one of five finalists for FloWrestling’s National Coach of the Year award.
In recent years, Storniolo has reloaded the ‘Cats lineup with a wealth of young talent. In the last two seasons, Northwestern has had three wrestlers (Michael DeAugustino, Lucas Davison, Chris Cannon) earn All-American honors in their first season wrestling in the NU lineup.
Currently, Northwestern wrestling is ranked in the top-25 in both dual and tournament rankings, with eight different starters currently ranked.