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College Wrestling News

Seeing What is Under the Hood Regarding the Coaching Vacancy in Champaign

This month, the college coaching world was taken aback by Jim Heffernan's retirement from the Illinois wrestling program. Coach Heffernan, who helped lead the University of Illinois wrestling program to 13 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, announced his retirement after 12 years as head coach and 29 years overall with the Illini wrestling program.

The decision caught many by surprise simply because Heffernan has become such a well-respected mainstay in both Champaign, Illinois, and the Division I coaching community at large for the last three decades.

Additionally, few saw this coming, given the very successful campaign Heffernan and Co. just strung together during the strangest of college wrestling seasons in recent memory. 

As it stands now, a shortlist of candidates to fill the role has been identified. The candidates include Doug Schwab, Mark Branch, Mike Poeta, Tony Ramos, and possibly others.

A decision is expected to come likely within the week. By all accounts, the search committee is moving quickly and wants a resolution as soon as possible. 

Whether it is one of these four or a "dark horse candidate" that gets the job, here is a look at the particulars of what the new head coach will inherit.  

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