State Stories

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2014 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Final Grand Marshals

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Four Grand Marshals, who have combined to contribute more than 140 years to the sport of wrestling, will lead the annual Grand March of Finalists Saturday night (Feb. 22) before the championship bouts of the 77th IHSA Individual Wrestling State Final Tournament. First held in 1975, the annual March of Finalists is conducted at the State Tournament by the IHSA in conjunction with the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA). Each year the Grand Marshals are honored for their contributions to the sport and to the young men and women who participate in it. The Marshals play an important role in the color and pageantry of the event. They lead the 84 individual finalists and their coaches in a breathtaking Grand March around the Assembly Hall arena floor just prior to the championship bouts. The annual crowd in excess of 10,000 is witness to a spectacle of high school athletics seen nowhere else in America.

Here is a closer look at the 2014 Grand Marshals:

BILL HONEYCUTT
Bill Honeycutt has been involved with the sport of wrestling in Illinois since he joined the team at Morton East High School as a freshman. His wrestling career continued collegiately at Monmouth College, but an injury forced him to set his sights on coaching and officiating. After graduating from college, he served as an assistant coach at Morton East and then became the head coach at Saint Viator.

In 1978, he left the coaching profession to focus on officiating and has built a reputation as one of the most respected officials in the sport. Bill has combined to work 20 IHSA Wrestling State Finals, including the Individual State Meet on 13 different occasions. He will also serve in the Coordinator of Officials role at the 2014 Dual Team meet for the first time in his career. He has also worked the IESA state tourney 13 times and served as its Head Official.

Bill was on the call for the memorable 135-pound overtime “scramble” state championship match between Plainfield Central’s Ryan Prater and Bremen’s Cartice Lloyd in 2007.

Bill was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 2003 and has a litany of other honors, including being named Official of the Year by the NFHS, the IWCOA and the South Suburban Coaches Association. He is an IHSA Clinician for wrestling and has served on the IHSA Officials Advisory Committee.

Bill resides in Woodridge with his supportive wife Nancy. He is honored to be part of a wrestling community that includes a lifetime of cherished friendships.


DALE EGGERT

Few individuals in state history have been able to accomplish as much as Dale Eggert has as a student-athlete and then as a coach at the same high school. Dale’s link with Libertyville High School began in the early 1970’s, where he was a standout three-sport athlete (football, wrestling and baseball), twice qualifying for the IHSA Wrestling State Finals, including a runner-up finish at 126 in 1974.

After a decorated wrestling career at Southern Illinois University, Dale graduated in 1978 with 13 Prairie State Games Gold Medals and was hired by his alma mater as a teacher and coach one year later. Dale taught at Libertyville High School from 1979 until his retirement after the 2012 school year, and was named the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2007.

Dale began coaching wrestling immediately upon arriving at the school and was named the head coach in 1988. In early January this year, he became the eighth coach in state history to win 500 career matches. Those storied seasons include 17 North Suburban Conference team championships, 21 Regional titles and five Dual Team Sectional titles. His 2008 team finished fourth in the State and he has coached 86 state qualifiers, 19 All-Staters and one state champion.

A member of the IWCOA, Prairie State Games and Lake County Halls of Fame, Dale also previously coached football, soccer, baseball and softball at Libertyville. He currently serves on the Illinois Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame selection committee.


ANTHONY CLARKE
Anthony Clarke began his high school wrestling career at North Chicago High School, before finishing at Waukegan West High School, where he was a Sectional qualifier as a senior in 1982.


Two years later, Anthony began his officiating career, which would see him become a respected official both in Illinois and nationally. Anthony has officiated the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals on 13 occasions and also worked the Dual Team State Meet three times. He also served in the Coordinator of Officials role at the IHSA Dual Team finals for the first time in 2003 and has since served in that position six times, including three at each state tournament.

Anthony also continues to give back to the sport as a coach, as he started his coaching career at Lake Bluff Junior High. After three years at Lake Bluff, he joined the coaching staff at Carmel High School as an assistant coach, a position he has held for the past 12 years.

Anthony has previously been awarded Official of the Year honors by the IWCOA and the NFHS, while Wrestling USA Magazine named him its National Official of the Year in 2013. Anthony was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the IHSA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
Anthony has worked as a civilian servant for Department of the Navy Reserve Component Command in Great Lakes since 1984. He and his wife reside in Zion and have two children, Anitra and Alec, who have served as runners at the individual state tourney in the past.


DON BEHM
Before he achieved tremendous collegiate, national and international success on the wrestling mat, Don Behm honed his craft at New Trier High School. He wrestled his first career match as a freshman in high school and went on to win back-to-back state titles for the Trevians at the 120-pound weight class in 1962 and 1963.

After high school, Don attended Michigan State where he was a Big Ten Champion in both 1965 and 1967, and went on to earn NCAA All-American accolades in both of those seasons as well. He was also the team Captain for the Spartans 1967 NCAA National Championship squad, which remains Michigan State’s only national title in wrestling.

Don qualified for the US Olympic Team in 1967, winning a Silver Medal at the Mexico City Summer Olympics in 1968. His incredible resume includes being a five-time USA Freestyle Champion, a gold medal winner in the 1971 Pan-American Games and a two-time AAU champion. He was also the first American to win gold at the prestigious Russian Tiblisi tournament in 1970 and won a Veterans World Championship in 1993.

His career culminated with the sport’s ultimate honor, when he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004.

Don earned a Master’s Degree from Michigan State and remained in the East Lansing area. He was a successful high school teacher and coach in Michigan for over 40 years, most of which was spent at East Lansing High School.