State Stories

21

IHSA & IWCOA Honor Outgoing Wrestling State Final Manager Dr. Joseph Pedersen

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association (IWCOA) took time out to honor Dr. Joseph Pedersen during the 2016 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals at the State Farm Center on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign/Urbana. Joe has worked the state final meet in some capacity every year since 1971, with 2016 marking his final serving as the Tournament’s Meet Manager. Joe (above middle) was recognized and presented with gifts by IWCOA Board member Mike Manahan (above right) and IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson (above left).

Joe is a former high school coach, teacher, wrestling official and school administrator who retired from his career in education in 2000. Joe has stayed actively involved in wrestling throughout his life, and began working the IHSA state tournament in 1971, including serving as a working mat official in 1993 and 1994. He rose to the position of Tournament Manager in 2003, serving with distinction in organizing the fleet of volunteers that it takes to run one of the nation's premiere wrestling tournaments, before then managing all elements of the tournament from the head table throughout the duration of the tourney.

The IHSA and IWCOA want to thank Joe for his service and dedication to the sport of wresetling and for the countless student-athletes and coaches his efforts positively impacted.

Below is Dr. Joseph Pedersen’s profile from the Illinois Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame:

Joe began his wrestling career at Arlington Heights High School in Arlington, Illinois for Robert Emmons — an IWCOA Hall of Fame member as well as a Grand Marshal. His collegiate career was spent at Lewis University where he served as Captain of the school’s first wrestling team. When an injury from an auto accident ended his competitive wrestling career, Joe turned to the coaching ranks; he became the first assistant wrestling coach at Lewis University.

Joe began his teaching career in Darien, Illinois as a Junior High School instructor in Social Studies, English, Math and Physical Education. When Eisenhower Junior High began a wrestling program, Joe became its first coach. It was about this time in his career that Joe acquired a wrestling official’s license and began officiating high school matches. For his efforts, both in the classroom and in coaching, Joe was honored in 1982 by the United States Jaycees Organization as the “Educator of the Year.” In 1985 he was appointed as Principal of Eisenhower Junior High. In 1987 Joe received his Doctorate from Northern Illinois University. In 1998, Joe was selected as Principal of the Year. Besides coaching and administering his own building, Joe served as the Director of Region VIII of the Illinois Principal’s Association. Joe retired in 2000, but remains active in officiating as well as a member of the IWCOA Executive Board, the IWCOA Hall of Fall Committee and the Illinois Chapter of the National Hall of Fame Committee.

Joe’s coaching career has been very successful. His teams have won over 400 dual meets, 11 Regionals, 3 Sectionals and have finished in the top ten in the IKWF State Tournament several times. Joe has coached over 60 state placewinners, including 15 runner-ups and two champions. In his early days of coaching Joe was also instrumental in the development of the IKWF and its State Championships. He served as Sectional Director for 12 years; Vice- President for 4 years; President for two terms and Secretary once. Additionally, Joe has served as Grand Marshal of the IKWF State Championships and the ISEA State Championships and in 2002, the IHSA Individual State Championships. A member of the IWCOA since 1976, Joe has served as President-Elect, President and Past-President of the IWCOA.

Joe has been very active beyond the realm of the coaching ranks —putting in over thirty years as a wrestling official. In addition to working many IHSA Regionals and Sectionals, Joe has been assigned to both the State Dual Championships and the Individual State Finals. Early in his career Joe served as a volunteer State Tournament Bench Official; today he holds the title of Tournament Manager for the IHSA State Wrestling Championships. For his unrelenting commitment in the support of wrestling, Joe was honored as the IWCOA Man of the Year in 1995 and elected to the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1996. Finally, this year the IWCOA will recognize Joe’s dedication to the sport of wrestling with its Lifetime Achievement Award.