JJC Athletics Names First Men's and Women’s Wrestling Head Coach

Joliet Junior College (JJC) athletic director Gregg Braun has announced Gary Woods II as the College’s first-ever men’s and women’s wrestling head coach. JJC announced the addition of women’s wrestling to the JJC athletics lineup in 2023. 

“After an extensive search, Coach Woods stood out to us as the right person for this position,” said Braun. “His experience coaching both men and women’s wrestling in the same program is what JJC needs to begin this new chapter in Wolves wrestling history. That experience, plus his contagious passion for the sport, is the right energy to get the season started.”

Woods comes to JJC from Spotsylvania, Virginia, most recently as the head coach for boys and girls wrestling at Mountainview High School. In the 2022-2023 season the Mountainview boys team won the Virginia Class 5 state title and had the second largest female wrestling program in the state. 

Woods has been a head coach for five years for boys and girls wrestling at the high school level, earning a total dual record of 61-27. Woods has had the pleasure of coaching two Fargo All-Americans, three National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) placers, three state champions, 11 state finalists, 23 state placers, 36 state qualifiers, eight regional champions, 18 regional finalists, 49 regional placers, 16 district champions, one female NHSCA placer, one female state finalist, 10 female state placers and 19 female state qualifiers — as well as helping build Virginia’s largest girls wrestling team in 2018.  

“I am looking forward to joining the JJC coaching staff and building a program that goes beyond the mat,” said Woods. “My goal is to build a wrestling family that excels in the classroom, supports our community and strives for excellence in all aspects of life.” 

Woods himself was an accomplished wrestler, achieving both NCAA DII and NAIA starter status as an undergraduate at American International College, Hannibal LaGrange College and WIlliam Penn University. He repeatedly competed at the state level for high school in his hometown of Spotsylvania. 

JJC announced the addition of women’s wrestling to the lineup of athletic programs in April 2023, citing the sport’s fast-growing interest at the high-school and collegiate level. The National Junior College Athletic Association recently added women’s wrestling as an emerging sport. The National Wrestling Coaches Association reported that the number of girls who wrestle in high schools has grown from 804 in 1992 to over 31,000 in 2022. In Illinois alone the number of girls teams has grown from 180 to 256 from 2022 to 2023.  

Woods assumed his position as head coach with JJC on Monday, Sept. 25.  

For media inquiries, please contact Katherine Smith, communications and media manager: katherine.smith@jjc.edu.

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