Gillespie Named Lakeland University Head Women’s Wrestling Coach

Courtesy of Lakeland Athletics – Link

Shannyn Gillespie has been named the new head women’s wrestling coach at Lakeland University, director of athletics April Arvan has announced.

Gillespie is a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and an experienced coach and competitor with more than 30 years of national and international experience in the sport. Most recently he was the head coach at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill., where he spent the past three years.

Gillespie also has considerable experience as a coach and advocate for women’s wrestling. At Homewood-Flossmoor, he coached boys and girls wrestling teams and organized and hosted the two largest girls high school wrestling tournaments in Illinois to date. He also was head of the Illinois Girls Wrestling Coaches Alliance, leading a successful push to make girls wrestling a championship sport in Illinois starting in 2021-22.

Before his time at Homewood-Flossmoor, Gillespie was an assistant coach with the men’s wrestling program at NAIA member Lincoln (Ill.) College for one year. His coaching experience also includes eight years from 2004-12 at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich. He was a national team staff coach for USA Wrestling, training players and coaches for international competition.

In all, Gillespie by his count has coached at 34 national championships, 12 international tournaments and camps, four world championships and one Pan American championship. He also has been a strong promoter for wrestling, writing for online coaching resources as well as wrestling websites such as American Women’s Wrestling and The Open Mat.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to coach at Lakeland University and the return back to women’s college wrestling full-time,” said Gillespie. “Lakeland has a good base of women wrestlers now, is centrally located, and will be a fertile recruiting ground for ladies who aspire to be excellent student-athletes.”

Gillespie is a native of Evanston, Ill., and competed collegiately at Lock Haven (Pa.) University. He won 130 matches over four years for the Bald Eagles, was a four-time NCAA qualifier and placed third at 142 lbs. as a junior for Division I All-American honors. After college, he spent two years at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Gillespie has been inducted into the halls of fame of the Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association, Eastern Wrestling League, Lock Haven Wrestling and Evanston Township High School. He received his degree from Lock Haven in health and physical education. He will begin his duties at Lakeland Sept. 21.

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