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Joe Williams, Mike Castillo hired as assistant coaches at Northern Illinois



DEKALB, Ill. - It is every collegiate wrestler's goal to advance to the NCAA Tournament and even place at the ultimate grappling event.

The Northern Illinois wrestling team will get to draw from their new assistant coaches' experiences, as Huskie head coach Dave Grant announced that he has hired 2001 NCAA Qualifier Mike Castillo and three-time NCAA Champion and 2004 Olympian Joe Williams as his new aides on Tuesday. Castillo and Williams join second-year assistant coach Ryan Ludwig as Grant's right-hand men.

"We are very excited about bringing in two experienced coaches to NIU," Grant said. "Mike (Illinois) and Joe (Iowa) have been involved in very successful programs and their knowledge and experience will be very valuable to help move our program forward.

"Both coaches have strong ties to the Chicagoland area and will play crucial roles in helping propel the Huskies to new levels."

Castillo, who has spent the last five years as a volunteer assistant coach for Lyons Township, also tutored under Sean Bormet, founder of the nationally-renowned Overtime School of Wrestling in Naperville, Ill., for the past two seasons.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to coach at the Division I level and helping Dave Grant take the NIU wrestling program to the next level," Castillo said.

During his senior year at Illinois, Castillo compiled a record of 22-11 on his way to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 2001. As a sophomore, Castillo was recognized as a USA 1998 Espoir All-America Wrestler. Castillo will be mentoring younger brothers Pat and Vince, both members of the Huskie squad.

Pat Castillo (Western Springs, Ill.), a senior, is one of three returning NCAA Qualifiers for the Huskies from 2006, including classmates Johnny Galloway (Iowa City, Iowa) and Mike Grimes (Villa Park, Ill.).

Williams is one of the most decorated wrestling athletes in United States history, as he was a four-time Illinois High School Association champion for Mount Carmel High School, two-time Big Ten Champion, 10-time Midlands Champion, six-time U.S. National Freestyle Champion and a two-time World Bronze medalist.

"I look forward to working alongside some great coaches and great athletes and look forward to competing for both individual and NCAA team titles," Williams said.

Williams finished his high school career with a record of 171-1, with his only loss coming as a result of an illegal slam as a freshman. At Iowa, Williams was 129-9 overall with a winning percentage of .935, which is good for ninth in Hawkeye history.

The Harvey, Ill., native spent four seasons at Iowa on the Hawkeye athletic staff, serving as the strength and conditioning coach in 2001, followed by three seasons as an Assistant Coach on Jim Zalesky's staff, including a second-place team finish at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Last season, Williams was a volunteer assistant coach for Iowa State.

NIU will host the 2006-07 Wrestle-Offs on November 1, 2006 at Victor E. Court with the first match beginning at 6:05 p.m.
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