Martin Announces the Promotion of Thomas to Assistant Head Coach
By ODU Athletics
NORFOLK, Va. – Monarch head wrestling coach Steve Martin announced Thursday afternoon the promotion of Daryl Thomas to assistant head coach on his staff. Thomas spent the last year as assistant coach for ODU.
“We are very excited to promote Coach Thomas to the top assistant job. In a very short time period he has stamped a blueprint on the program that is very impressive,” expressed Martin. “His connections in Illinois and throughout the nation has become very evident over the last 12 months from a recruiting stand point. I know he is very excited and passionate about helping ODU Wrestling achieve new heights.”
Thomas will be replacing Mike Dixon who is returning to his alma mater, Indiana University to take over as associate head coach. Dixon spent 13 years with ODU making an instant impact to the ODU wrestling program.
“I am extremely humbled and excited for this opportunity. I'd like to thank Coach Martin and the ODU administration for their trust and belief that I can fill the role that Mike Dixon had such a huge impact on,” Thomas said. “Watching and learning alongside him this past year has proven to be an invaluable experience. I look forward to the future and can't wait to continue to grow this program to new heights alongside Coach Martin.”
Thomas joined the ODU coaching staff in 2017 after serving one season as head coach at Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois. At Lincoln, Thomas led the team to a fourth place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament. In that time, he led five wrestlers to All-American status and was named NJCAA Midwest District Coach of the Year. Prior to his head coaching position at Lincoln, Thomas spent two years at Northern Illinois as an assistant. Thomas coached five NCAA qualifiers throughout those two seasons at NIU.
Before making the transition to collegiate coaching, Thomas was an assistant coach at Edwardsville High School in Illinois.
Prior to his coaching career, Thomas wrestled at Illinois where he was an NCAA qualifier and was ranked a career-best No. 7 at 133 pounds. He compiled a 53-47 record at the Big Ten school and earned a degree in Communications in 2013.
In just his first season at ODU, Thomas has recruited seven wrestlers from the state powerhouse of Illinois for the class of 2018. Thomas works primarily with the lower weights, coaching 125-pound Michael McGee to a MAC Championship and becoming an NCAA qualifier as a true freshman. McGee went on to be named 2018 MAC Freshman of the Year.