Geneseo Wrestling Coach Jon Murray reaches 300 wins

Claudia Loucks
Geneseo High School Wrestling Coach Jon Murray celebrates with the team after reaching his 300th career win at the recent meet with Rock Island.

Winning the wrestling meet against Rock Island on Thursday, May 27, was more than “just another win” for Geneseo’s head wrestling coach Jon Murray. It was a milestone for Murray, his 300th career win as a head coach, a journey that began with the 2002-2003 season when he became head coach at Geneseo.

The victory for Murray came with only two weight classes left in the meet with Rock Island. Geneseo was behind Rock Island 31-28, with 220-pound Tim Stohl and 285-pound Levi Neumann left to compete.

Both wrestlers won their matches in 6-2 decisions even though they were not aware that their victories secured the milestone wins for their coach and a 39-21 win for Geneseo over Rock Island.

Murray said reaching the 300-wins was “never a goal. Our goal as coaches has always been to develop wrestlers to the best of our ability and in turn the wins take care of themselves. It’s a nice even number, but just a number.”

He said what made it special “was the recognition and support from the team, the other coaches, and the community. I’m so lucky to be able to coach in Geneseo where people take pride in supporting their youth programs. Thanks so much to the countless people who have contributed along the way!”

When asked about a spring wrestling season rather than winter due to Covid-19, Murray said, “This is definitely a unique situation, wrestling in the spring and summer. It’s a much modified season with dual meets only for the regular season. Coming up will be the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association IWCOA Regional to be held at Rock Island; the Sectional at Geneseo and State at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.”

He added that a couple “strange things about this season are going home at night from practice in the sunlight and wrestling duals outside on the football field.”

“I’m very proud of our guys making the most of it with a current record of 7-1, and being ranked #6 in the State,” he said.

Murray’s own wrestling career began when he was a freshman student at Geneseo High School. He then moved to Danville where he wrestled his sophomore year and at Bloomington High School for his junior and senior years of high school.

He also wrestled at the college level at Illinois State University, Normal, for one season before transferring to Illinois College in Jacksonville, where he wrestled for four years and graduated from Illinois College in 1992.

During his years at Illinois College, Murray won over 100 matches, including three Midwest Conference Championships and he also qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship all four years.

He was inducted into the Illinois College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

It was during his sophomore year of college that he knew he wanted to teach and coach.

In addition to wrestling, Murray also has coached soccer, boys’ and girls’ cross country, girls’ golf, wrestling and track and field at GHS. He also has coached at the State Tournament in boys’ cross country, girls’ cross country, girls’ golf, both individual and dual team wrestling and track and field.

He also currently is the head girls’ golf coach.

At GHS, Murray teaches health, physical education and driver education.

He and his wife, Ami, have a son, 22-year-old Sam; and 18-year-old Eryn.

Coach Murray’s coaching career began at Geneseo when he was an assistant coach from 1992-2000 before he became an assistant coach at United Township High School for two years, 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 before returning to Geneseo to teach and coach in 2002.

THE RESULTS: GENESEO - 34 and ROCK ISLAND: 29.

-126 lbs. – Manny Limon, Rock Island, defeated Bennett Kreiner, tech fall 18-1.

-132 lbs. – Kyle Gant, Rock Island, defeated Bryce Bealer, Geneseo, fall 1:07.

-138 lbs. – Aoci Bernard, Rock Island, defeated Logan Tuggle, Geneseo, decision 9-5.

-145 lbs. – Josh Hock, Geneseo, defeated Tristan Willoughby, Rock Island, fall 5:27.

-152 lbs. – Anthony Montez, Geneseo, defeated Aime Iranybutsi, Rock Island, fall 1:01.

-160 lbs. – Dennis Thompson, Geneseo, defeated Mathew Cook, Rock Island, fall 3:51.

-170 lbs. – Bruce Moore, Geneseo, defeated Eian Marshall, Rock Island, fall 3:50.

-182 lbs. – Clay DeBaillie, Geneseo, defeated Trenton Syler, Rock Island, maj decision 9-1.

-195 lbs. – Steven Marquez, Rock Island, defeated Harrison Neumann, Geneseo, decision 5-2.

-220 lbs. – Tim Stohl, Geneseo, defeated Andrew Marquez, Rock Island, decision 6-2.

-285 lbs. - Levi Neumann, Geneseo, defeated Eli Gustafson, Rock Island, decision 6-2