Tony Willaert, a 2o11 national qualifier for the Johnnies, has taken the reigns as interim head coach at St. John’s University. Brandon Novak, who had been the head coach for ten seasons, is moving into a full time football role as co-defensive coordinator. Novak coached many All-Americans and national qualifiers including three time NCAA champion Minga Batsukh. See below for the St. John’s release.
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Former Saint John’s University wrestler and assistant coach Tony Willaert ’11 has been named the Johnnies’ interim head wrestling coach for the 2014-15 season, athletic director Tom Stock announced on Thursday, May 8.
Willaert replaces Brandon Novak ’01, who will concentrate on football full-time as the program’s co-defensive coordinator in 2014. In addition, assistant coach Kevin Schiltz will assume the role as the program’s top assistant and takes over as the athletic department’s equipment manager.
“I am honored to lead this tradition-rich program and its student-athletes,” Willaert said. “The bar has been set high and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Willaert completed his third season as an assistant coach and was a national entrant as a senior at 197 pounds in 2010-11 for the Johnnies. Schiltz, meanwhile, has served as an assistant wrestling coach at SJU the past 12 seasons. A 1993 graduate of Augsburg College, Schiltz was a three-time All-American (1989-90, 1993) and a four-time MIAC champion (1989-91, 1993).
Thirty-eight Johnnies wrestled at the NCAA Division III Championships in 10 seasons under Novak’s direction, including 15 All-American performances and four national finalists, led by three-time national champion Minga Batsukh ’11. SJU posted an 82-73 dual record during his tenure. Novak will serve as a volunteer assistant wrestling coach in 2014-15.
“I am excited for Tony and the direction of the program,” Novak said. “The team is in good hands with Tony, and the addition of Kevin, full-time. SJU’s athletic department became a better one today.”
I would like to thank all of the wrestlers, alumni and parents that have contributed to the program the last 10 years.”