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IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley Selected for IWCOA Hall of Fame

Steve Endsley, Executive Director of the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) has been selected as an inductee to the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) Hall of Fame. Endsley was selected for his contributions to the sport of wrestling in the state of Illinois.

Endsley started his career with the IESA in September, 1988 and assumed the duties of Executive Director in July, 1996. During his tenure as the Executive Director and specifically as the administrator for the wrestling program, there has been a nearly 130% increase in the number of schools that participate in the IESA state wrestling series. IESA had some pretty humble beginnings with junior high wrestling as there were approximately 60 schools that entered the state series when the first state competition was held in 1980. That number had grown to 80 by 1996. Today, there are almost 190 schools that enter the state series. The IESA state finals are held at the Convocation Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University. "The growth of the schools entering the IESA state series is something of which I am extremely proud," said Endsley. "It's not just because of me that we have seen this remarkable growth. It is the work of many who have helped to make our state finals what they are today. It takes dedicated tournament managers like Mike Manahan, Arch Richoz, and Jared Johnsen, hundreds of volunteers, hard-working officials, coaches and administrators who care about the well-being of their wrestlers, my staff at the IESA Office, a Board of Directors who provide an unbelievable amount of support, and really the entire wrestling community to foster the growth. I am just the conduit. My whole goal has been to make the experience for students who compete in the IESA wrestling program a positive experience and should they desire to continue their wrestling careers in high school and beyond, they will hopefully look back at their IESA days with fond memories. I would like to think that by doing things the right way, making improvements to our program over the years, and caring about the way wrestling is perceived and administered, we have contributed to the growth of the sport at the jr. high/middle school level. Wrestling teaches the participants so much. At the end of the match, the wrestlers shake hands and the winner has his hand raised in victory. The loser of the match has to accept the outcome of the match and then hopefully works harder so the next time his hand can be raised. That type of lesson is hard to duplicate in other activities."

Endsley readily admits that he probably has the least "on the mat" wrestling experience of any other IWCOA Hall of Fame member. "I did not wrestle in grade school or high school," said Endsley. “But, once I started working for the IESA, I quickly saw the passion that the wrestling community has for their sport. I want everyone to know I am honored to lead the organization that has provided thousands of young student wrestlers the opportunity to participate in this sport. My sincere hope is that IESA has played a small part in the lives of those who have been involved---wrestlers, coaches, officials, administrators, and friends of the sport. I am proud of all IESA has done to further the sport. I am humbled by being selected for this award. I thank the IWCOA for this honor and everyone who has been associated with the IESA state wrestling series because it is those individuals who have fostered the growth of the sport at the jr. high/middle school level. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I am thankful for all the friendships I have made over the years. I am truly blessed. Wrestling has enriched my life in a way I never could have imagined."

The 2020 IWCOA Hall of Fame Class will be inducted on Saturday, April 25 at the Holiday Inn in Countryside, IL. A complete list of this year's inductees as well as all members of the IWCOA Hall of Fame is available at the following link:

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