Fall 2014

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Drew Pariano ’00 has led Northwestern to two top-10 finishes in four years as head coach. S. J. Carrera, Inc. 2014.

A Successful Match

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Drew Pariano has the wrestling program on a championship path.

Drew Pariano couldn’t stay away from Northwestern for long. After a short postgraduation hiatus that saw him take coaching jobs at John Carroll University and Cornell College, the former Northwestern wrestler returned to the Wildcats in 2005.

Following stints as an assistant and associate head coach, Pariano ’00 was named Northwestern’s head coach in 2010, succeeding his college mentor, Tim Cysewski. Just four years later, Pariano spent part of March watching Jason Tsirtsis become Northwestern’s first-ever freshman NCAA champion.

“It’s the ultimate fulfillment,” Pariano says. “As coaches, we put everything we have into our kids, so we want to see them succeed.”

The difficulty in balancing wrestling commitments and an academic load at a top-ranked school isn’t lost on Pariano, who qualified for the NCAA tournament three times while at Northwestern. “I know how hard it is academically,” he says. “I think I have a pretty good grasp on what they go through.”

Pariano has enjoyed a wealth of early success as Northwestern’s head coach. Over the past three years the Wildcats have twice finished as a top-10 NCAA team. Add in seven All-Americans, two Big Ten champions, three NCAA finalists, National Freshman of the Year and an NCAA champion, and that’s enough to last most coaches an entire career. But Pariano is just getting started.

Northwestern’s incoming group of freshman was the No. 2-ranked recruiting class in the country according to WIN Magazine and features three three-time state champions. “I think when we get those guys together, they’ll realize they can build something special,” Pariano says.

Drew Pariano ’00 has led Northwestern to two top-10 finishes in four years as head coach.