MADISON, Wis. — Matt McDonough’s voice radiates excitement for his new role as a college wrestling coach.
The tone changes to gratitude for 10 years around the University of Iowa and its staff, especially coaches Tom and Terry Brands.
“I was truly blessed to spend a decade at Iowa,” McDonough said. “They were like father figures to me. And you don’t ever forget that or where you came from. My real goal is that I can do what they did for me for the guys I’m able to coach.”
McDonough will take those lessons and skills to Wisconsin, confirming Monday’s announcement that he will join the Badgers wrestling staff of Chris Bono, who replaced Barry Davis after his retirement at the end of the season. McDonough will be an assistant along with former Iowa State NCAA champion Jon Reader, who served as Bono’s assistant at South Dakota State.
Bono attempt to hire McDonough immediately after his college career as a two-time NCAA champion and three-time national finalist for the Hawkeyes. They have the same philosophy to the sport.
“It’s the mentality of the work ethic and how he’s thinking,” Bono said in a news release. “We’re on the same page for how we should train athletes and how the recruiting goes. Everything about Matt is what I think about in a wrestling program, so it was a no-brainer to go after him. He comes very highly recommended by a lot of people and I’m excited to get him here.”
McDonough was a four-time Big Ten finalist, finishing with a 122-9 career record at 125 pounds. McDonough was a three-time state champion and four-time medalist at Linn-Mar.
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McDonough trained for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, earning a spot on the 2014 U.S. National Freestyle Team. In the same year, he won University Nationals, making the U.S. University World team and earning bronze at the University World Championships.
McDonough has worked with HWC members and was Program Director for the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club. He said a combination of factors made it right to reach future goals.
“This was a great opportunity,” McDonough said. “I’ve always had a passion for coaching and had a dream to be a head coach at the collegiate level.”
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