Lakehead Athletics announced today that the wrestling program is moving forward with Francis Clayton as head coach.
"Our wrestling program is in capable hands with Francis Clayton at the helm," says Director of Athletics Tom Warden. "His track record of success stands above the rest, and we're glad to hire back one of the greats of CIS wrestling coaches."
Clayton served as the interim head coach during the 2014-15 season, and will take up his former mantle as head coach, effective immediately. Francis served as head coach of the wrestling program from 1985-2005, after a successful career as a student athlete.
He would enjoy even more success as a coach over the years, which included being named the Coach of the Year five times by the OUA and twice by the CIS. He was also the runner-up for the 3M National Coaching award in 1993, which spans all athletic disciplines in Canada.
Clayton's knack for producing elite wrestlers is told by the sheer numbers: 17 of his athletes have competed at various international wrestling competitions, ranging from the Pan Am Games, to the Commonwealth Championships and the World Championships. He also helped Lakehead wrestling legend Justin Beauparlant to three CIS gold medals and a silver at the 2001 FISU Games in Tokyo.
He was also selected as one of Lakehead's '40 Northern Lights' which was a tribute to 40 individuals that made significant contributions to Lakehead University during its first 40 years. Francis will be inducted to the Lakehead Athletics Wall of Fame in October.
Clayton has earned his level 5 National Coaching Certification (NCCP) and has coached at nearly every level of Canadian wrestling in some capacity over his career, including the Canadian Coaches Education Committee. Over 35 of his student-athlete alumni are coaching wrestling across Canada at various levels.
"I'm happy to help out the program, I'd like to share my experience and knowledge of the sport," says Clayton. "Hopefully I'll give our athletes a chance to reach their goals, and our team a shot at bringing a banner back to Lakehead."
Source: Lakehead Thunderwolves