PELLA, Iowa — University of Dubuque wrestling coach Jon McGovern was inducted into the Central College Athletics Hall of Honor Saturday as part of the school’s homecoming festivities.
McGovern a 1992 Central graduate and a two-time NCAA Division III national champion wrestler for the Dutch, was joined by long-time men’s basketball coach Jack Walvoord ‘54, softball pitching all-American Emily Grimes Rottinghaus ’94 and national wrestling champ Tim Hackel ’87 as a new inductee. He is the son of Janet and Terry McGovern of Riceville.
Central’s hall of honor is intended to recognize those who were exceptional performers in the athletics arena as a student-athlete, coach or administrator, and who have distinguished themselves in life after graduation through service and leadership. To be eligible for consideration, a nominee must have graduated or served as a Central coach/administrator at least 15 years earlier.
McGovern is the most successful wrestler in Central history, winning back-to back NCAA Division III championships (1991, 1992) at 167 pounds after placing fourth at 158 pounds in 1990, and claimed conference titles all three years. He’s tied for first at Central in career wins and his 123-17-1 record gave him the school winning percentage record (.958). He also set a school record for most season falls (24) in 1991-92. His 46-2 record in 1991-92 is Central’s best ever.
McGovern won team awards for most valuable freshman (1988-89) and most improved wrestler (1989-90), received the Lawrence Award for work ethic and dedication (1990-91) and was the 1991-92 MVP. He was captain of Central’s 1991-92 squad that won the conference team championship. He placed third at the prestigious Midlands Open in 1992 and 1993.
He earned a master’s degree at the University of Iowa in 1996. An assistant coach at the University of Virginia in 1997-98, McGovern also served as an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania (1998-99). He spent the following year at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. and finished fourth at the 2000 Olympic Trials in Dallas, Texas. A 1998 U.S. national team member, he finished third at the 1998 U.S. national tournament and third at the 1998 World Team Trials.
After returning to coaching as an assistant at the University of Chicago, McGovern also volunteered to operate a freestyle wrestling club for area high school youth. In 2002 McGovern became head coach at the University of Dubuque and is entering his 11th season with the Spartans. He’s coached seven all-America honorees at Dubuque, including two national champs, with 18 NWCA Scholastic All-Americans and four top- 20 NCAA team finishes.
McGovern has developed the Beat the Streets Dubuque youth outreach program, modeled after Beat the Streets New York, to help develop youth on and off the mat.