DeJarnatt, Montgomery to be honored by IWCOA
Apr 10, 2012 (Menafn - Daily Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Two heavyweights in area wrestling will soon be feted by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.
The late Carson DeJarnatt, who built Sterling into a wrestling power in a quarter century as coach, and Rich Montgomery, who coached at Newman and Rock Falls and remains active on the IWCOA executive board, will be honored at the organization's hall of fame induction banquet. It is slated for Saturday at the Park Place of Countryside.
DeJarnatt will receive the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award, while Montgomery will be recognized as the organization's Man of the Year.
DeJarnatt, who died in 1995, was a 1973 IWCOA Hall of Famer and the grand marshal at the 1990 state wrestling tournament. This additional honor caught his widow, Shirley, a bit off guard.
"This is a very special thing because he'd had the other honors from that association already," Shirley said. "A few years ago is when they started this, so we were really surprised."
Carson DeJarnatt came to Sterling in 1957 to teach mathematics and was the head wrestling coach until his retirement in 1983. His teams went 342-110-10 and won 14 NCIC championships. A big reason for that success was devotion to the sport.
On nights when Sterling didn't have a meet, DeJarnatt could be found at another school's meet, scouting future opponents. Assistant wrestling coach Jim Scott called DeJarnatt 'The Fox,' Shirley noted, for the way his athletes were prepared.
"We would go to a match of somebody we were going to play," Shirley said, "and [Carson] would know every move that kid made before our kids wrestled him."
For Shirley, the wrestling experience went way beyond wins and losses. The entire wrestling team was an extended family, and athletes would congregate at the house for meals or to simply hang out.
Each of the DeJarnatt's three boys, Mark, Barry and David, were wrestlers, and their teammates showed up in waves.
"It was fun having the kids at the house all the time," Shirley said. "Whichever one of mine was wrestling, all those wrestlers came to the house. It was wonderful, really."
Shirley remembered something Carson started called the '20 Club.' All of his wrestlers who had 20-win seasons, whether they were current Sterling students or graduates, were invited to the house for a dinner.
"We'd have 20, 30 people there after the season," Shirley said, "and they'd all talk about their meets. It was just a lot of fun."
The three DeJarnatt boys were each state qualifiers under their father's tutelage. Michele, the youngest of four children, was a state qualifier in track. Carson coached that sport as well from 1975-83, a span that included four NCIC titles.
"Everybody knew I raised my kids in the gym," Shirley said. "The youngest one, David, he would climb the bleachers. Michele, she'd sit there and color nice. You know, I didn't miss a meet. I took the kids with me. Everything was family."
Montgomery is a 2002 IWCOA Hall of Fame inductee with a career coaching record of 420-237-5. He coached 62 state qualifiers, 36 state medalists and 17 state champs. He also guided Newman to a 1985 Class A state title, as well as third place in 1989.
Montgomery currently serves the IWCOA as secretary, and is a member of the Fundraising, All-State Banquet, Hall of Fame, Classic Dual and Membership committees.
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