Eureka College to Launch Men’s, Women’s Wrestling Programs in 2022-23

Eureka College to Launch Men’s, Women’s Wrestling Programs in 2022-23

EUREKA – For the first time, men's and women's wrestling are coming to the Eureka College Department of Athletics.

Former Lincoln College wrestling coach Eric Biehl is bringing his coaching talents and expertise to Eureka to launch the Red Devils' 13th and 14th NCAA-sponsored sports for the 2022-23 school year, Eureka College announced on Tuesday.

NCAA Division III sponsors a men's wrestling championship and women's wrestling was selected for the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program on Aug. 1, 2020. Eureka College will become the third St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Confernece member to sponsor women's and men's wrestling.

"We are thrilled to announce the addition of two new athletic programs to the Eureka College campus community, as well as an accomplished, driven coach in Eric Biehl," Eureka College President Dr. Jamel Wright said. "Wrestling has a rich tradition in the state of Illinois, and women's wrestling in particular is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. We are proud and excited to welcome Lincoln College transfers to continue competing in the sport they love and open doors to new experiences for other current and prospective Eureka College students interested in joining these teams."

Biehl has been on the Lincoln College wrestling coaching staff since 2016 and was the head coach of both Lynx programs from 2021 until last month's announcement that the institution was closing its doors.

At Lincoln College, Biehl coached multiple All-Americans, helped lead the men's team to a fourth-place finish as a team in the NJCAA in 2017 and started the women's program in 2021.

In his first year as head coach, the men's team went undefeated in duals, earned its first American Midwest Conference title in program history and had eight national qualifiers, while the women's program had two national qualifiers in its inaugural season. Biehl was selected AMC Coach of the Year.

At Eureka, Biehl is looking forward to starting a new wrestling tradition while building off his recent success at Lincoln College.

"I am blessed and excited to have this opportunity to continue to invest in student athletes' lives," Biehl said. "Eureka is a great community located in the center of one of the best wrestling states in the nationI am looking forward to building Eureka College wrestling into a powerhouse from the ground up."

Biehl, a Delavan native, previously helped create wrestling programs at Heyworth Junior and Senior High School in 2011.

He was an assistant coach at the high school level, mentoring multiple state champions and place-winners. Eight years after the program began, the Hornets won their first state trophy as a team with a fourth-place finish in 2019.

Biehl also saw a lot of success at the junior high level, sending many young wrestlers to the IESA state tournament and achieving several team titles. He also coached for Team Illinois in the IESA state competition series, and has been a volunteer for local and national Special Olympics events.

"This is an exciting time for our department and an excellent opportunity for growth at Eureka College," Eureka College Director of Athletics Bryan Moore said. "The addition of men's and women's wrestling is in alignment with the NCAA Division III philosophy by encouraging athletics participation and the rising enthusiasm for growth within the wrestling community is very evident. We're very excited to welcome Coach Eric Biehl, already a very accomplished wrestling coach at the collegiate level. His passion for the sport and for his student-athletes was evident throughout this process and he will be a fantastic mentor and leader for our future wrestling student-athletes."  

Before he was a coach, Biehl wrestled at Olympia High School, where he posted a 105-40 record, was a three-time all-conference honoree and an all-conference cross country runner.

He then went on to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where he was a Division I starter and a National Collegiate Wrestling Association All-American. In his collegiate wrestling career, Biehl placed seventh at the 2011 NCWA Championships, received All-North Central Conference honors, was selected NCWA Academic All-America, and was a team captain for the Cougars.

Biehl graduated from SIUE in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in physical education with a K-12 teacher certification. He has taught physical education and health in the East Peoria and Delavan school districts, and since 2017, he has been a youth pastor in Delavan. He is currently working towards his master's in ministry at Lincoln Christian.

Current Eureka students and prospective student-athletes interested in joining the Red Devils' new wrestling program may contact Coach Biehl at (309) 825-3108.