One of the most accomplished wrestlers the Chicago area has ever produced is taking over the wrestling program at Leo High School.
Homewood resident Michial Foy, a two-time Olympian, Pan-American Games gold medalist and silver medalist at the World Championships, has been named the Lions’ head coach beginning with the 2017-18 school year, Leo Principal Shaka Rawls announced.
“Being a former Leo wrestler myself, I want our wrestling program to compete at the same high level as our other sports,” Rawls said. “In Mike Foy I believe we have the ideal coach to make that happen.”
A member of the Illinois State Wrestling Hall of Fame, Foy wrestled collegiately at the University of Minnesota. He represented the United States at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the 1992 Games in Barcelona, placing sixth while serving as Captain of the U.S.’ Greco-Roman wrestling team in ‘92.
He earned his Pan-Am Games gold medal in 1989, and his World Championships silver medal the same year. Foy’s other honors include five U.S. national championships in Greco-Roman wrestling, a bronze medal at the 1990 World Cup and a fifth-place finish at the 1994 World Championships.
After graduating from Minnesota, Foy spent five years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping Marty Morgan develop into an NCAA champion. Most recently he has been a volunteer assistant at Crete-Monee High School, where sons James and Michial Jr. competed. His Mike Foy Wrestling Academy/Underdog Wrestling Club produced Olympians T.J. Dantzler and Majid Maynard, as well as Illinois state champion Brandon Peacock.
“I’m very excited by this opportunity,” Foy said. “Leo is a great school with a lot of history and tradition—nearly everyone you run into knows someone from Leo or has some familiarity with the school.
“Wrestling is as much about hard work as it is talent, and we’re going to work extremely hard to build a championship team of true student-athletes.”
Leo revived its wrestling program in 2014 after a lengthy absence and has enjoyed some individual success. Heavyweight James Britten Jr. qualified for the IHSA state meet in 2015, and Leroy Henry reached the sectional finals in 2016. The goal for Foy is to develop a stronger, deeper team that can compete at the Catholic League and state levels while helping young Lions earn college scholarships.
Current coach Mike Anderson, a 1991 Leo graduate, will stay on a Foy’s assistant. He’ll also continue to teach P.E. and coach baseball at Leo.
“We owe a real debt of gratitude to Coach Anderson for bringing wrestling back to Leo as an interscholastic sport,” Rawls said. “We’re very happy that he will still be involved with the program.”