Class of 2015
Wheaton Central, SIU | Edwardsville, Belleville West
Al Sears was born in Huntsville, Alabama and raised in Wheaton, Illinois. Al was introduced to wrestling by his father, Charlie Sears, who was a graduate of Oklahoma State University. Al’s rambunctious behavior prompted his father to find an outlet for his energetic youth. Al first started wrestling in 1972 with the Wheaton Park District under head coach Ed Ewoldt. He wrestled at Wheaton Central High School for head coach John Fuller. Al wrestled all four years and compiled a varsity record of 88-12. Al was a two time DuPage Valley Conference Champion, 1X District and Sectional Champion. Al’s senior year he placed third in the Heavy weight division at the IHSA state wrestling tournament. Al finished his senior year with a 41-1 and 29 falls record. While in high school Al also played football for Coach John Thorne. Al was a DVC All Conference Selection at Defensive line in 1981. He was also selected to the Sun-Times All Area Football team. Al also placed 1st in the State Power Lifting meet his senior year.
Al attended Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on a Wrestling Scholarship. Al wrestled under the legendary coach and Olympian, Larry Kristoff. Al wrestled at SIU-E from 1981-1985. Al had a great career and time at SIUE. Al was a four time Regional Champion and 4X NCAA Division II All American. He placed 2nd, 7th, 4th and 2nd at the Division II’s. Sears also was a NCAA Division I All American placing 8th at the NCAA Division I Championships his senior year. Al holds the SIUE school record for most falls in a career. Al also holds the SIUE season pin record with 30. Al Sears holds the NCAA Record for “Most Falls in a Career” with 110. Al was also a member of two NCAA Division II National Championship teams. Al graduated from SIUE with a BS in Education.
After college Al wrestled for Sun Kist Kids. He was a member of the National Freestyle Championship team in 1985.
Al went on to be a Graduate Assistant Coach at SIU-E in 1986 and 1987. At that time SIUE placed 1st and 2nd in the NCAA Division II National Championships as a team.
Upon Al’s return back to Wheaton from college he remained involved in wrestling. He revitalized the Wheaton Park Wrestling team. Al became an Assistant Coach at Wheaton Central High School and an Assistant Coach at the College of DuPage. Al taught at Naperville Lincoln Junior High and coached wrestling and football.
In 1993, Al accepted a job at Belleville East High School. He was employed as a Physical Education, Driver’s Education, assistant Wrestling and Assistant Football Coach. In 2001, Al accepted the Head Wrestling Coach position at Belleville West High School. Al just finished his 14th year as head coach at Belleville West. His Coaching record is 208-99. While coaching at West, Al has had thirty State Qualifiers, 16 place winners and coached in 4 state title matches resulting in one Champion, Mech Spraggins.
Al has been recognized for his athletic ability in high school and college. In 2005, he was inducted into the SIUE Athletic Hall of Fame. Al also received the “Athlete Award” at the 2009 Wheaton 150th Sesquicentennial. In 2011, he was inducted in to the Wheaton Warrenville South Athletic Hall of Fame. Al has been married for 24 years to Tonya Sears, his college sweetheart, and has two daughters Mateja and Kiarra. He lives in Millstadt, Illinois. Al credits his Faith, Family, Teachers and Coaches for the Success on and off the Mats!