Class of 2016
Lombard (Montini Catholic)
Jim Izzo attended Montini Catholic High School and wrestled for Coach Jim Mackey. He also participated in football and track. After graduating he continued his education at St. Mary’s University in Winona Minnesota where he wrestled for Coach Larry Lutmers. Jim was a co-captain of the first SMU wrestling team to post a winning record.
Jim returned to his alma mater and became an assistant coach at Montini in 1975, before becoming the school’s fourth head coach in 1978. During his 16 seasons as head coach he finished with a 180-119-4 overall record and coached 15 IHSA State Qualifiers and 5 place winners. He had the distinction of coaching Montini’s first State Finalist (Rod Monis 1991) and Montini’s first multiple state place winner (Pat Mahoney 1991). In 1993 Montini won the wrestling program’s first team regional championship. Jim stepped down in 1994, and became an assistant coach until 2005, for a total of 30 years of coaching Montini Catholic Wrestling. The IWCOA nominated Jim for assistant coach of the year 3 times, and he won the award in 1998. Jim also had the thrill of helping coach his son Jesse to the 160 lb. State Championship in 1998, the first individual state wrestling champion Montini ever crowned.
Jim is most proud of the fact that several times during his tenure, decreasing enrollment and financial strains had the administration considering dropping the wrestling program and he was able to keep numbers strong and help save the program. Several of Jim’s former wrestlers have gone on to become high school wrestling coaches.
Izzo has taught History at Montini for 42 years, and was recognized as the LaSallian Educator of the year in 1994. Jim is very thankful for the support of his wife Joan and his daughter Katie and son Jesse, as well as all the young men he has had the pleasure of coaching and teaching during his years at Montini.