Class of 2024

Jimmy Kennedy, Fox Lake (Grant)/Univ of Illinois


In whatever setting Jimmy Kennedy has been involved in, succeeding at a high level has been a given. Whether in high school at Grant Community High School, in college at the University of Illinois, in competition for the New York Athletic Club or as a collegiate coach at Northwestern \University and most-recently Penn State University, the Ingleside native has always been a winner. He is the only four-time medalist in the IHSA Class AA Individual Finals at his school. He won the 103 Class AA title as a sophomore in 2004 when he beat Danville's Marcus Carpenter in the finals and the 125 title as a senior in 2006 when he defeated Plainfield Central's Ryan Prater for the championship. He was runner-up at 103 in 2003 to Naperville North's Nick Fanthorpe and placed third at 119 in 2005. He finished his high school career with a 187-3 record while competing for coach Ryan Geist, who was a 2014 IWCOA Hall of Fame inductee. He got to compete in Grant's first two appearances in the IHSA Dual Team Finals on a team that lost in the quarterfinals in 2004 and one that placed third in Class AA in 2006, in the only time the school won a trophy. His teams went 93-11 in dual meets and won four regional titles and four conference titles. He went 124-25 during his career at the University of Illinois from 2006-2011, competing for IWCOA Hall of Fame coaches Mark Johnson and Jim Heffernan. He still ranks in the top 10 in Illini history for career wins (fourth, 124), career win percentage (seventh, .832) and single-season wins (tied ninth, 36). He qualified for the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships four times and was an All-American in 2008 (fourth, 133) and 2009 (fifth, 133) and in 2011 (seventh, 141). While competing after college for the New York Athletic Club, he placed second at the World Team Trials in 2017 and was a U.S. World Team member in 2014 and in 2016 he was a U.S. Open champion. He also won the Paris International in 2017 and the Yasar Dogu in 2014. From 2018-2021, he served as an assistant coach to Matt Storniolo at Northwestern University. And then in 2021, he joined coach Cael Sanderson's staff at Penn State University, which had won eight NCAA titles from 2011-2019 and he was a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons. In 2023, he became a full-time assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, who won their third-straight national championship with 10 qualifiers, eight All-Americans and four National Champions. Over the past three seasons, he was an assistant coach on a staff that has produced 28 qualifiers, 22 All-American and 11 National Champions.