Coach/Contributor/Wrestler ⋅ Class of 1993
Dekalb High School
Dan wrestled for Hall of Famer Wayne Miller at DeKalb High School where he was twice champion of the Upstate Eight Conference and Twice State Champion. His collegiate days were spent at Northern Illinois where he wrestled for Hall of Famer Don Flavin.
His individual wrestling efforts were: US Junior Greco Roman Champion and 2nd in Free Style, Champion of Oklahoma Nationals, Champion in USA Greco Roman, 3 times and once runner-up Champion in USA Free Style.
He began his coaching career at DeKalb high School in 1981 as an assistant, and in 1983 he became the Head Coach. His record through 1992 included 45 State Qualifiers with 9 place winners, three of them Champions. His teams have won 10 Conference Championships, 10 Regionals, and six times his teams have been down state, finishing third and second.
Dan who teaches Mathematics, was voted Teacher of the Year in DeKalb County in 1990.
Dan was President of the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association in 1990 and in 1991.
2004 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
Dan Cliff is a product of the tradition rich DeKalb Wrestling program. A two-time State Champion, he had a career record of 79-7-2 for three years. Dan was a First Team High School All-American. His senior year he won the National Junior Freestyle and Junior National Greco-Roman National Championships.
After graduation in 1972 he went on to Northern Illinois University. While at NIU, Dan won the 1974 National Open Freestyle Championship and the 1977 National Open Greco-Roman championships once.
Dan returned to DeKalb High school in 1982 to become an assistant wrestling coach and in 1983 took over as Head Coach. During his thirteen-year tenure his team’s compiled a 233-48-2 dual meet record. DeKalb’s team accomplishments were:
* Seven Upstate 8 Conference Titles
* Eleven IHSA Regional Championships
* Seven IHSA Sectional Titles
* 3rd Place Dual Team in 1988
* 2nd Place Dual Team in 1989
Dan coached fifty-five state qualifiers, twelve place winners and three State Champions.
In 1993 Dan was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame and served as Grand Marshal for the 2000 IHSA Individual State Championships. He was nominated as Coach of the Year by the IWCOA eight times. He is member of the IHSA Wrestling Advisory Board, the IWCOA Executive Board and the IWCOA Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He has served as President of the IWCOA on two separate occasions and is presently the Membership Chairman.
As a teacher at DeKalb High School, Dan was selected as Teacher of the Year in DeKalb County in 1990. In 1996, Dan assumed the position of Athletic Director and Assistant Principal at Burlington Central High School. In 2001, he was named Class A Athletic Director of the Year by the Illinois Athletic Directors Association.
Dan is also Chairman of the Thomas and Beverly Cliffe Memorial Scholarship Committee that provides a scholarship yearly to students from DeKalb High School.