When the names of the all-time great wrestlers from Providence Catholic are brought up, Donny Reynolds certainly ranks among the very best.
The 2002 Providence graduate is one of just five individuals who were four-time placewinners, one of eight who won multiple titles and one of six who were members of four state championship teams. He won 95 percent of his matches, posting a 178-10 mark, which was highlighted by a 49-0 record as a senior, which earned him All-American honors.
Coming from a family that was integrally involved in the historic success that was achieved under coach Keith Healy and already established as an outstanding coach in his own right, it made sense that Reynolds might one day return to coach the Celtics.
Last week, Celtics athletic director Doug Ternik announced that Reynolds would be taking over as head coach of the program, succeeding his coach, Healy, who stepped down after a legendary 26-year career that featured six titles and 14 state trophies.
Following his career at the University of Illinois, where he was a two-time NCAA qualifier, as well as time competing on the world stage, Reynolds briefly returned to Providence as an assistant coach. He also enjoyed great success coaching Team Illinois and was on a staff that developed numerous age-group national champs.
In 2012, he became an assistant coach at Marmion Academy under Providence graduate Ryan Cumbee and the program won state trophies in 2013 and 2014. He took over as the head coach in 2014 and posted an 83-26 record (.761) while taking all four teams to state, with the highlight being a second-place finish in 2016.
“Obviously this is an opportunity to move back home,” Reynolds said. “And it’s also good for my family, since I still live in New Lenox. So to be able to not spend more time on the road and be around my family more was obviously the main reason that I’m back. There’s tradition and history here that I’d love to continue, and so hopefully it’s going to be an exciting era for Providence wrestling.
Coming back to lead a school where he enjoyed a great career always was something Reynolds considered.
“Obviously that was something that was always on my mind,” Reynolds said. “The experience and the culture that we created at Providence I’ll try to re-create with our teams and families to try to make sure that we’re uniting. I’m excited for the challenge, and I’m going to have fun trying to mold the program back into what I think Providence wrestling should be.
“We have a bunch of different grade schools who have kids coming in, so I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page and as long as we are, then the expectations are set, and we should be able to have a fun year. Hopefully we’ll keep moving forward, and we’ll be bringing back some more state trophies in the near future.”
Reynolds is not only proud of what his family accomplished during their time at Providence, but also of the many others who competed along with him during one of the greatest runs of success in any sport in Illinois history.
“When you talk about the tradition of Providence as a whole, and with Coach Healy stepping down, it’s obviously a huge opportunity for someone to step in and keep the train on the tracks,” Reynolds said. “I’m excited, since I think that we’re going to be in a good spot next year. We want to return the program into a perennial national power and a team that’s ranked in the top 50 in the country every year. That’s the goal.
“I’m going to be around a lot of familiar faces, so it’s going to be kind of exciting to be around those people, and to now contribute to what’s going on at the school. Hopefully we can inject a little excitement and give a boost in the arm, and hopefully there will be a little bit more energy flowing throughout the school. I’m excited to bring that to the table. We have an opportunity here, so let’s have fun, and let’s go get it and try to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us.”