IOWA CITY, Iowa — Three-time Olympic medalist Tonya Verbeek will join the University of Iowa women’s wrestling program as an assistant coach, head coach Clarissa Chun announced Friday.
“I’m super excited to bring Tonya to our program,” Chun said. “She brings diversity and fresh ideas from the Canadian system. He is someone who has had success as an athlete and has worked with the men’s and women’s national teams as a coach. I know she’s not afraid to dig deep and work hard. I love his spirit and his passion for the sport of wrestling.
She knows what Iowa is all about, she’s been here and brought her teams to train here in the past. She knows the support, the energy and the atmosphere and is thrilled to be a Hawkeye.
From 2021-22, Verbeek served as the Senior Sport Manager for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Since then, she is on her second stint as an assistant women’s wrestling coach at Brock University. Verbeek also held the same position at Brock University from 2006 to 2013.
“I am full of gratitude and excitement to join the Hawkeye program,” said Veerbeek. “Being part of an institution that drives and supports a winning culture and a community that loves wrestling is an opportunity I will seize.
Thanks to Clarissa, who pursued her vision of bringing together a diverse coaching staff and, in such a short time, a vibrant group of athletes with more to come. I am grateful to my home club in Canada, Brock Wrestling Club, for encouraging me to follow this next journey in my coaching career and for their endless support.
“The student-athlete experience is an epic time for these young Hawkeyes, I look forward to helping improve their experience in Iowa and impacting athletes who aspire to become champions in our sport. .”
Verbeek has nearly two decades of experience competing and coaching for the Canadian National Team.
Verbeek was head coach of the men’s and women’s national teams from 2019-21. She was an international coach from 2017-2019 and was a talent identification coach from 2013-2017. She received the Petro Canada Award of Excellence at the coaches in 2019.
As a competitor, Verbeek competed in three Olympics at 55kg and finished on the podium in all three. In 2004, she became the first woman to win a wrestling medal for Canada, winning silver in Athens. In 2008 she left Beijing with a bronze medal and in London 2012 she won her second silver medal.
She won bronze at the 2005 and 2009 World Wrestling Championships and silver in 2011. She finished second in 2003 and 2011 at the Pan American Games and third in 2007. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games she finished second in 59 kg.
Verbeek was named Ontario Athlete of the Year in 2005 and inducted into the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
Verbeek holds degrees in Recreation and Leisure Studies and Education from Brock University. She received her Masters in Education from Brock University in 2006.