Tomei, who spent the last five seasons wrestling at national power Pittsburgh, will serve as a coach for the heavyweights on NIU’s roster.
“I am really pleased to announce the addition of Ryan to the Northern Illinois staff,” Ludwig said. “Along with a wealth of wrestling knowledge, he brings a passion for the sport that we thrive on here at Northern. He is still competing on the international level and brings great intensity into our wrestling room.”
Tomei completed an illustrious career with the Panthers in 2011 with a record of 110-34 and 40 pins, which ranks second in Pitt wrestling history. A two-time NCAA qualifier, he also won the Eastern Wrestling League title in the heavyweight class during his junior and senior seasons, while also being named the EWL’s Most Outstanding Wrestler both seasons.
He also helped Pitt win their first-ever EWL regular season championship in 2010 and their first tournament championship in 2011. Additionally, Tomei won five regular season tournaments, while finishing fourth at the prestigious Midlands Championships as a senior. He was also a two-time Academic All-American and a four-time EWL All-Academic Team selection.
For his accomplishments at Pitt, Tomei was named the male recipient of Pittsburgh’s Blue-Gold Award, which is annually given to a senior who excels in athletics, academics and community service. Past winners of the award include Mike Ditka and Dan Marino.
“I’m excited to help this program,” Tomei said. “We want to get some of these guys to nationals and get the team into an upward spin when it comes to getting better wins as a team.”
A native of Irwin, Pa., he earned his bachelor’s degree in clinical dietetics and nutrition. In high school, he went 79-11 and was named to the all-state team twice at Penn-Trafford High School despite only wrestling for two years.