IOWA CITY, Iowa – Three-time Olympic medalist Tonya Verbeek will join the University of Iowa women’s wrestling program as an assistant coach, it was announced Friday by head coach Clarissa Chun.
“I am super excited to bring Tonya to our program,” said Chun. “She brings diversity and fresh ideas, coming from the Canadian system. She is someone who has been successful as an athlete and has worked with both the men’s and women’s national teams as a coach. I know she isn’t afraid of digging deep and working hard. I love her spirit and her passion for the sport of wrestling.
She knows what Iowa is about, she has been here, and has brought her teams to train here in the past. She knows the support, the energy, and the atmosphere and is excited to be a Hawkeye.”
From 2021-22 Verbeek served at the Senior Manager of Sport for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Since then, she has been working in her second stint as women’s assistant wrestling coach at Brock University. Verbeek also served in the same role at Brock University from 2006-13.
“I am full of gratitude and excitement to join the Hawkeye program,” said Veerbeek. “To be a part of an institution who drive and support a winning culture, and a community that loves wrestling is an opportunity I will embrace.
Thank you to Clarissa, who carried her vision forward to bring together a diverse coaching staff, and in such a short time, a dynamic group of athletes with more to come. I am grateful to my home club in Canada, the Brock Wrestling Club, for encouraging me to follow this next journey in my coaching career and their endless support.”
“The student-athlete experience is an epic time for these young Hawkeyes, I look forward to helping enhance their experience at Iowa, and to make an impact with athletes who aspire to be champions in our sport.”
Verbeek has nearly two decades of experience competing for and coaching the Canadian National Team.
Verbeek served as the head men’s and women’s National Team coach from 2019-21. She was the international coach from 2017-19 and served as a Talent Identification Coach from 2013-17. She was awarded the Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award in 2019.
As a competitor, Verbeek attended three Olympics at 55 kg and finished on the podium in all three. In 2004 she became the first woman to win a wrestling medal for Canada, taking silver in Athens. In 2008 she left Beijing with a bronze medal, and in London in 2012, she earned her second silver medal.
She earned bronze at the 2005 and 2009 and silver in 2011 at the World Wrestling Championships. She finished second in 2003 and 2011 at the Pan-American Games and third in 2007. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she finished second at 59 kg.
Verbeek was named Ontario Athlete of the Year in 2005 and was enshrined in the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
Verbeek holds degrees in recreation and leisure studies and education from Brock University. She earned her masters of education from Brock University in 2006.