The North Marion School District announced the hire of its new athletic director last month, former David Douglas High School administrator and wrestling coach Ron Holyoak.
Holyoak joins the school district in a dual role as vice principal of the high school and athletic director, where he will officially begin his duties on Aug. 1.
The former dean of students and attendance coordinator at David Douglas High School for the previous four years, Holyoak has made a name for himself as one of the top wrestling coaches in the state, turning a down-and-out program at the biggest high school in the state into a 6A power.
"We're extremely lucky to have him," North Marion head wrestling coach Jared Wilson said. Wilson and Holyoak have a shared history due to their wrestling backgrounds, and the Huskies' coach is looking forward to see Holyoak join the North Marion community next month.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," Wilson said. "I don't have the words. It's awesome."
Holyoak joined the David Douglas staff as a health and PE teacher in 2008, and took over the Scots wrestling team when the program had just 20 wrestlers — unheard of in a 6A school with a student body north of 3,000 kids. David Douglas had not won a state title since 1966 and had never produced an individual champion since 1976.
After six years at the helm, Holyoak had ballooned the program to more than 100 wrestlers, turning the Scots into one of the best and deepest wrestling organizations in the state. David Douglas produced its first individual champion in 2012, where the team finished runner up in the final state standings.
The next season, the Scots went on to go undefeated in 28 dual meets the next season, culminating in the 2013 6A State Championship at the end of the season. David Douglas added second-place finishes in 2015 and 2016 as well.
"He definitely has that knowledge, ability and understanding," Wilson said. "He's built two different state champion programs and he's done it the right way. He's done it by caring about kids and integrity is always first."
Prior to time at David Douglas, Holyoak coached the Shelley High School wrestling program in Idaho to a state title in 2007. His wrestling background goes back even further as an NJCAA All-American at Clackamas Community College in 1998 and a Pac-10 placer in 1999 as a member of the Portland State wrestling team.
But after building up the David Douglas program to a state power, Holyoak said he's ready to move onto a new challenge. Although he's known for his background on the mat, Holyoak said didn't want to be known simply for his wrestling ties, but that he'd be available for all the programs at North Marion.
"I want to create champions at life at North Marion," Holyoak said.
Holyoak graduated from Grace High School in Idaho, where he was a three-sport athlete.
He earned his master's in education administration from Concordia University, and a bachelor's degree in health and fitness from Portland State University.
"He's going to be great for all of our programs, not just wrestling," Wilson said. "He has passion for all athletics. "If you're building people of integrity, then you're building champions on the wrestling mats, courts, fields."