On April 26, the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education voted to hire Nicholas Curby, a math teacher and the wrestling coach at Plainfield East High School, to take on those positions in Riverside for the next school year.
Curby, 36, came to Plainfield East when the school opened eight years ago and built the wrestling program from scratch.
He grew up in LaGrange Highlands and is a graduate of Lyons Township High School, playing football and wrestling for longtime LTHS coach Mark King. As a senior at LTHS, Curby placed fifth in the state in the 189 pound weight class in 1998. Curby went on to wrestle at the University of Illinois.
At Plainfield East, he coached a state champion, Michael McGee, who won the 106 pound title in 2015 and finished second at 120 pounds this year. In the past three years, 10 Plainfield East wrestlers qualified for state.
Before helping to open Plainfield East, Curby taught and was an assistant wrestling coach for five years at Providence Catholic High School, a wrestling powerhouse.
Curby said that he was attracted to the RBHS position because of the school’s academic excellence.
“It’s a highly prestigious academic school,” Curby said. “Being a teacher, I want to be somewhere where academics are being pushed as well. It’s just a good fit at this point.”
Curby says that he believes the RBHS wrestling program is on the upswing.
“I’m really excited,” Curby said. “I know the area. I know the wrestling team is on the rise.”
He replaces Mike Boyd, who led the RBHS wrestling program for three years before resigning his position at the end of this past season. Boyd, who had been working as a paraprofessional at RBHS, is now student-teaching at Oak Park and River Forest High School and completing his requirements for teacher certification.
Many wrestlers and parents of RBHS wrestlers were upset that Boyd left and went to two school board meetings to implore the school board to keep him at RBHS.
Curby, who is currently on paternity leave after the birth of his first child, says he plans to meet soon with RBHS wrestlers and perhaps their parents.
“I’m aware of the situation, what happened,” Curby said. “I haven’t yet been able to talk to any of the wrestlers or the parents yet, but I do have plans in the next couple weeks to start doing that.”
Curby said he is an intense coach who will push his wrestlers to succeed.
“I’m there to push those guys as hard as I can to get them to win,” Curby said. “I’ve got a track record of having kids go through my program and be successful. I’m hoping that once they start seeing that they’re on board.”