The Naperville Central wrestling team is home to two Porters, one as a athlete and one as a coach. Learn more about their family ties in this feature presented by Edward Medical Group.
“He’s always supported me, he’s always been a great coach to me, just that added pressure, keeps me going keeps me getting up in the morning, I really love having him as a coach.”
Naperville Central sophomore Tommy Porter is talking about the assistant wrestling coach, Rob Porter… who is also Tommy’s dad.
Rob Porter: It’s a special father son relationship when you’re both involved in wrestling.
These two redhawks share that special relationship on the mats at Naperville Central. Rob used to be the head coach at the high school but now coach’s alongside Noah Fitzenreider. Before his coaching career, Rob won two state titles in high school, which Tommy uses as motivation as he takes the mat each meet.
Tommy Porter: It’s tough to live to that legacy (dad won two state titles in high school) but it’s great having that support behind me, knowing people believe in me and they will always have my back through my whole life so it’s great.
Tommy has more than just his dad’s legacy to look up to, Rob’s dad, Tommy’s Grandpa is also well known in the wrestling world, as a past head coach of the University of Illinois wrestling team which had 9 national qualifiers in his 5 years there.
Rob Porter: “I think it’s great. Ya know my dad has been a big influence on our family, he’s been a big influence in general for decades and to have him as a mentor and having my success and now having Tommy carry on the tradition, it’s a pretty special tradition.”
As Rob helps coach Tommy and the rest of the redhawks through the season, he hopes that his son and peers take away more than just wins and losses at the end of the day.
Rob Porter: “For me the sport of wrestling is really about overcoming adversity and I think that’s a big part of growing up and learning how to be a man is to take adversity straight on the challenge of it. Wrestling’s that kind of way. If you have a challenge in front of you, everybody’s watching you and you don’t have any excuses so what I’m hopeful for is Tommy and the rest of the boys carry on those lessons their full life.”
And while Tommy is definitely learning to face those challenges head on, he is also using his family ties to live up to the impressions his dad left in the record book.
Tommy Porter: “I want to be a state champion for sure. That’s my goal, live up to my dad’s legacy and beyond.”
And the sophomore has plenty of time to reach those goals, with his dad helping coach him along the way.
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