Two years ago, Marian Central wrestling finished 10-10 and sixth out of eight teams at the East Suburban Catholic Conference tournament.
Marian had never won a regional title or — in the words of senior Anthony Randazzo — “come near sniffing” team dual state.
David Silva took over in June 2016 and led the Hurricanes to a 17-8 season in 2016-17, and then a historic 27-3 performance in 2017-18 that included the school’s first individual state champion in 31 years and its first trip to team dual state.
For those accomplishments, Silva was voted the 2018 Northwest Herald Wrestling Coach of the Year, as selected by the Northwest Herald sports staff.
Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman also received strong consideration after leading the Red Raiders to a fourth-place finish at the Class 3A dual finals.
Silva previously won the Northwest Herald Wrestler of the Year in 2002 as a senior at Dundee-Crown. He recently spoke to the Northwest Herald about his favorite moments from the season, Mixed Martial Arts and his extensive shoe collection.
Did you have a favorite moment from this year?
Silva: I probably have two. It’s hard, they both are really special. One was winning the team title in the regional when not many people believed that we could. Also when Dylan (Connell) won the individual state title. That was very special.
Which kid on the team made you laugh the most?
Silva: It had to be (freshman) Kaden Randazzo. He’s one of those kids that you never know what he’s going to do next. Everyone else is pretty predictable, wrestled traditional. Whereas he is kind of crazy.
What have you learned about coaching over the last two years at Marian?
Silva: I’ve matured a lot. I used to get really upset when losses would happen. Sometimes I’d react, get mad. I’ve matured as a coach and I’ve learned to hold your emotions in sometimes and really think about your actions and what you do, what you say.
You were the Northwest Herald Wrestler of the Year in 2002. Did you know back then that you wanted to be a coach?
Silva: It’s crazy. Senior year we used to have a school newspaper and they wrote on there: What do you want to be in 10 or 15 years? I put on there that I would be either a businessman or a coach and I just happen to be both. I always knew that I wanted to be a coach.
Who are your coaching influences?
Silva: My brother (Marian assistant coach) Gus (Silva) is probably my biggest inspiration. We were in the sport together. He was 19 when he started me in wrestling. We grew up kind of like a father-son relationship, learning the sport. He learned just as I learned. We learned together.
My high school coach Al Zinke, he left a big impression on me. I probably have to say Steven Marianetti at Elmhurst College, who was my college coach. It was a different relationship that I had with him. He was probably the first coach that I was friends with.
What has changed about high school wrestling since your days in the early 2000s?
Silva: The sport’s evolved so much from when I wrestled. Back then you just trained with your team and that was it. You only trained with guys in your room. There wasn’t training at all these different areas, training centers, and opportunities to wrestle year-round. That really wasn’t a thing back then. Now it’s year-round and the guys who are year-round are the guys standing on top of the podium. Technique has evolved. It’s great, I love how the sport has evolved. I feel like it’s much better now than it was back then.
Tell us about your brief MMA career?
Silva: I fought and competed. I mostly started doing it as something to do (in 2007). I was done with college wrestling, I still wanted to do something. I decided to be training partners for some of my friends who were fighting. It was fun and I liked it.
That work-life balance, along with trying to compete in a professional sport was difficult. I made my decision to be more of a family man. The passion for wrestling was always there, so that’s what I stuck with. Being a coach, I still wrestle the guys and have fun with that.
What’s your biggest pet peeve as a coach?
Silva: Guys who are just trying to make it through practice, that’s my biggest pet peeve. I’ve always been the opposite. I’ve always come to practice with a purpose to get better. You’ve got to show up every day with a purpose and that purpose has got to be to get better every day.
Do you have any hobbies outside wrestling?
Silva: I love cars, you always see me working on cars or finding cars out of state. I attend car shows, travel to purchase vehicles all over the country.
My other hobbies would be spending time with my family, vacationing. And I have an extensive shoe collection.
How many shoes?
Silva: Oh, probably 70 pairs.