One of the greatest female athletes in school history, Jennifer Wildes (formerly Olson) took over as head coach of the Eagles’ women’s volleyball program in 2005. Not surprisingly, Wildes has led the Eagles’ program to the same kind of success she enjoyed as a student-athlete.

In her first year as the Eagles’ head coach in 2005, Wildes won the final championship of the now-defunct Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference (NIIC). The 2005 Eagles went 24-14 and had four players named to the All-NIIC volleyball squad and also garnered the league’s “Player of the Year” award (Jessica Tuchowski).

Since the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference was established in 2006, Wildes has coached 30 All-Conference players and led Benedictine to two regular season NACC Championships (2009 and 2012). Under Wildes, Benedictine has made the conference tournament in each year except for one and has won the tournament twice in 2006 and 2012.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in management and organizational behavior from Benedictine in 2002, Wildes was an assistant volleyball coach at Illinois Wesleyan University in 2003 and spent two years as a graduate assistant in the Office for Compliance at Illinois State University, where she earned a master’s degree in sports management in 2004.

Wildes is a native of Sterling, Ill., and graduated from Newman Central Catholic High School. She is married to former Benedictine baseball and football player D.J. Wildes. The couple have two sons, Luke and Cal and a daughter, Georgia.