CLEVELAND, OH — Pitt-Johnstown Head Wrestling Coach Pat Pecora, in his 43rd season at the helm of the Mountain Cat program, was named the 2018-19 NCAA Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Wrestling Coach of the Year at Thursday’s Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame Banquet in Cleveland.

Along with Pecora’s award, former Pitt-Johnstown national champions Lee Schickel, Shad Benton, and Shane Valko were inducted into the Division II National Wrestling Hall of Fame at the banquet on the eve of 2019 National Wrestling Championships.

This award is presented to the coach that has demonstrated outstanding effort throughout the season in developing and elevating their program on campus and in the community. The Regional and National Coach of the Year awards are presented by Defense Soap, the official Hygiene partner of the NWCA.

Defense Soap Owner, Guy Sako stated, “In continuing our mission, Defense Soap is proud to partner with the NWCA, to keep wrestlers on the mat with our products and education in hygiene.”

“We are pleased to recognize this year’s National Coach of the Year recipient, Pat Pecora, and want to thank him for providing a quality experience for his student-athletes and for being an outstanding role model to our sport,” NWCA Executive Director, Mike Moyer.

Pecora, who also earned the honor in 1995 and 1999, led his Mountain Cats to a 16-3 dual meet record, the program’s 22nd NCAA Regional title, and a share of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Dual Meet Championship to mark the four straight conference championship. Seven of his Mountain Cats qualified for this weekend National Championships.

Pecora, who also doubles as Pitt-Johnstown’s Athletic Director since July 2008, took over the Mountain Cat wrestling program in 1976.

His 597 career victories are the most ever for an NCAA Division II coach and rank second all-time among coaches in all divisions.

Recommended for you


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.