The Penn State Wrestling tradition stands for pride, camaraderie and a commitment to excellence. Those who take part in the program are instilled with values and a sense of brotherhood which remain with them throughout the rest of their lives. Penn State Wrestlers, ranging from those who graduated in the early 1960s to those who have graduated in the last couple years, were asked: "What does Penn State Wrestling mean to you?" Their responses:

Sanshiro Abe
"Penn State Wrestling means family to me. I have made lifelong friendships and found life time mentors that helped me build my character. Penn State will always be a second home to me."

Aaron Anspach
"Wrestling at Penn State and being a part of this history rich program is a huge honor. I have developed so many great relationships, wonderful memories and friendships that will always be with me for the rest of my life. I look back on my career and realize how lucky I am to have had this experience. The person I am today is because of the life lessons I learned while competing for Penn State. I have made some of the best friendships because all of us relied on each other to make it through. These friendships have become so strong that there is a group of about 12 of us who now all take a long weekend trip together. I am including a picture of our most recent trip this summer and I invite any Penn State Wrestling alum along for future adventures."

Dave Becker
"Wrestling experiences helped mold me into who I am today, and the success I have had since Penn State is closely tied to the lessons I learned from those great people I associated with for those 4 years at Penn State!!!!!!! Lessons learned: 1)when I think of intensity and demanding 100% of myself I think of (head coach) coach Koll, 2)when I think of battling against impossible odds but never giving up I think of (assistant coach) Andy Matter, 3)when I think about being hungry now because I am late to lunch, I think of the days when I worked out twice per day with little water and how many Thursday nights (before a match) I ran a 3rd time so my weight was down, 4)when I think of pride I think of never NOT making weight for 4 straight yrs and wrestling every match from freshman year thru senior year and 5)when I think of pride, I think of my teammates I went to battle with such as Rich Puleo, Bill Vollrath, Joe Bastardi, Jerry Villeco, John Fritz and Terry Shultz who remain TODAY my closest friends!"

Brad Benson
"Penn State Wrestling had a lot to do with character building for me. It was an honor to wrestle for Penn State."

Chris Bevilacqua
"For me Penn State Wrestling meant going from a 'boy to a man'. It was the hardest thing mentally and physically I have ever done in my life and Iím grateful for it. There were no shortcuts to becoming a successful Penn State Wrestler and what a great life metaphor. There will never be anything in my life that will be any more difficult, so I just keep grinding with the confidence to handle whatever life has in store."

Mike Bevilacqua
"Many times over the years, when I was under the gun to get something done, I think back to our 6:30 AM practices in Rec Hall. We would have to get up at 5:30 AM and trudge through freezing weather so we could practice on cold, rock hard mats. And I would tell myself 'Everybody else is sleeping comfortably in their beds while we are working out. And if I can do thisÖI can do anything.'"

Tony Bobulinski
"Penn State Wrestling means winning to me. Winning on the mat, winning in the classroom and winning in life!"

Geoff Brodhead
"Although I am not a person who makes any single sport or passion the sole or central focus of my life and I took in a great variety of experiences during my 4 years at Penn State, being a member and 4 year letterman on the wrestling team gave and still gives me a special sense of identity and has created a lifelong bond with other wrestlers and student athletes from Penn State. My own experience gives me a true appreciation for the efforts and thrill of competition felt by all Penn State athletes past and present when they wear the blue and white . I am indeed proud to tell people I wrestled for Penn State and proud to cheer for Penn State athletes in any sport because of the bond I feel with them."

Eric Brugel
"What Penn State Wrestling means to me is 'the pursuit of excellence'. The pursuit of excellence is having the strength of character and will, to prepare to win every day in every way. It means that every athlete takes personal responsibility for his own actions on and off the mat. This is more than pursuing victory for yourself, but is about pursuing victory for your team, your coaches, your family and the rest of the Penn State community. This attitude carries over into all parts of life after young men leave Penn State, and is why so many former Penn State Wrestlers have found success in coaching, business, medicine, law and other professions. Penn State Wrestling means a lot to me on many levels, but the pursuit of excellence is a defining characteristic."

Ken Chertow
"Wrestling and coaching at Penn State have created memories of a lifetime for me. Competing in a packed house in Rec Hall for dual meets was exciting. All of our home duals were fun and there was always such a great energy coming from the large Penn State cheering section at Conference and NCAA Championships. I have been conducting large camps for over 20 years now and I consistently share memories of my Penn State Wrestling experiences with our campers across the country. I strive to motivate my students to excel in school, wrestling and all aspects of life. To me, Penn State Wrestling means striving to excel and making a commitment to excellence."

Phil Davis
"Penn State Wrestling means a great tradition of wrestling, brotherhood and camaraderie."

Carl DeStefanis
"Penn State Wrestling has and always will represent a great source of pride to me. I am proud to say I wrestled for Penn State due to the Universityís tradition of success and the quality people associated with the program. My memories from the time competing at Penn State are simply amazing and the friendships that I established I will cherish the rest of my life."

Tim Flynn
"Penn State means family to me. The coaching staff served as my parents for 5 years. They cared about me off the mat as well as on it. They truly helped shape my life. Many great friendships were made while at PSU. I had the very best possible experience you could have at college because of the people there. Penn State also means excellence to me. Not just in your wrestling, but in your life. Your preparation, training, schoolwork etc. The staff there prepared us for life. I try every day to do for my athletes what Coach Lorenzo, Fritzy and Hachiro did for me."

Clyde Frantz
"It enabled me to get a college education which led to my career. I learned a lot about life while I was at Penn State. I always liked and greatly respected Coach Koll."

John Fritz
"No words can describe what being a part of the Penn State Wrestling family means to me but Iíll make an attempt to explain. When I think of Penn State Wrestling the first words that come to my mind are: Respect, Pride, Family and Integrity. When I think of those four words I think of the many teammates, wrestlers, coaches and fans that have made Penn State Wrestling what it is. I think of my coach, Bill Koll and all the great stories we share and I now think of Cael Sanderson and the present staff continuing to write the future for Penn State wrestling. Many of my closest friends, too numerous to mention, are or were an integral part of Penn State Wrestling. Many of us continue to stay in contact and itís comforting to know we all feel a special Penn State Pride for what we were able to be a part of and as we look to the future of Penn State Wrestling we have those same feelings for the future. Itís a special feeling that comes from the heart that you just canít explain."

Charlie Getty
"I was getting ready to wrestle a match the first year I was the PSU heavyweight which was my junior year in college. Rich Lorenzo was the assistant coach to Bill Koll at the time. I was nervous. No, I was scared! Rich came up to me and started helping me warm-up. After a few moments, he stopped, looked me in the eye and asked, 'Why are you doing this? You play football! Why bother with wrestling?' I was caught a little off guard so I just babbled, 'Because I love this sport!' Rich smiled and said, 'Then act like it!' I have carried that lesson with me for the last 35 years! I have tried to teach it to each wrestler I have coached in the twenty years I coached high school wrestling. I have tried to instill it in every football player I coached. Really, though, it is what makes Rich Lorenzo the man and the coach he is! For those few seconds, I owe him a great deal! Thanks, Rich! If I did half for my wrestlers what you did for me, I would consider myself a huge success!"

Tim Haas
"Penn State Wrestling means a lot of things to me but one particular thing that comes to mind is family. When I decided to come to Penn State I didn't really know what to expect. I was nervous and scared, but as soon as I arrived on campus and met my teammates, those things went away. My teammates soon became my second family. Whether it was a match night, regular practice, early morning workouts, class or even something as simple as eating dinner together at the dining hall, my teammates were always there for me through thick and thin. The friendships and memories I made while wrestling for Penn State will never be forgotten."

John Hanrahan
"Iím proud to be forever associated with such a respected institution as Penn State, to be linked to a program with an uncompromising reputation for success in both academics and sports. As a young athlete at Penn State I learned that hard work will be rewarded, that losses are great opportunities to learn from and that the greatest gifts are gained from conquering the adversity with which you are confronted. Iím thankful to be part of the amazing family/lineage that we are."

Dave Hart
"For me, Penn State Wrestling is beyond 'meaning something to me,' it is part of my identity."

Mark Janus
"To me, Penn State Wrestling signifies brotherhood. Any one of us can recount stories illustrating our epic wins or tragic losses, but I believe what truly carries on are the bonds we formed as teammates. What means the most are the relationships we built and the experiences we shared alongside one another while forging ourselves in the room, traveling the country in 15-passenger vans, and continuing the tradition in Rec Hall. I feel enormous pride to be a part of the Penn State Wrestling program and its brotherhood."

Jan Johnson
"Camaraderie is what Penn State Wrestling means most to me. The people that I have come in contact with through the university and the wrestling program have been a tremendous part of my life. The class at which the coaching staff and the university held itself helped to create an atmosphere of honor, trust and commitment to the University and each other, which has carried over throughout the almost 30 years since we have been there. I cherish the lifelong friends (coaches and athletes) who bonded together while at PSU. To this day, we continue to lean on and support each other as we meander our way through the worldÖand none of it would be possible if it hadnít been for Penn State Wrestling. I would not be the person I am today without these true friends, the coaching staff or this great University."

Dave Joyner
"Penn State Wrestling was a great foundation for me. It developed my character and my work ethic. It taught me about focus and the value of extremely hard work and how that equates to success. Penn State Wrestling was central in my development. It also taught me the value of losing which is to build your character. Certainly you don't want to lose but you always learn more from losing than from winning. In wrestling and life I've learned much more from my failures than my successes. The most important thing has been the development of lifelong friendships with people such as Ira Lubert, Rich Lorenzo, Andy Matter, Tom Hartzfeld, John Fritz and many others. They have been very instrumental in my life at Penn State, and since Penn State, and for that I will be forever grateful."

Ted Kinder
"To me Penn State Wrestling has meant a lifetime of inseparable friendships as well business partnerships. Wrestling is a very physically demanding sport and the wrestling mat has a way of forging a common bond that most sports cannot match, almost a 'brotherhood', if you will. Penn State Wrestling gave me the opportunity to associate with a superior group of human beings and I still enjoy their company all these years later."

John Lange
"I donít know if I can really sum up what Penn State Wrestling means to me. Proud is what comes to mind. Proud of what Penn State Wrestling has accomplished. Proud of what Penn State Wrestling gave me the opportunity to experience. Proud that when I tell people that I wrestled at Penn State they have that look in their eye like 'Wow, you are lucky.'Ē

Rich Lorenzo
"Itís been my life. Itís been great to me. I live and breathe it. The lifelong friendships that I've developed through the program are so important to me. And I just love the lessons that the sport can teach you if itís presented in the right way as it is here. It teaches you about commitment, sacrifice, focus and hard work and how to deal with disappointments and how to come back after them and be stronger because of them."

Ira Lubert
"Through Penn State Wrestling I feel I developed traits that served me well throughout the rest of my life. I also created close friendships that have been the basis of much enjoyment for me. I stay involved with the program to allow future Penn State Wrestlers to have similar positive experiences."

Scott Lynch
"At the end of the NCAA tournament my senior season I was asked by a reporter how I thought our program compared to the premiere programs in the country. I responded that I thought our program was better. This was because we cared about preparing young men to be productive members of society and not just wrestlers. This is still true today. That is why I am proud to be associated with Penn State Wrestling. Without it I would not be where I am today."

John Manotti
"Penn State Wrestling means to me a very special and unique time in my life. Aside from the physical demands it placed on us, the most important aspect of that experience has been the relationships I discovered at that time and developed over my lifetime. I am most proud of my former teammatesí many accomplishments in what they have achieved in their lives, both personally and professionally. I was very fortunate to have had Penn State Wrestling in my life."

Jim Martin
"Penn State Wrestling was a HUGE part of my life for 5 years and will always be a part of me...every day. The person I am today is to a large part a result of the lessons I learned on the wrestling mat. I came to Penn State as a young boy without any idea of what I might be able to do in college. The coaching staff must have seen something in me and convinced me I was able to achieve far beyond what I could have imagined. With their help and guidance, I achieved far more than I thought possible. But more importantly, the lessons I learned have served me well in EVERYTHING I do. I learned that being a champion is not just something to do on the wrestling mat, but being a champion is a way of life. I feel so blessed to have had this experience and am forever indebted to my coaches."

Keith Maurer
"I believe I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for Penn State Wrestling. Coaches Lorenzo, Fritz and Oishi each taught me a lot about dedication, desire and determination. I am proud to have been part of Penn State Wrestling."

Kerry McCoy
"The best way I can describe what Penn State Wrestling means to me is summed up in their new slogan/motto 'Success with Honor'. There are so many people associated with the program that did it the 'right way', without cutting corners, without bringing shame to such a great institution. No, Penn State wrestlers are not perfect, but the pursuit of perfection without compromising morals and standards of excellence is why I chose to attend PSU and why I am proud to be an Alum."

Andy Matter
"Once I stepped on campus, Penn State Wrestling became a big part of my life. I made such good friends who were teammates, coaches, parents, alumni and just friends of the program and I still feel as if I am part of a large family that truly cares about supporting each other in almost all aspects of our lives."

Josh Moore
"When I think about Penn State Wrestling, the one word that comes to mind is 'Opportunity'. Wrestling at Penn State gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only represent a great University and a premier wrestling program, but also an opportunity to represent myself while developing as an individual on and off the mat. My experiences as a member of the Penn State Wrestling team will provide me with a ton of memories, lessons, and friendships that will last a lifetime (and I'm hoping my pin records will last a while too!). I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to wrestle at Penn State and I will always be a proud Penn State Alumni."

Irv Pankey
ď'We Are Penn State!' I think just the sound of that phrase acknowledges Pride, Respect, Hard Work and the Commitment to Excellence. That is what Penn State Wrestling means to me."

Ron Pifer
"I owe Bellefonte and Penn State Wrestling everything. Sam Markle, my brother in law and Penn State Wrestler, was my idol and I wanted to be like him. Penn State was the only place I wanted to wrestle."

Skip Pighetti
"Penn State Wrestling means an extended family that has a bond that is always there no matter how long it has been since you may have seen a teammate, fan or coach. It is always great getting together with these people and sharing memories that will last forever. I am truly amazed at the connections I was able to make with so many people and still have today. I am always proud to say that I was a Penn State Wrestler."

Glenn Pritzlaff
"Penn State Wrestling is a family of coaches, teammates, and fans all steeped in the tradition of greatness. It is a legacy of excellence, commitment, and toughness handed down for generations and being carried on today. On a personal level, it has forged a bond with teammates and coaches that will never be replaced. My best friends on this planet are former Penn State Wrestlers and the lessons learned from my coaches continue to guide me in everything I do. Being a part of this family has been one of the greatest experiences in my life and I hope the program continues to elicit that pride in everyone who is involved."

Brian Romesburg
"To me being part of Penn State Wrestling was about working your butt off every day while at school. It was not something you did part time; it was your college life. You did it not only to make yourself better, but to help everyone in the room get better every day. Penn State Wrestling was about taking pride and working hard in everything you do. Once you graduate and look back, you think about how Penn State Wrestling affected you and shaped your life. The respect you have for your teammates will last forever. Penn State Wrestling is a family. Each wrestler has different experiences while on the team, but everyone is a better person for it. All the memories come through every time you say, 'I was a Penn State Wrestler.'"

Mike Seckler
"First, let me say there isnít a day that goes by that I donít think about Penn State Wrestling. Such a significant experience is difficult for me to break down because it has influenced my family, social, professional and even my community life. If I had to point out one meaning, it would be the importance of preparation. I know that Iím at my best when Iím prepared and Penn State Wrestling taught me this lesson. Today I still have long periods of preparation followed by relatively brief presentations a.k.a. my 'matches'. I enjoy this and live Penn State Wrestling every day! Thanks for making me reflect on a very special time and great group of people."

Barry Snyder
"Family. The main reason I chose Penn State was the way I was treated like family starting with my recruiting trips to University Park. And that family atmosphere still prevails today when I run into former Nittany Lions at NCAA's. There was always a sense of family around the team."

Ashley Swift
"It means I am part of something very special; that I was able to be a part of something only a select few can lay claim to. Saying I wrestled for Penn State carries a legacy of tradition and excellence which still inspires me every day."

Tom Teagarden
"Penn State Wrestling had a big impact on my life and career. The coaching staff that I had, especially Coach Lorenzo, taught me great lessons to fight the game of life. They were not only great coaches but great role models. In teaching/coaching, you need to be a coach, teacher, father figure, and a good friend which my Penn State coaches were. I owe a lot to the great Penn State tradition."

Ross Thatcher
"Right now in my life it means competition (as an assistant coach for Oklahoma). Aside from competition Penn State means a great deal to me. Penn State let me earn a college degree and a chance to coach at the Div. 1 level. I have a career right now because of Penn State. Penn State is a great community surrounded by great people. When I think of Penn State, I think of my friends and I think of the great people who are Penn State to meÖ Sandy Meyer, Dave Hart, John Fritz and many other people."

Glenn Thiel
"I wrestled from 1963-66. At that time we had freshman squads and I wrestled 137 under Dave Adams, then moved to the varsity as a sophomore. I wrestled 137 for Charlie Speidel in 1964 (Doc's last session of coaching), and for Bill Koll in his initial two seasons of 1965 and 1966. Since I was a local wrestler under Homer Barr at State College High School and learned all of my wrestling from Penn Staters (Homer, Dave Adams, and Charlie) it was a great thrill to put on the Penn State warm ups and wrestle in Rec Hall as a sophomore in 1964. I was able to go on and be successful in lacrosse, but as an individual athlete my greatest thrill was to run out on the mat and wrestle for Penn State."

Greg Troxell
"I came to Penn State initially to play football. Having wrestled in high school and with a tremendous passion for the sport, I attempted to do both sports during my second year at Penn State. From the time I entered the room, I immediately recognized the commitment and work ethic that had become a tradition of the program. From Coach Lorenzo, Coach Fritz and Coach Oishi to Athletic Director Curly and Trainer Dan Monthley, we were surrounded and supported by tremendous gentlemen who cared about you as a student-athlete. This atmosphere created a winning environment and a team that worked together to capture the Team Dual National Championship in 1993.
As I now try and lead a building of 1600 students and 175 staff members as a high school principal, I often reflect on my years at Penn State University. These reflections help me shape the way I treat people, the temperament in which I handle situations and the belief that my growth and development as a person took full shape in a padded room where there was nowhere to hide. I feel proud to see Coach Sanderson leading Penn State. I know the attributes that he brought from the great State of Iowa resonate with those who came before him. He is following in the footsteps of great coaches and mentors who created great husbands, brothers, sons and outstanding contributors to our society . . . that is a priceless gift!"

Doc Vecchio
"It means honor. What an honor it was to be a part of the best wrestling program in the country. It was an honor to be coached by the finest coaches around and to wrestle in front of thousands of loyal Penn State fans (especially Uncle Ed). It was an honor to meet every teammate who walked in and out of the wrestling room because of their hard work, determination and their 'never give up' attitude. Being a part of the Penn State Wrestling team means I will have unforgettable memories that will last forever."

Jerry Villecco
Penn State Wrestling means many things to me. My coaches Bill Koll, Rich Lorenzo, and Andy Matter reinforced my up-bringing of doing what is right in life, working hard, and treating your teammates, friends, and family the way you would want to be treated. You knew as a Penn State Wrestler that your achievement in life and wrestling was directly related to the effort you put into it. The Penn State Wrestling atmosphere (your teammates and coaches) gave you a confidence in life that we Penn State Wrestlers carry forever. I could go on forever about how rewarding it was being a Penn State Wrestler.

Dana Weber
"It is difficult to put into words what Penn State Wrestling means to me; whether we talk about Penn State Wrestlingís STRONG TRADITION and being a part of a historic program as my father did before me, the PRIDE that you feel as you walk out onto the mat wearing PSU on your singlet, or the WORK ETHIC that helps to shape and form each and every one of us to strive to be the best person we can. But most of all, I think Penn State Wrestling means Ė FRIENDSHIP! I donít think there is a tighter bond between friends than ones that have sweated, bled, scrapped and fought tooth and nail together. The friendships that were formed from my time at Penn State, whether from a teammate, coach, fan or club member, are priceless and I will cherish them always."

Dave Weber
"Penn State Wrestling gave me direction. At a time when I was making important life decisions, I was lucky to have wonderful mentors in Coach Koll, Coach Lorenzo, and even caring athletic trainers, who guided me along the way. That guidance assisted me in becoming a successful teacher and coach. Coming from State College High School, my Penn State experience actually began during my senior year. In 1966, the Penn State Wrestling room was left unlocked and, therefore, many times I would use the facility to workout. On one particular day when I was popping stand-ups, a small older man in his 80ís wandered in. He was dressed in gray sweats and asked me to 'roll around.' After a brief workout, he said he had been following my career and wanted to know if I had selected a college yet. He then asked, 'Do you want to be a big fish in a little pond or a big fish in a big pond?' Later I found out my workout partner was Charlie Speidel, the PSU coaching legend! In that brief encounter, I learned to set my sights even higher. Iím proud to be a Penn State Wrestling alum and Iím proud that my son, Dana, had the same opportunity in 1997."

Jerry White
"The biggest thing about Penn State Wrestling is the lifelong friends you make during your time at Penn State. When you later think back on your time there, you really miss those years. But the bonds you make at Penn State are so strong they will last forever."












Copyright © 2010