College Wrestling News

Roger Reina Returns as Head Coach of Penn Wrestling

Roger Reina, Penn

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation, Dr. M. Grace Calhoun, has announced that Roger Reina C’84 WEV’05 will return to his Hall of Fame roots as head coach of the Penn wrestling program.

Reina originally led the Quakers from 1986-2005 and amassed a program-record 205 wins and a .649 winning percentage during his first tenure coaching at his alma mater, which began at the age of 24 as the youngest head coach in program history. He guided the Quakers to four EIWA championships and eight Ivy League titles during his initial run as head coach, and recruited and coached a pair of NCAA champions (Brett Matter, Matt Valenti) as well as an Olympic Gold Medalist (Brandon Slay). Reina led Penn to five NCAA Top 20 finishes in a six-year span including a Top 10 NCAA finish and two eighth-place finishes at the National Dual Meet Championships.

“We are thrilled that Roger Reina, the winningest coach in Penn wrestling history and a Hall of Famer, is returning to coach our wrestling team at this critical time for the program,” said Calhoun. “Roger has been an outstanding Penn Athletics administrator for the past two years, remaining very involved in promoting the sport as a member of the Penn Wrestling Grapplers Club Board and through his work with the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center. He brings a passion and intensity to our program that will undoubtedly inspire our student-athletes, elevate their experience, and return Penn wrestling to prominence.”

Reina has a lifelong relationship with Penn. His father, Ruben, was Chair of the Anthropology Department and curator at the Penn Museum from 1957-90, and multiple family members have earned Penn degrees. Roger first set foot on Penn’s campus as a freshman in the fall of 1979 and began a lifelong commitment to Penn Wrestling. Throughout his career as a wrestler, coach, mentor, alumnus and administrator, Reina’s focus has been on the betterment of his alma mater’s wrestling program and the growth of the sport in his hometown of Philadelphia.

“I am humbled and honored to once again have the opportunity to serve as head coach of one of the country’s most prestigious wrestling programs,” Reina said. “What started back in Weightman Gym in 1905 with the first collegiate wrestling tournament carries on today in The Palestra as our student-athletes represent Penn’s tremendous legacy in this classic sport. The friendships and experiences our community enjoys through Penn Wrestling are deep, long-standing and priceless. Looking forward, we have a timely and very exciting opportunity to aim big, achieve new heights, and carry this legacy forward for new generations of outstanding Penn student wrestlers.”

In 2017, Reina was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania chapter for his dedicated service to the sport of wrestling across all levels. He also was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 as a member of Class VI.

Reina currently serves as the President and Chairman of the Board for the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center (PRTC). Designated by USA Wrestling under the US Olympic Committee, the PRTC serves as an elite training opportunity for wrestlers at all age levels from cadet to Olympic levels. Of particular note, PRTC wrestler Richard Perry placed fifth at the 2016 Olympic Trials and was a finalist at the most recent U.S. Open. Along with Perry, PRTC athletes Chase Pami (third at US Open) and BJ Futrell will compete in the upcoming USA World Team Trials in Lincoln, Neb. June 10-11. The PRTC is led by Penn alumnus and Olympic Champion Brandon Slay W’98.

Since the end of his first tenure with the Red and Blue in 2005, Reina has remained active in the wrestling community. In addition to his work to launch the PRTC and foster its partnership with Beat the Streets Philly, Reina served as chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2011 NCAA Championships which set record attendance numbers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. He also chaired the host committee for the 2014 NWCA All-Star Classic held at The Palestra, and was involved in bringing the 2017 Maccabiah Games Trials to The Palestra this past April.

Since 2015, Reina has been a Penn Athletics administrator as Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs. In that role, he had oversight of all external-facing efforts of Penn Athletics including Athletic Communications, Marketing and New Media, Sponsorship, Business Development, and Ticketing. In addition, Reina served as Executive Director of The Penn Relays, the world’s largest track and field event held each April at Penn’s Franklin Field.

The Roger Reina File

  • Penn’s All-Time Winningest Coach (205)
  • Four-Time EIWA Team Champions (1996, 97, 98, 99)
  • Eight-Time Ivy League Champion (1994, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02)
  • Owns a Winning Record Against All Active Ivy League Head Coaches
  • Three-Time EIWA Coach of the Year (1996, 97, 99)
  • Coached Brandon Slay W’97 to 2000 Olympic Gold Medal
  • Coached Brett Matter W’00 to 2000 NCAA Championship
  • Recruited 2x NCAA Champion Matt Valenti, and coached him to NCAA All American status
  • Coached 17 NCAA All-Americans, including eight NCAA semi-finalists
  • Coached Five Ivy League Wrestlers of the Year
  • Coached Four Ivy League Rookies of the Year
  • Coached 30 EIWA Champions
  • USA Wrestling Silver Certified Coach
  • Coached national freestyle champions at every age group under USA Wrestling
  • Served as a Dave Schultz Wrestling Club coach through 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic cycles, coaching multiple Olympic Trials place winners and two finalists
  • Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling Federation Contributor of the Year (1997), serving as PAWF Coach for Cadet and Junior Freestyle and Greco Roman teams
  • Past President of the National Wrestling Coaches Association
  • 2004 NWCA Meritorious Service Award recipient
  • EIWA Hall of Famer (2009)
  • National Wrestling Hall of Famer (Pennsylvania chapter, 2017)
  • Penn Athletics Hall of Famer (Class VI, 2008)
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