Hall of fame induction a fitting capstone for wrestling legend Rich Lorenzo

November 20, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State wrestling legend Rich Lorenzo's upcoming induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is the fitting capstone to a coaching career that has left an indelible imprint on Penn State wrestling.  Lorenzo's legacy reaches further than the confines of Happy Valley and Rec Hall as well.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced earlier this fall that the Class of 2019 will include Lorenzo. The Hall of Fame Board of Governors approved the selections at its meeting in Kansas City on Oct. 24. The induction ceremony will be held at the 43rd Annual Honors Weekend on May 31-June 1, 2019 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Lorenzo led the Nittany Lions from the 1978-79 season through the 1991-92 campaign and helped 53 Penn Staters earn All-America honors, including two-time national champion Jeff Prescott and national champions Carl DeStefanis, Scott Lynch and Jim Martin.  He led the Nittany Lions to 11 top-ten finishes at nationals, including six top-five finishes.

Under his guidance the Nittany Lions won 11 consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles and two National Duals crowns.  He was named EIWA Coach-of-the-Year six times and was the National Coach-of-the-Year twice, in 1981 and 1992. He led Penn State to 11-straight EWL conference titles from 1982 to 1992 and was a six-time EWL Coach-of-the-Year.  Lorenzo coached 44 conference champions during his time as Lion mentor. He was a Nittany Lion assistant from 1968 to 1974.

Lorenzo was co-executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association from 1993 through 1995, raising one half of the NWCA's $1 Million Capital Campaign Challenge.  He then served as membership chair and treasurer of the NWCA from 1993 through 1999.

Lorenzo's love for the sport and for Penn State has had a lasting impact on the Nittany Lion program, once that has been integral to the success of the program.  He served as executive director and treasurer of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, acting as a major fund-raiser to fully endow the wrestling program.  Lorenzo also served as a driving force behind the $4 million wrestling complex that is his namesake.

"I was personally so happy to see Coach Lorenzo inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame," said current Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson. "Penn State wrestling is only what it is today because of Rich.  He embodies Penn State wrestling.  He is a unique and special person.  He is a humble and no-nonsense man and he is the kind of person that you would want to coach your kids.  If you look at all the greats who came through Penn State during his time here, it's amazing.  Young men came to Penn State to wrestle for Coach Lorenzo and he made them better people, not just better wrestlers."

As an athlete, Lorenzo was an All-American at Penn State in addition to being named EIWA Outstanding Wrestler honors.  Lorenzo received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995, and was inducted into both the EWL Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996.

Lorenzo's is second on Penn State's all-time coaching win list with a superb 188-64-9 career coaching record.  He ended his legendary coaching career just three wins shy of Charlie Speidel's 191 wins.   Lorenzo collected his 188 wins in just 14 seasons, Speidel coached for 34 years.

Last Updated November 30, 2018