University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Head Coach Pat Pecora
Pat Pecora, who has also doubles as Pitt-Johnstown’s Athletic Director since July 2008, took over the Mountain Cat wrestling program in 1976. In 36 years, his teams have captured 20 NCAA Regional Championships, including five straight from 2003 through 2007 and ten in a row from 1992 through 2001. Coach Pecora has been selected as the NCAA Regional “Coach of the Year” 14 times. His Mountain Cat squads have finished in the Top-20 in the nation 29 times and have combined to win 48 team tournaments and 500 dual meets. Coach Pecora has tutored 134 All-Americans and 10 individual national champions, including Shane Valko (133 lbs.), the 2010 National Wrestler of the Year. Academically, his teams led the nation in NWCA All-Academic Wrestling Team selections from 1997 through 2000. Since 1990, Coach Pecora has coached 95 NWCA All-Academic Wrestling Team members.
In 1996 and 1999, his teams captured the NCAA Division II National Championship, the first and second in school history. In 1995 and 1999, Coach Pecora was named NCAA Division II National “Coach of the Year.” Also in 1999, he received the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coaching Excellence Award, given to the best coach in all divisions. Coach Pecora also coached the National All-Star Team, which showcased the best wrestlers in the nation from all divisions.
On Feb. 14, 2012, Coach Pecora became the first in NCAA Division II History and just the sixth in all divisions to earn 500 career dual-meet victories when his Mountain Cats defeated Shippensburg University, 39-3. Coach Pecora’s 500 wins rank sixth all-time and third among active coaches in all levels of collegiate wrestling. His teams have averaged nearly 14 dual meet victories each year.
Coach Pecora is the Division II Representative for the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), a duty previously held for 10 years. Coach Pecora, a member of the NWCA Board of Directors, was also the president of that organization for two terms. In 1994, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame-East Boro Chapter, and, in 1998, he was inducted into both the Cambria County and the West Liberty State (W.Va.) College Halls of Fame. In March 2001, Coach Pecora was inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and, in 2003, he earned induction into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame. In addition, Coach Pecora earned the 2008 United States Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Award.
Coach Pecora and his wife Tracy have four children: Cristina, Marco, Marina and Nico.
Last Reviewed: December 6, 2006