Pitt-Johnstown may be currently ranked No. 4 in DII college wrestling, but head coach Pat Pecora is No. 1. The reigning 2019 NWCA coach of the year set the all-time college wrestling wins mark for any division, picking up No. 617 against conference rival and 11th-ranked Mercyhurst on Friday, Feb. 7.
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Pecora's 617th victory surpassed Oregon State's legendary Dale Thomas who captured 616 victories between 1957 to 1990. Let’s take a look back at the illustrious 44-year (and counting) career of college wrestling’s winningest head coach by the numbers.
617-151-5 — Pecora’s remarkable record after his victory on Feb. 7, 2020. That’s a .798 winning percentage well into his 44th season as a head coach.
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1975 — The year Pecora graduated from West Liberty State after a career as a four-year starter and three-year all-conference wrestler. One year later, he began his 44-year journey as the Mountain Cats head coach. Though we can’t confirm the first win, the first one that stands out to Pecora was a big conference victory over Indiana (Pa) that season.
2/12/2012 — The date Pecora picked up win No. 500 — a 39-3 dual meet victory over Shippensburg — becoming the first DII wrestling coach to reach the mark.
Congratulations to Pat Pecora from @MtnCatAthletics, who became the all-time leader in wins for any coach across college wrestling this evening. 617 wins! @ncaawrestling @NCAADII pic.twitter.com/2dlyNXXAyn— Jack Wascher (@JackWascher) February 8, 2020
3 — NWCA DII coach of the year awards Pecora has claimed. He won in 1995 and 1999 before claiming No. 3 last year. The Mountain Cats finished 16-3 and sixth overall at the NCAA DII national tournament.
4 — Consecutive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference titles Pecora in which has led the Mountain Cats. Pitt-Johnstown is currently 6-0 in the PSAC in 2020, so a fifth is completely possible.
5 — Points Pitt-Johnstown defeated Central Oklahoma by en route to Pecora’s first national championship in 1996. Three years later, the Mountain Cats won again and are still Pecora’s only two titles.
8 — Different Hall of Fames Pecora is a part of. From earliest to most recent: Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame-East Boro Chapter (1994), Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame (1998) West Liberty State (W.Va.) College Hall of Fame (1998), Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame (2001), and, in 2003, NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame (2003), Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame (2015) Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (2016), Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (2017).
18 — Regional coach of the year awards Pecora has claimed.
22 — Regional championships Pecora has won during his tenure. That’s more than 50 percent through 43 complete seasons. The Mountain Cats won their regional every year from 1992-2001, that 10-in-a-row stretch the longest of his career.
35 — Top 20 finishes Pecora has led Pitt-Johnstown to in his 43 full seasons. Twenty-three of those have been top 10 finishes and 11 have been top 5.