Home is where the heart is and sometimes it’s just too hard to stay away.
That couldn’t be more true for Penn wrestling legend and Hall of Famer Roger Reina. After coaching the wrestling team from 1986-2005, Penn Athletic Director Grace Calhoun announced Wednesday that Reina would be returning to his position as head coach. The news comes two weeks after Calhoun announced that former head coach Alex Tirapelle had resigned.
Reina’s relationship with Penn also dates back even further than when he started coaching the team in 1986. He graduated from the College in 1984 and his father was a longtime faculty member for Penn Museum and the Anthropology Department.
“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 in a Penn Athletics press release.
For Reina, his qualifications speak for themselves. He is Penn’s all-time winningest coach, a four-time EIWA champion, an eight-time Ivy League Champion, and a three-time EIWA Coach of the Year.
Since leaving Penn in 2005, Reina has worked actively with the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center, an elite wrestling training center for wrestlers of all ages. Since early 2016, he has also been Penn’s senior associate athletic director for external affairs.
“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,” Calhoun said in the press release. “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.”
Now, Reina will inherit a team that has not won an EIWA championship since his he lasted helped the Quakers win in 1999. Helping the Red and Blue return to contention won’t be easy, but Reina is excited to give it his best shot.
“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 in the press release. “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.”