STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford assistant coach Alex Tirapelle has been named the 19th Roger Reina Head Coach of Wrestling in the history of the University of Pennsylvania. The announcement was made Monday by Penn's Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, M. Grace Calhoun.
"I am excited to welcome Alex to Penn," said Calhoun. "During the interview process, his accomplishments both as a wrestler and as a coach stood out. He enjoyed a stellar collegiate wrestling career at Illinois, and over the last few years he has developed a solid reputation as a strong recruiter and coach. Working at an institution like Stanford these last four years also gives Alex a good idea of the kind of student-athlete he will be expected to recruit and coach at Penn. I think our athletes, alums and fans will be excited by the future direction of the program under Alex's leadership."
Tirapelle heads to Penn after four seasons as an assistant coach with the Cardinal. While coaching at Stanford, he helped guide the program to its best dual-season record in school history with a 17-5 mark in 2013-14. In addition, last season’s squad sent five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships – tying the school record. Four of those NCAA qualifiers last season were Pac-12 champions, also a school record.
“I want to thank Grace Calhoun, Alanna Shanahan, and the rest of the search committee for selecting me to be the new head wrestling coach at the University of Pennsylvania. It is an honor to have the opportunity to advance the already exceptional legacy of Penn Wrestling,” Tirapelle said.
In his four seasons on The Farm, Tirapelle helped guide 14 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, including Stanford’s second three-time All-American and first two-time finalist in Nick Amuchastegui. The Cardinal earned five total All-America honors during Tirapelle’s tenure, including three at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Philadelphia – the highest All-America output at any NCAA Championships by a Stanford squad. The three All-Americans in 2011 propelled Stanford to an 11th-place finish overall, the highest team finish in program history.
Off the mat, Stanford continued to thrive academically during Tirapelle’s tenure. Last season, the Cardinal ranked No. 8 among all Division I programs in team GPA and had two wrestlers named National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic. One of those individuals, Kyle Meyer, also earned a Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarship. Both of Stanford’s NWCA All-Academic selections last season were also NCAA qualifiers. At the conference level, Stanford led all Pac-12 programs with nine Pac-12 All-Academic honors. In the past four seasons, Stanford has had 30 wrestlers earn Pac-12 All-Academic honors.
Highlighting Stanford’s overall success during Tirapelle’s time was Amuchastegui. A four-time NCAA qualifier, three-time All-American and two-time finalist, Amuchastegui was twice named Capital One/CoSIDA Men’s At-Large Academic All-American of the Year and was a three-time Academic All-American, earning Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolades for wrestling in 2012 and twice earning the NCAA’s Elite88 Award for Division I wrestling.
“I look forward to developing men of valor and providing them with the resources and guidance necessary to strive for excellence in education, athletics, and life after college,” said Tirapelle. “Furthermore, I am excited to become a contributing member of Penn’s Athletic Department.”