Coach Pecora becomes college wrestling’s career wins leader

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Coach Pat Pecora earned his 617th career victory on Friday night, breaking a 46-year-old record for most wins in college wrestling at any level.

The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown coach passed former Oregon State coach Dale Thomas for the record across all NCAA divisions plus NAIA and junior college, with a 22-12 victory over Mercyhurst.

In his 44th season at Pitt-Johnstown, Pecora is 617-151-8. Thomas passed Kent State coach Joe Beglia’s 284 victories in 1974, and ended his career with a 616-168-13 record.

Pecora’s teams won the Division II National Championship in 1996 and ‘99, and he was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Coach of the Year in 1995, ’99, and 2019. Pecora has lead his teams to 22 NCAA regional titles, including five straight from 2003-07 and 10 from 1992-2001.

Connor Craig, a 2019 NCAA national champion, sealed the match with his 8-0 victory at 184 pounds.