A Hall of Fame coach and multiple-time EIWA and Ivy League champion, Penn alumnus Roger Reina C’84, WEV’05 began his second stint as head coach at his alma mater in 2017-18 and now enters his 21st season overall as head coach at Penn in 2018-19.
In his first season back on the bench with the Quakers, Reina coached Penn to a 9-8 record and qualified four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Four grapplers earned All-Ivy honors, led by unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection May Bethea.
Reina originally led the Quakers from 1986-2005 and amassed a program-record 205 wins and a .649 winning percentage during his first tenure coaching at his alma mater, which began at the age of 24 as the youngest head coach in program history. He guided the Quakers to four EIWA championships and eight Ivy League titles during his initial run as head coach, and recruited and coached a pair of NCAA champions (Brett Matter, Matt Valenti) as well as an Olympic Gold Medalist (Brandon Slay). Reina led Penn to five NCAA Top 20 finishes in a six-year span including a Top 10 NCAA finish and two eighth-place finishes at the National Dual Meet Championships.
Reina has a lifelong relationship with Penn. His father, Ruben, was Chair of the Anthropology Department and curator at the Penn Museum from 1957-90, and multiple family members have earned Penn degrees. Roger first set foot on Penn’s campus as a freshman in the fall of 1979 and began a lifelong commitment to Penn Wrestling. Throughout his career as a wrestler, coach, mentor, alumnus and administrator, Reina’s focus has been on the betterment of his alma mater’s wrestling program and the growth of the sport in his hometown of Philadelphia.
In 2017, Reina was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania chapter for his dedicated service to the sport of wrestling across all levels. He also was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 as a member of Class VI.
Following the end of his first tenure with the Red and Blue in 2005, Reina remained active in the wrestling community. In addition to his work to launch the PRTC and foster its partnership with Beat the Streets Philly, Reina served as chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2011 NCAA Championships which set record attendance numbers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. He also chaired the host committee for the 2014 NWCA All-Star Classic held at The Palestra, and was involved in bringing the 2017 Maccabiah Games Trials to The Palestra this past April.
From 2015-17, Reina served as a Penn Athletics administrator as Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs. In that role, he had oversight of all external-facing efforts of Penn Athletics including Athletic Communications, Marketing and New Media, Sponsorship, Business Development, and Ticketing. In addition, Reina served as Executive Director of The Penn Relays, the world’s largest track and field event held each April at Penn’s Franklin Field.
The Roger Reina File
- Penn’s All-Time Winningest Coach (214)
- Four-Time EIWA Team Champions (1996, 97, 98, 99)
- Eight-Time Ivy League Champion (1994, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02)
- Owns a Winning Record Against All Active Ivy League Head Coaches
- Three-Time EIWA Coach of the Year (1996, 97, 99)
- Coached Brandon Slay W’97 to 2000 Olympic Gold Medal
- Coached Brett Matter W’00 to 2000 NCAA Championship
- Recruited 2x NCAA Champion Matt Valenti, and coached him to NCAA All American status
- Coached 17 NCAA All-Americans, including eight NCAA semi-finalists
- Coached Five Ivy League Wrestlers of the Year
- Coached Four Ivy League Rookies of the Year
- Coached 30 EIWA Champions
- USA Wrestling Silver Certified Coach
- Coached national freestyle champions at every age group under USA Wrestling
- Served as a Dave Schultz Wrestling Club coach through 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic cycles, coaching multiple Olympic Trials place winners and two finalists
- Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling Federation Contributor of the Year (1997), serving as PAWF Coach for Cadet and Junior Freestyle and Greco Roman teams
- Past President of the National Wrestling Coaches Association
- 2004 NWCA Meritorious Service Award recipient
- EIWA Hall of Famer (2009)
- National Wrestling Hall of Famer (Pennsylvania chapter, 2017)
- Penn Athletics Hall of Famer (Class VI, 2008)