Pat Popolizo, Binghamton University wrestling head coach and 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year, has accepted a position as head coach of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack wrestling program.
The decision was announced by both the Binghamton and NC State athletic programs on Tuesday.
“It’s a loss for Binghamton University,” athletic director Patrick Elliott said. “But we really appreciate everything he did while he was here in building this program.”
In six years at Binghamton, Popolizio accrued an 81-53 record and was named CAA coach of the year in 2010 and 2012. During his tenure, BU produced four All-Americans and 21 NCAA-qualifiers, all after inheriting a program that finished with an 0-12 record the year prior to his arrival.
“He’s put his heart and soul into building Binghamton from literally ground zero,” senior Justin Lister said. “I’m very happy for him and what he’s done for Binghamton, and nobody can ever take that away from him.”
Binghamton finished the 2011-12 season with a 15-4 mark, setting a program record for win percentage at 78.9 percent. The Bearcats then placed 14th at the NCAA Championship — the best of any BU Division I program to date and the highest of any CAA program in the last five years — and crowned two All-Americans in junior Donnie Vinson and freshman Nick Gwiazdowski.
Popolizio will take over an NC State program that went 7-9 in 2011-12 and finished 44th out of 70 teams at the NCAA Championship in March.
“Pat is a builder of programs and of young men,” said North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow. “He was an outstanding collegiate performer at Oklahoma State [University] and is a proven teacher and mentor as a head coach.”
Gwiazdowski said he believes the program will continue to thrive despite Popolizio’s departure.
“Pat’s built a great mindset here and guys are going to keep that mindset no matter who’s in their corner,” he said. “He was a big influence on everyone here.”
Elliott said that a nationwide search for Popolizio’s replacement has been put into place and said the department looks forward to naming the next head coach “in the next several weeks.”