Olympian Frank Molinaro named assistant wrestling coach

BLACKSBURG – Head coach Tony Robie has announced the hiring of Frank Molinaro as an assistant coach on his first coaching staff leading the Virginia Tech wrestling program.

Molinaro was most recently a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Penn State, where he was a two-time Big Ten champion, a four-time All-American and an NCAA champion at 149 pounds in 2012. Last summer, placed fifth at 65 kg at 2016 Olympics in Rio as a member of the USA wrestling men’s freestyle team.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Frank and his family to Blacksburg,” Robie said. “Frank is world-class wrestler coming off a run at last summer’s Olympic Team Trails and the Rio games that inspired the wrestling world. His success and experience as a collegiate athlete and now on the international level will be a tremendous asset to our wrestlers. Competing, coaching and training at the top program in the nation has given Frank a unique perspective that will be very beneficial to our student-athletes.”

A native of Barnegat, New Jersey, Molinaro jumped right into coaching after wrapping up his collegiate career at Penn State. He was on the staff at Rutgers for two years as an assistant coach, where he helped develop the Scarlet Knights’ first All-American since 2002. Molinaro then returned to Happy Valley as a volunteer assistant in 2014 and helped lead the Nittany Lions to a national team championship in 2016.

Molinaro boasts one of the most decorated careers in the history of Penn State wrestling. He turned in finishes of eighth, fifth and second at the NCAA Championships before claiming the 2012 national title at 149 pounds as senior. That season, he went 33-0, won his second consecutive Big Ten title and wrapped up a career that ended with a 121-29 record.

On the international stage, Molinaro’s fifth-place finish at the 2016 Olympics tied for the best finish ever for a Nittany Lion wrestling for the United States. His road to Rio surprised many in the wrestling community as he won five of six matches as the No. 9 seed to take the 65 kg class at Olympic Team Trials. His resume also includes the 70 kg championship at 2016 Pan American games.

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