The 2018-19 wrestling season marks Pat Popolizio’s seventh at the helm of the NC State wrestling program, as he was named head wrestling coach of the Wolfpack on April 10, 2012.
Over the last five seasons, NC State has had three national champions and four of the last five ACC Wrestlers of the Year were members of the Wolfpack.
Pat has led NC State to five straight top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, tied for most top-20 finishes in a row in school history (1980-84). Over the last five seasons, NC State has finished 19th in 2014, 16th in 2015, 11th in 2016, 17th in 2017, and 4th in 2018.
In his six seasons overall, Popolizio has had 40 NCAA qualifiers, highlighted by a school record 10 in 2017. In the last three seasons, NC State has qualified 27 of its 30 starters.
In May of 2018, Popolizio served as the head coach for the USA at the Cadet Pan American Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The U.S. dominated, winning the team title with 9 of the 10 wrestlers winning Gold.
In 2017-18, NC State brought home its first-ever team trophy, as the Wolfpack finished a school and ACC-best fourth at the 2018 NCAA Championships. R-Sr. Michael Macchiavello won a national title at 197 pounds, and R-Fr. Hayden Hidlay placed second at 157 pounds. NC State became the first ACC school with two NCAA Finalists. The Wolfpack also had a school record four All-Americans with R-Fr. Tariq Wilson placing third and Sr. Kevin Jack taking sixth.
“Pat is a builder of programs and of young men,” said NC State AD Debbie Yow at the time of his hire. “He was an outstanding collegiate performer at Oklahoma State and is a proven teacher and mentor as a head coach. He will lead Wolfpack Wrestling to compete for ACC titles and, eventually, the national championship.”
Prior to coming to NC State, in six seasons at Binghamton University (2007-12), Popolizio transformed the Bearcats into a national contender after inheriting the program that went 0-12 following its reinstatement in 2005-06.