DII Regional Coach of the Year Announced

East Region COY Pat Pecora presented by Mike Wehler

NWCA announces the Division II Regional Coach of the Year Winners.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the Division II Regional Coach of the Year awards as selected by their peers in each respective region. The award is presented to the coach that has demonstrated outstanding effort throughout the season in developing and elevating their program on campus and in the community.

The award is sponsored by the NWCA in conjunction with their partner, Theraworx.  Theraworx Protect is a topical formulation that optimizes and preserves the skin’s natural antimicrobial function.

This year’s winners are:

  • East Region, Pat Pecora – University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
  • Midwest Region, Josh Hutchens – Ashland University
  • Central Region, James Kisgen – McKendree University
  • West Region, Lenny Zalesky – California Baptist University

NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer said, “We are pleased to recognize this year’s Regional Coach of the Year recipients and want to thank them for providing a quality experience for their student-athletes and for being outstanding role models to our sport.”

East Region COY Pat Pecora presented by Mike Wehler
East Region COY Pat Pecora presented by Mike Wehler

Pat Pecora, The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown head coach, has been the coach of the Mountain Cats for 42 years. His team held a 12-3 dual meet

record while finishing 4th at the PSAC Championships and 1st among the eight Division II schools. This was their best finish since joining the PSAC in 2014. Over Pat’s 42 years of coaching, He has coached 145 All-Americans, twelve individual national champions, and has had over 100 NWCA All-Academic Wrestlers. In 2008, he received the United States Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Award.



Midwest COY Josh Hutchens presented by Jason Warthan
Midwest COY Josh Hutchens presented by Jason Warthan

Ashland University head coach, Josh Hutchens is our Midwest has been coaching the Eagles for five years. This year, Josh coached the Ashland Eagles to a 12-5 dual meet record. They also received a 2nd place finish at the 39th annual Midwest Classic. Josh volunteered his time and did extensive work with the Special Olympics and at the Del Roy School for special needs in Ashland. He also worked at Camp Mowana in Mansfield.

James Kisgen, from McKendree University, completed his 15th year coaching and assembled a 17-5 dual meet record. Coach Kisgen and his wrestlers achieved a 3rd place finish at the Midwest Classic. In 2002, McKendree named Kisgen their head coach to run their new program. Since then, Kisgen and the Bearcats team have had nine National Champions and a runner-up finish in the team standings in 2007-08.


Lennie Zalesky has been coaching the California Baptist University wrestlers for six years now. This year, they won the RMAC team championship and

West Region COY Lenny Zalesky presented by his team
West Region COY Lenny Zalesky presented by his team

amassed a 7-6 dual meet record. Coach Zalesky has done many community service projects, and has volunteered at numerous events, including but not limited to, Operation Christmas Child which he filled shoeboxes with gifts for underprivileged children, worked concessions for three basketball games, volunteered with the local police department and he also has wrestlers participating in Read Across America.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a non-profit organization for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on developing coaches who work in academic environments. The three core competencies of the NWCA are Coaching Development, Student-Athlete Welfare, and the Promotion of Wrestling.

Each of the four winners now becomes eligible for the NWCA National Coach of the Year award, this will be presented at the Division II Hall of Fame function, Thursday, March 8th prior to the NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championship in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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