Courtesy of Middlesex Athletics – Link

Middlesex College Director of Athletics Rocco Constantino has announced that National Wrestling Hall of Famer and Middlesex College alum Dr. Joe Nisivoccia has been named Head Coach of the Colts wrestling program, effective immediately.

“I am happy to be back at Middlesex College where I have my wrestling roots,” said Nisivoccia. “Middlesex College has a proud tradition of success in wrestling and my goal is to get back to that level of national recognition. This is where I got my start. I have come home. I am honored that Middlesex offered me this position.”

Nisivoccia, who is also an NJSIAA Hall of Famer and one of the most accomplished coaches in New Jersey wrestling history, replaces Kyle Brewer, who resigned after a successful eight-year tenure guiding the Colts program.

Constantino is excited about bringing Nisivoccia on board and the direction of the program.

“I am thrilled that a coach of Joe Nisivoccia’s caliber will be taking over our wrestling program,” said Constantino. “Coach Nisivoccia has a track record of success that is unmatched and we’re excited that such a high-profile coach will be leading our wrestling program. Coach Brewer did a great job and we were sad to see him resign, but the program couldn’t be in better hands moving forward.”

A resident of Edison and graduate of JP Stevens High School, Nisivoccia had a fantastic career as a wrestler before moving on to coaching. At JP Stevens, Nisivoccia was the 1972 New Jersey State Champion at 115 pounds after placing second in the state in 1971 at 106 pounds.

After his decorated career at JP Stevens, Nisivoccia was a key member of the dominant 1973 and 1974 Middlesex College wrestling teams under Hall of Fame Coach John Sacchi. Nisivoccia was a New Jersey State Wrestling Conference and Mid-Atlantic Zone champion both his years wrestling for Middlesex.

Nisivoccia hopes that he can replicate the success he had as an athlete at Middlesex as a coach.

“When I attended Middlesex College in 1973 and ’74, our teams finished fourth and fifth in the nation,” said Nisivoccia. “I want to elevate the program back to that level.”

After wrestling for the Colts, Nisivoccia moved on to Rutgers University where he was named team captain in 1976, also gaining mid-season All-America Honorable Mention status.

From there, Nisivoccia embarked on an incredibly successful coaching career that is still going strong well into its fourth decade.

Nisivoccia was the head coach at Belleville High School for 28 years after serving as an assistant for five years. Under Nisivoccia, Belleville established itself as one of the premiere wrestling programs in the state. Nisivoccia mentored five New Jersey State Champions, 22 state place winners, 37 Region Champions and 110 District Champions. Incredibly, at one point, Nisivoccia had at least one wrestler on the mat in the New Jersey State Finals in 11 straight seasons.

He also led Belleville High School to four Essex County team championships, nine district championships and five region championships. Nisivoccia has received a combined 20 Coach of the Year Awards on the national, state and local levels and served as the Region 4 President for 13 years. His teams have won 407 dual meets over his career.

Although still actively coaching, Nisivoccia is a member of multiple Hall of Fames. He was inducted into the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

After his career at Belleville High School, Nisivoccia remained active in coaching and officiating. He served as Head Coach for Metuchen High School for two seasons and this past season, he was the Assistant Wrestling Coach for the New Jersey City University Women’s Wrestling team.

Constantino recognizes the potential in Middlesex College wrestling and is also excited about Nisivoccia’s attention to academics as someone who has close to 40 years of experience as an educator.

“New Jersey has some of the best high school wrestling in the country and we’d like to make Middlesex College the top destination for those students seeking to continue their academic and wrestling careers on the two-year level,” said Constantino. “With someone like Coach Nisivoccia leading the program, I have no doubt we could reach those goals. In addition, I know that Coach Nisivoccia emphasizes academics and social development and that fits right in with our department vision. Coach has always been a member of the Middlesex College family and we’re very happy that he’s coming back to his alma mater to continue his remarkable career.”

Nisivoccia plans on bringing in many highly respected coaches in building an elite coaching staff. This includes Sacchi, who has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and National Junior College Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame and will be part of the inaugural Middlesex College Athletics Hall of Fame this fall. Sacchi was the Head Wrestling Coach at Rutgers University for 17 years before retiring in 2002.

“I’m honored to be working with my coach from Middlesex, John Sacchi,” said Nisivoccia. “He has 40 years of experience at Middlesex and Rutgers University. He was my mentor at the time and now he will share his lifetime of coaching experience with me and our students.”

In addition to Sacchi, Nisivoccia’s brother Gerry will be working with the program. A National Wrestling Hall of Famer as well, Gerry Nisivoccia was a two-time NJSIAA State Wrestling Champion and coached at Westfield, Edison and Elizabeth High School.

Jimmy Guerrieri, another highly successful coach with a long resume, will also be part of the staff. A retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army, Guerrieri was most recently the Acting Head Coach of the New Jersey City University Women’s Wrestling program. Previously, he was the Head Coach at Middletown South High School and Christian Brothers Academy.

Middlesex College enjoyed a strong 2021-22 wrestling season, placing second in the Garden State Athletic Conference Team Tournament. Four Colts qualified for the NJCAA National Division III Tournament with Troy O’Connor (Freshman/Middlesex, NJ) placing the highest.

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