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Berner High School Wrestling Greats to be inducted into National Wrestling Hall of Fame
The Doherty Brothers…

George “Doppy” Doherty and his younger brother Richard “Dick” Doherty began their illustrious wrestling careers long before stepping onto the mat and representing Amityville High School.  Growing up in the Doherty household, which consisted of 8 children, including 5 boys, likely meant that there was some grappling taking place prior to lacing up their own wrestling shoes.  But, it wasn’t until the mid to late 1940’s that both of their wrestling careers and their dedication to the sport really took off.

Doppy wrestled for Hall of Fame coaches Lonnie Kittle and Joe Valla at Amityville High School from 1945 to 1949 where he amassed a winning record and captured two Long Island Championships.  In addition, he won a New York State AAU Freestyle wrestling championship as well.  Upon graduation from high school, Doppy took his wrestling prowess to the state of Pennsylvania where he attended Millersville State Teachers College.  While there, under the tutelage of legendary coach Ted Rupp, he posted a career record of 30 wins and only 2 losses, including 13 victories by pin.  He would go on to win three Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships as well as an AAU Mid Atlantic Freestyle championship in 1951.  Following the completion of his collegiate career in 1953, Doppy received the Theodore H. Rupp award for the most outstanding wrestler at Millersville, and in 2003, he was inducted into the Millersville University Hall of Fame.  His nominating sponsor expressed his praise for Doppy by writing “He was by any standard the first “big time” wrestler that Millersville ever had.  His record speaks for itself, but more than that he was a great leader and a fine example of sportsmanship throughout his career.  In those four years (1949-1953) George was chiefly responsible for bringing Millersville into national prominence as a wrestling powerhouse.”

Dick Doherty, like his older brother Doppy, wrestled from 1946 to 1950 at Amityville High School for coaches Lonnie Kittle and Joe Valla as well.  And, like his brother, he compiled a winning record during a high school career that was capped off by taking second place in the Long Island Championships.  Dick was also instrumental in helping to lead the Amityville wrestling team to two consecutive runner-up finishes in the Suffolk County Championships in 1949 and 1950.  After finishing high school in 1950, Dick enlisted in the United States Navy where he spent the next few years serving his country before eventually attending Millersville State Teachers College in Pennsylvania.  While at Millersville, he competed for coach Rupp, whose teams compiled an overall record of 29 wins, 7 losses and 1 tie.  He ended his career at Millersville College having placed twice in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships.  But, it wasn’t until after graduating college that Dick Doherty truly made his mark in the wrestling world as a coach and mentor to many student athletes.  Together, he and his brother Doppy would start the wrestling program at Berner High School in 1963 while teachers in the Massapequa School District.  Dick would eventually assume the responsibility of the head-coaching job at Berner following the unfortunate and untimely death of Doppy in 1974 at the age of 44.

This selfless coaching duo dedicated a big part of their lives to the sport of wrestling and helped mold many athletes to become men.  While Doppy and Dicky were incredible athletes in their own right, their real gift was their ability to inspire so many ordinary athletes to greatness.  They had this uncanny ability of being able to recognize potential and cultivate it.  And, it was because of this ability to build self-esteem, that so many young men were made to believe in themselves and excel, not only in the sport of wrestling but also in life.  This dedication, motivation and love for the sport of wrestling enabled them to amass an impressive list of coaching achievements.  Together, they coached Berner High School Wrestling from 1963 to 1982 for a combined total of 19 years, and during this time period they produced 2 New York State Champs, 10 New York State Place-Winners, 10 Nassau County Champions, including 2 outstanding wrestlers and 36 Nassau County Place-Winners.  They won an impressive 18 High School Tournament Championships and compiled a combined overall dual meet record of 182 wins, 56 losses and 2 ties.  In addition, Dick was runner-up in the voting for the Nassau County Coach of the Year Award in 1981, and both he and Doppy were recipients of the prestigious Legends of Nassau County Wrestling Award in 1992 and 1994 respectively.  The Doherty brothers were also posthumously inducted into the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996.

On behalf of the Doherty Family, we would like to thank the Friends of Long Island Wrestling for honoring Doppy and Dick and for consideration of a Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award, which would ensure their rightful, permanent place in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.


 

Wrestling room at Massapequa High named for USA Wrestling leader Al Bevilacqua
Gary Abott (By Various sources) The Mat.com
01/02/2012

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. - Prior to the championship finals of the 48th annual Massapequa High School Wrestling Tournament on December 28, it was announced that the wrestling room at Massapequa High School would be named in honor of longtime USA Wrestling leader Al Bevilacqua.

The Friends of Massapequa Wrestling, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to fostering the sport of wrestling in Massapequa, announced the Massapequa School District’s decision to honor Coach Bevilacqua in front of a packed gymnasium for this event, traditionally one of the strongest holiday tournaments on Long Island.

Bevilacqua addressed the audience at the competition during the ceremony, and was greeted with applause from a community which appreciated his leadership and service.

Bevilacqua served as an educator with the Massapequa Public Schools from 1961 to 1994. He began coaching wrestling at Massapequa as an assistant and later assumed the Head Coaching position in 1963. Bevilacqua continued as the Head Coach until 1977 when assistant Gary Mims took over the program. As time permitted him over the years, he continued as a volunteer assistant to his close friend Mims. Bevilacqua’s dedication, commitment and contribution to the Massapequa community and its young men and women has spanned more than 50 years.

The Friends of Massapequa Wrestling have pledged to pay for renovation of the wrestling room. In addition to honoring Coach Al Bevilacqua, the renovated wrestling room walls will tell the history of wrestling in Massapequa. The names of State and County champions and place winners, as well as the winners of other individual honors from both Massapequa High School and Berner High School*, along with team honors, will be on the walls above the mats.

* In 1987 Berner High School became Berner Jr. High School and all High School students in the school district attended Massapequa High School.

In order to achieve this goal, the Friends of Massapequa Wrestling is reaching out to all Massapequa and Berner alumni whose lives were touched by Coach Bevilacqua or the wrestling program and to anybody else who would like to help. The initial estimate for the renovation is in excess of $50,000. To make a tax deductible contribution please make your check payable to the “Friends of Massapequa Wrestling Inc.” and mail it to Post Office Box 61, Massapequa, New York 11758. All contributions will be greatly appreciated.

An artist rendition of the renovated wrestling room was on exhibit at the December 29 Christmas tournament and will also be on display at the January 6 alumni night. Visit the website at http://www.LeagueLineup.com/MassapequaWrestling

In his lifetime of service to wrestling, Bevilacqua has been a leader in the sport on the national and international levels, in addition to his efforts in his local and state community.

Bevilacqua was named 2005 USA Wrestling Man of the Year for his efforts on behalf of the national governing body of wrestling.

Last month, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced that Bevilacqua will be receive its Order of Merit award during the Hall of Fame Honors Weekend in June 2012. He will be inducted alongside his son Chris Bevilacqua, who is being honored as an Outstanding American Award winner.

Bevilacqua has served in almost every possible role within wrestling, including as a coach, an administrator and a visionary.

He is currently leading the Beat the Streets USA program, helping develop wrestling opportunities in urban areas across the nation. He was a founder and leader of the successful Beat the Streets New York program which has transformed the sport in one of the world’s leading cities.

At one point in his career, Bevilacqua served as a staff member for USA Wrestling, when its headquarters were in Stillwater, Okla. He has coached for USA Wrestling on the international level on many occasions. He also served as a wrestling coach for Hofstra University.

In connection with the naming of the Massapequa wrestling room, this information on Coach Bevilacqua has been provided by Friends of Massapequa Wrestling.

Al Bevilacqua
Massapequa High School Educator 1961 - 1994
Massapequa High School Head Coach 1963 – 1977
USA Wrestling Eastern Development Director 1972 - 1979
USA Wrestling Board of Directors 1972 - 1986
USA Wrestling New York State Chairperson 1973 – 1979
Hofstra University Coach 1977 – 1979
US Wrestling Federation Vice President 1978 - 1980
US Wrestling Federation Assistant Director 1979 – 1981
US Wrestling Federation Special Service Award 1981
USA Wrestling National Coach 1983 – 1991
FILA World Cup 1983
FILA Junior World Championships Head Coach 1983
USA Wrestling Coach of the Year 1983
FILA Espoir World Cup Head Coach 1984
FILA Coaches Commission 1985 – 1991
Tbilisi Games Team Leader 1985
Tbilisi Championships Head Coach 1986, 1987, 1988
New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame 1987
USOC Finalist Freestyle Head Coach Olympic Games 1988
Metropolitan Wrestling Association Man of the Year 1990
Cerro-Pelado Championships Head Coach 1991
New York University Sports Hall of Fame 1992
Massapequa High School Hall of Fame 1996
National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award 1996
National High School Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Director 1996 - 1999
FILA President Pin World Championships Madison Square Garden 2003
Co-Founder Beat the Streets Wrestling Program 2004
USA Wrestling Man of the Year 2005
WIN Magazine Impact Award Winner 2005
Wrestling USA Magazine Man of the Year 2006
Friends of Massapequa Wrestling, Director 2004 - 2010
Friends of Massapequa Wrestling, Honorary Director 2010
National Wrestling Hall of Fame Order of Merit 2012

Massapequa High School Wrestling History

Massapequa wrestling is a program rich with history and tradition that dates back to the 1950’s. The Massapequa Wrestling program, comprised of all freshmen, began in 1952 under the leadership of Coach Len Connor.

In 1955, Bill Deveaux took over as the head coach and managed the program through 1957, which included the first graduating class in 1956. John Haas officially took over as the head coach in 1958 and continued until 1962. Coach Haas developed a style and philosophy that became the building block of the program.

In 1963, former wrestler Al Bevilacqua took over as the head coach. Wrestling grew and flourished at Massapequa under the leadership and program development of Coach Bevilacqua.

Years later, another former wrestler, Gary Mims would become an assistant coach and help Coach Bevilacqua turn Massapequa into a wrestling powerhouse. Mims would go on to become the head coach in 1978 and guide the program through 28 successful years up until his retirement in 2006.

In 2006, Joe Catalanotto took over as head coach at Massapequa. Prior to 2006, Coach Catalanotto had been the Junior High coach for seven years and an assistant with both the Varsity and Junior Varsity programs at Massapequa.

Academic honors - Massapequa has also had it share of champions in the classroom, it has been the recipients of the New York State Team Scholar athlete award in wrestling numerous times including 6 times between 2002 - 2008. An accomplishment shared by the students, teachers, coaches, parents, school administration and supporters of the program who all take great pride in our student athletes.


 

National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Stillwater, Oklahoma
August 12, 2009


Former Massapequa HS wrestler Pete Hausrath (1959) has been selected by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, OK as one of the recipients of the Lifetime Service Award winner for the Upstate Chapter.

Pete was a graduate of Iowa State University and was a member of the team at Iowa State that won a NCAA Team Championship. He was the wrestling coach at Sherburne-Earlville HS (Sec. 3) with stints coaching in Iowa and Minnesota HS. He helped to organize the New York State Wrestling Federation and was one of the inaugural state coaches at the 1972 National Jr. Championships. He will join two other Massapequa High School graduates that were previous award winners, Al Bevilacqua in 1996 and Gary Mims in 2007.

Honorees must have been involved in wrestling a minimum of twenty years volunteering in wrestling as an official, coach, club leader or a professional school/college coach.

The Upstate Chapter will be hosting their 13th Annual Banquet on Sunday, September 27, 2009 at the Doubletree Hotel, 6301 Route 298, East Syracuse, NY.

Pee Hausrath (Sherburne HS), Fred Marcello (Maine Endwell), Marshall Schlossberg (Newark Valley) Marty Sherman (Corinth), Dan Wickham (Unatego) and John Williams (Liverpool).

For more information contact Jack Stanbro- jstanbro@stny.rr.com and you can purchase tickets online at www.nywrestlinghof.ticketleap.com


 

Massapequa wrestling coach inducted into Hall of Fame
Massapequa Post newspaper article June 13, 2007

Longtime Massapequa High School Wrestling Coach Gary Mims has joined the ranks of some of the best. He's been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. But those who know Mims and who had the opportunity of his coaching, point out that Mims did more than coach his athletes about a sport. He taught them about life.

"Every athlete who Gary coached will tell you that," said James P. O'Rourke (class of '77). "What he taught went far beyond the sport itself. He taught 'life lessons' in an attempt to prepare all of us for the world in which we would be competing."

The consistent lessons included hard work, sacrifice, discipline, persistence, humility, respect the right way and the wrong way to be competitive and the right way to treat family, friends, teachers, he said. "He always stressed the importance of academics and he watched his student-athletes graduate and go on to succeed in a variety of endeavors through the application of these lessons- lessons that were reinforced by the example he set."

"Some coaches measure their success in terms of wins and losses or by how many athletes they coached who got college scholarships," said Mims in discuss- ing the honor. "I measure it in terms of teaching them about life because those are lessons that an athlete can take with them into anything they choose to do. Coaching is really about teaching."

Mims grew up in Freeport and moved to Massapequa in 1963 as an 11th grade student where he wrestled for Hall of Famer Coach Al Bevilacqua. He was a member of the football, wrestling and lacrosse teams, and in his senior year was elected captain of wrestling and lacrosse, becoming all league in both.

He began his college career at C.W. Post College on a partial lacrosse scholarship and participated in both sports for the Pioneers. He transferred to YanktonUniversity in South Dakota graduating with a bachelor's degree in education. In 1975, he earned a master's degree from C.W. Post.

He became a certified physical education teacher and returned to Massapequa, becoming a substitute teacher and part-time wrestling coach.

Massapequa High School recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of high school wrestling. During the annual Christmas Tournament, the oldest wrestling tournament on Long Island, the wrestling alumni and Parents Club sponsored an event honoring Mims on his retirement.

"Massapequa High School Wrestling has been blessed with having only three coaches the past 50 years, providing the continuity and sustained competitiveness during a very long tenure," said Al Bevilacqua.

In a message to Coach Mims printed in the Long Island Wrestling Journal, some of Massapequa's athletes said that the application of the lessons in life that Mims taught them is one of the cornerstones of success in virtually any field of endeavor.

"Your former wrestlers have gone on to achieve success in fields as diverse as business, medicine, the military and entertainment, due, in large part, to the foundation that you helped the build through Massapequa Wrestling," the message said.

"Each of us took away something important from the program," said Frank Seckler, who describes Mims as his high school mentor. "He was always there for his students and that meant a lot to each of us."

Meanwhile Mims record speaks for itself, they added, winning Conference, League, Sectional and State Championships. Since the inception of Conference Qualifying Championships, Mims teams have won every one of them, sustaining a quality of excellence that spans decades.

For the Coach, however, all of that is nice, but not essential. "I didn't go into coaching for the accolades," he said of the honor bestowed on him. "You go into it because you love what you are doing. I just happened to be fortunate to have worked in a great community and to have had a great group of kids."

www.massapequapost.com/news/2007/0613/Front_Page/003.html


Massapequa has a New Head Coach
September 2006

Massapequa wrestling is a program rich with history and tradition that dates back to the 1950’s. The Massapequa Wrestling program, comprised of all freshmen, began in 1952 under the leadership of Coach Len Connor.

In 1955, Bill Devaux took over as the head coach and managed the program through 1957, which included the first graduating class in 1956. John Haas officially took over as the head coach in 1958 and continued until 1962. Coach Haas developed a style and philosophy that became the building block of the program.

In 1963, former wrestler Al Bevilacqua took over as the head coach. Wrestling grew and flourished at Massapequa under the leadership and program development of Coach Bevilacqua.

Years later, another former wrestler, Gary Mims would become an assistant coach and help Coach Bevilacqua turn Massapequa into a wrestling powerhouse. Mims would go on to become the head coach in 1978 and guide the program through 28 successful years up until his retirement in 2006.

In 2006, Joe Catalanotto took over as head coach at Massapequa. Prior to 2006, Coach Catalanotto had been the Junior High coach for seven years and an assistant with both the Varsity and Junior Varsity programs at Massapequa. Coach Catalanotto wrestled for East Meadow High School where he was a Nassau County Champion, placed third in the New York State Tournament and amassed 98 wins during his career. After high school he attended Central Connecticut State for two years where he placed fifth at the East Coast Wrestling Association Championships in 1996. When Central Connecticut dropped its wrestling program he transferred to Hofstra where he went on to take first place at the ECWA Tournament, fourth place in the New York State Collegiate Championships and qualified for a trip to the NCAA Championships in 1997.


BEVILACQUAS NAMED W.I.N. IMPACT WINNERS
By Mike Finn, W.I.N. Editor, 2006

Like any father and sons, of two different generations who have different points of views, Al and Chris Bevilacqua have differing opinions to make wrestling better.
“It’s not the same passion that my father has,” said Chris, the former Penn State wrestler, who became better known for creating College Sports Television (CSTV). “I have more of a life’s passion, which is more holistic and balanced.
“His passion is singular and that’s why he has been great. My views of life have been broader.”
“My goal is to expand the base of wrestling,” said Al, one-time Hofstra coach who brought wrestling to the city of New York and its middle and high schools with his Beat The Streets program.
In the end, it’s their passion for the sport that unites them.
And that is a big reason they were named W.I.N.’s 2006 Impact Award winners.
“I am really excited about our 2006 Impact of the Year Award winners,” said W.I.N. publisher Bryan Van Kley. “You would be hard pressed to find a person with more passion and concern for the sport of wrestling than Al Bevilacqua.
“And the thing that I’ve always appreciated so much about Al is he doesn’t just look at what issues wrestling is facing right now. He has a unique ability to step back and look at the big picture. What kind of “outside of the box” things can we do now to make sure wrestling is healthy in 10, 25 or 50 years.
“That type of vision has also wore off on his son, Chris. And Chris has the modern-day education, youth and technical skills to take that kind of vision that his dad has and transfer that into opportunities in mainstream media.
“I distinctly remember several times last year talking to W.I.N. founder Mike Chapman where he would come into the International Wrestling Institute & Museum and say, ‘I can’t believe it. I sat down on my couch last night and watched two college teams from out East wrestle. That’s unprecedented for a weekday night.’
“Chris is the main person responsible for wrestling’s huge presence on that network. We may not realize for years the impact that is going to have.”
Chris said he used the same mentality he learned in wrestling to create CSTV at a time when ESPN was dominating the cable sports stations.
“There was the day-to-day grinding that I got from the sport,” said Chris. “I was one of those guys who talked about how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And the E in elephant stood for ESPN, which could not be eaten all at once.
“I had to keep scratching and clawing.
There is a special trait that all wrestlers could see if they dig deep within themselves.CSTV wasn’t successful because it was a good idea. It was successful from doing it.Competing against the media like ESPN and Fox is truly a David vs. Goliath story.”
Because of CSTV’s impact on college sports, including wrestling, the network was purchased last year by CBS. Chris is now working for a marketing firm in New York.
“My son gave wrestling a gift,” Al said.
“We have to hope and pray that they continue to cover college wrestling.”
The passion these two exchange is no different than when Al left his Hofstra head coaching position in 1978 to join the United States Wrestling Federation (which later became USA Wrestling) in Stillwater, Okla.
Now at age 67, Al still has the same passion for wrestling.
“It’s a great activity for kids,” Al said. “I did it for 35 years. I’m a teacher/coach. I’m not a coach/teacher. I use wrestling as a tool to create some great kids.”
And since 2005, when he and Bill Crum helped create the Beat the Streets program, they have seen wrestling come to over 40 high school and 120 middle school programs in the city of New York.
Al said he wants to raise enough money to put a wrestling mat in all 11,000 schools but wants to put an emphasis on New York’s middle schools.
“New York City started wrestling in 1973 with 25 programs,” Al said. “In 2006, they still only have 25 because they have no feeder programs. You put those kids at a disadvantage when they have to compete with Long Island kids.”
But Al is not as interested in creating elite programs in New York. Rather, he just wants the number of kids wrestling, even in an intramural or academic setting.
“There are 1.2 million students who will get a chance to try wrestling,” Al said. “I sell the principals on a very simple thing: I put a mat down and advertise you are going to have a wrestling program and the kids will come.
“The real benefits of what we are going to do is not going to take hold for another seven to eight years. Last year we had 500 kids in the program. This year we have 1,000 so it will take time for them to filter up into high school.”
Al said he would love to see the Beat the Streets program move to other urban areas in this country.
“We have 10,000 high school programs right now, which wrestle,” Al said. “There are 28,000 high schools so why not try to take your product to those 18,000 high schools (who don’t have wrestling). Most of them are in the urban area.
“Los Angeles doesn’t have much high school wrestling. San Francisco and Detroit don’t have it. Chicago has only 13 programs out of 65. Your large urban centers have very few sports to begin with.
“I would like to see someone take the model we created because the model is to try and get the Department of Education of everyone of these cities to bring in wrestling.”
With such passion, hopefully someone takes on the work of the Bevilacquas.
(You can also read this and other articles by subscribing to W.I.N. Magazine. Either contact our office at 1-888-305-0606 or subscribe through this website by selecting the “Subscribe” section on our front page.)


Al Bevilacqua named USA Wrestling Man of the Year
by Gary Abbott 04/06/2006

Al Bevilacqua of Amityville, N.Y., a longtime leader within wrestling at many levels, has been named Man of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. This award recognizes an outstanding man for his contributions to the sport of wrestling.

He is currently the Chairman of the innovative and successful Metropolitan Wrestling Association (MWA) Beat the Streets program, which is bringing wrestling to inner-city schools in the New York City area.

Through Bevilacqua’s leadership, the MWA Beat the Streets program is creating and funding wrestling teams in middle schools in New York City, where there has never been wrestling before. The program is funded through corporate and private donations, as well as sponsorship. Schools must be located that are willing to start a wrestling team, something that takes time and effort and commitment.

In the program, a middle school receives a wrestling mat. In addition, a coach is solicited and provided a stipend, and receives coaches education through the USA Wrestling National Coaches Education Program.

“All of the participants in the program are given t-shirts, shorts, Asics wrestling shoes, and wrestling equipment donated by Brute and Cliff Keen. Resilite and Dollamur are providing deeply discounted mats for all 20 schools. We would like to see 100 high schools and 100 middle schools by 2010 adding 8000 more kids to wrestling,” he said.

Starting with one model program, Baruch Middle School in Manhattan, N.Y., within a year the program has expanded to 20 middle schools within New York City. The success of the program has accelerated interest, and the MWA seeks to increase the number of schools that participate in the Beat the Streets program considerably in the future.

“If a product is good, people want to be a part of it,” said Bevilacqua. “We are selling it as a great activity for kids. Just give us an opportunity to put a mat in your school. Kids will come. They will be better students and better people. Our model school proved that it works.”

“There is nothing I have done in wrestling that equals this program,” he said. “The potential of this will have a major impact long after I am buried. If this creates a model for major urban centers, wrestling will grow tremendously. It is the last frontier for our sport. We need more people. We need to make it broad based.”

Some of the other things that Bevilacqua has been involved in is the creation of Wrestling Day in New York City, a celebration of the sport that brings people together. He has participated in the development of the Mayor’s Cup, a growing wrestling tournament in the city.

Bevilacqua manages two wrestling websites in the New York area, NYWrestling.com as well as the MWA’s website (mwausa.org). He also was one of the three individuals who were on the leadership team for the 2005 ASICS East Coast National Beach Wrestling Championships, the first major beach wrestling event in the nation. The East Coast Beach Nationals was a big success, with Bevilacqua handling marketing and promotions of the competition.

He also has been a volunteer wrestling coach at Massapequa High School in recent years, a school where he was previously the head wrestling coach and one of only three coaches in school history.

Bevilacqua has been involved with USA Wrestling since its early years of existence, going back to the formation of the organization as the U.S. Wrestling Federation. He has served in many capacities within USA Wrestling, including working on the national staff, serving as a state chairperson, serving as a member of the national coaching staff and working with state and regional teams and programs.

He was a high school wrestling coach with the successful Massapequa team from 1962-1977, helping build one of the most successful programs in Nassau County and within the state. He served two years at the head wrestling coach at Hofstra University, a Div. I program located in Hempstead, N.Y.

Bevilacqua was a member of the USA Wrestling National Coaching staff from 1983-1991, coaching top wrestlers on all levels. He served as a coach for the U.S. teams at the Junior World Championships, the Espoir World Championships and the World Cup. He also was the coach for the U.S. team that competed in the Tbilisi Championships in the former Soviet Union.

He was the USA Wrestling State Chairperson for New York from 1971-1979, and was the USA Wrestling Eastern Developmental Director from 1972-1979. Bevilacqua was a member of USA Wrestling’s Board of Directors from 1972 – 1986.

He also served for two years as an executive on the national staff for the U.S. Wrestling Federation, working as Assistant Director at the Stillwater, Okla. national headquarters from 1978-1980. The USWF received national governing body status for wrestling in 1983 and became USA Wrestling.

Bevilacqua received his bachelor’s degree from New York University, where he was a member of the wrestling team from 1957-1961. He competed with the New York Athletic Club team from 1960-1963. He received his masters degree from Queens College, and was in the doctoral program at New York University.

Bevilacqua served as an educator with the Massapequa Public Schools from 1961 – 1994. He was an Assistant Director of the National High School Coaches Association from 1996-1999. He has also been involved in other business activities that have impacted the wrestling community.

He was USA Wrestling’s Coach of the Year in 1983. He has received a Lifetime Service Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and has received a Special Service Award from U.S. Wrestling Federation. Among the Halls of Fame which he has been inducted are the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame , the New York University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Massapequa High School Hall of Fame.

He has been named MWA Man of the Year, and previously served as the chairman of the board for the MWA. Wrestling USA Magazine has named him Man of the Year.

“Of all my achievements, this one is up there,” said Bevilacqua. “I have received a USWF Special Service Award. This one finishes it off. I am an organizational guy, and this is very nice to have. I am proud that two of the last three winners of the USA Wrestling Man of the Year have been from the Metropolitan Wrestling Association. This is a group of people dedicated to wrestling and to USA Wrestling.”

Follow the link below to Ken Chertow article on Coach Bevilacqua:
http://www.kenchertow.com/coaches_corner/other_articles/al_bevilacqua.html


Massapequa Head Coach Gary Mims to be honored on his retirement
Massapequa Post newspaper article December 21,2005


As Massapequa High School celebrates its 50th Anniversary, it also reaches another milestone, Coach Gary Mims, Head Coach of the Massapequa High School Wrestling Team, has announced that he will retire at the end of this season.

Coach Mims has been a part of Massapequa High School for the majority of its 50 years. As a student at Massapequa High School, he wrestled for Coach Al Bevilacqua. After wrestling in college and obtaining his teaching degree, he returned to Massapequa as a Physical Education teacher. In 1969 Coach Mims became Coach Bevilacqua’s assistant wrestling coach and succeeded Coach Bevilacqua as the Head Coach of the wrestling team in 1978. After 27 years as Head Coach, Gary Mims is retiring. He is only the 3rd Head Coach of the wrestling team in Massapequa High School’s 50 year history. Over the years, Gary Mims also coached the Massapequa High School Football team and the Tennis team.

Coach Mims has lead the Massapequa wrestling team to win 9 Section 8 Team Championships, his 1998 team was the New York State Team Dual Meet Champions and he has coached 3 New York State Champions. In addition to their success on the mat, the Massapequa Wrestling Team has been the number 1 New York State Scholar Athlete Team for the last 3 years with a combined average of over 98% for each year.

The Wrestling Team’s Alumni Night will be Thursday, December 29th during the finals of the 43rd Annual Massapequa Christmas Tournament scheduled to start at 6:00 PM. Upon the completion of the Tournament at approximately 9:00 PM, the Booster Club is sponsoring a reception for Coach Mims at Sidekicks Restaurant on Park Blvd. in Massapequa Park. All Alumni are invited. Information about the alumni night can be found on the Massapequa Alumni website at www.MSD.K12.NY.US/ALUMNI.CFM under the 2005 class year. Please respond to CHIEFSWRESTLING@AOL.COM to let us know if you will attend so we can plan accordingly. The best tribute we can give to Coach Mims is to have all of his Alumni come out on December 29th to wish him well.

http://www.massapequapost.com/News/2005/1221/Front_Page/007.html


Al Bevilacqua
Founder of NYC Beat the Streets Wrestling Program

Al Bevilacqua has been involved with USA Wrestling since its early years of existence, going back to the formation of the organization as the U.S. Wrestling Federation. He has served in many capacities within USA Wrestling, including working on the national staff, serving as a state chairperson, serving as a member of the national coaching staff and working with state and regional teams and programs.
He was a high school wrestling coach with the successful Massapequa team from 1962-1977, helping build one of the most successful programs in Nassau County and within the state. He served two years at the head wrestling coach at Hofstra University, a Div. I program located in Hempstead, N.Y.
Bevilacqua was a member of the USA Wrestling National Coaching staff from 1983-1991, coaching top wrestlers on all levels. He served as a coach for the U.S. teams at the Junior World Championships, the Espoir World Championships and the World Cup. He also was the coach for the U.S. team that competed in the Tbilisi Championships in the former Soviet Union in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988
He was the USA Wrestling State Chairperson for New York from 1971-1979, and was the USA Wrestling Eastern Developmental Director from 1972-1979. Bevilacqua was a member of USA Wrestling's Board of Directors from 1972 - 1986.
He also served for two years as an executive on the national staff for the U.S. Wrestling Federation, working as Assistant Director at the Stillwater, Okla. national headquarters from 1978-1980. The USWF received national governing body status for wrestling in 1983 and became USA Wrestling.
Bevilacqua received his bachelor's degree from New York University, where he was a member of the wrestling team from 1957-1961. He competed with the New York Athletic Club team from 1960-1963. He received his masters degree from Queens College, and was in the doctoral program at New York University.
Bevilacqua served as an educator with the Massapequa Public Schools from 1961 - 1994. He was an Assistant Director of the National High School Coaches Association from 1996-1999. He has also been involved in other business activities that have impacted the wrestling community.
He was USA Wrestling's Coach of the Year in 1983. He has received a Lifetime Service Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and has received a Special Service Award from U.S. Wrestling Federation.
Among the Halls of Fame which he has been inducted are the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame , the New York University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Massapequa High School Hall of Fame.
Massapequa High School Coach
Hofstra University Coach
USA Wrestling National Coach
Junior World Team Coach
Tbilisi Games Coach
New York State Chairperson for USA Wrestling
Asst. Director - National High School Wrestling Coaches Association
USA Wrestling Eastern Development Director
USA Wrestling Board of Directors
USA Wrestling Coach of the Year
National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award
US Wrestling Federation Vice President
US Wrestling Federation Special Service Award
Metropolitan Wrestling Association Man of the Year
Wrestling USA Magazine Man of the Year
WIN Magazine Impact Award Winner
Endless Camps & Clinics
Founder- Beat the Streets Wrestling Program



1999

Massapequa Takes Title, 1999
By Gregg Sarra. STAFF WRITER NEWSDAY

It was the feature bout of the night: Massapequa's Tom Katsigiorgis and Freeport's Terry Brown at 189 pounds. It was the pivotal match in what was a terrific dual meet for the Nassau County Conference I-A wrestling championship last night at Berner Junior High School in Massapequa.

Who would have thought Freeport, with only one starting senior, could take powerful Massapequa to the brink of defeat? After all, the Chiefs drubbed Freeport by 27 points for the Conference I regular-season dual-meet title a week ago. Katsigiorgis used two takedowns and a third-period uncontested escape to edge Brown, 5-4, and give Massapequa a 28-19 lead in its 31-19 victory and the overall county Conference I-A dual-meet title. Massapequa (13-1) unseats Long Beach as the county champion. "I was disappointed that I didn't get to wrestle him last week," Katsigiorgis said, referring to Freeport coach Terry Haise electing not to wrestle Brown after Massapequa had already sealed the win. "I knew I had to go out hard because he's so tough. I was definitely ready for him." Katsigiorgis' victory snapped a personal two-match losing streak to Brown. Katsigiorgis lost to Brown in the final of the both the Massapequa and Freeport tournaments this season, once by a point and the other in overtime. Both wrestlers are favorites for the 189-pound crown in the county individual tournament Feb. 15-16. The two seemed ready for overtime again last night, but Katsigiorgis held off Brown. The significance of the bout was not lost on Katsigiorgis. "I needed to beat him before the county tournament," Katsigiorgis said. "I was mentally ready and that made a difference." Brown, who allowed an uncontested escape with 1:11 left in the third period to give Katsigiorgis a 5-3 lead, was disappointed but believes the two will meet again. "Hopefully, we both make it to the county final," he said. "He wrestled well today. It wasn't one of my better matches."

Freeport (12-2) wrestled exceptionally well. The Red Devils erased the memory of a 39-12 loss last week to Massapequa and stayed with the Chiefs until the end. The momentum that Massapequa built early quickly disappeared as Freeport made a charge through the middleweights. Massapequa won five consecutive bouts to open the meet to take a commanding 18-0 lead before Freeport reeled off four straight wins to take a 19-18 lead. Suddenly, the Red Devils were on the verge of a spectacular turnaround in a week's time.

"I'm very pleased with our performance," said Haise, who has 12 underclassmen in the starting lineup. "We still made some young mistakes, but we saw a lot of improvement." Massapequa sophomore Pat Callahan used a third-period escape and then held off sophomore Kwamdar Warren to pull out a 4-3 win in the 160-pound class. Warren narrowly missed taking a 5-3 lead at the end of the second period when it looked like he gained a takedown just before time expired. After a short visit to the scorer's table referee Marc Piven ruled the points off. The win gave the Chiefs a 21-19 lead and Walter Chomicki's 15-5 victory over Tim Jeffries at 171 made it 25-19.

"Freeport wrestled much better," Massapequa coach Gary Mims said. "I expected it to be a good dual meet."


1998 New York State Dual Meet Champions

Massapequa’s 1997-98 wrestling team was considered by most coaches at that time to be the best Chiefs squad ever. The Chiefs had ten returning county place-winners, including 96 lb Champion Jerold Limongelli and four runners-up -- Joe Allen (112), Luke Palmisano (125), Wes Blauberg (145) and Damien Armella (152). That year the Chiefs traveled to Hampton Virginia to participate in the National Invitational Team Wrestling Championships, considered to be the finest dual meet tournament in the nation. That season Massapequa steamrolled much of the regions competition on their way to winning their second straight Nassau County (Section 8) Dual Meet Championship. Along the way the Chiefs defeated top ranked Longwood and highly regarded Johnson City from upstate New York. The match against Longwood was at home before a standing room only crowd of approximately 1,100. The chiefs came away with a 31-22 win, but it was much closer than the score made it seem. Longwood’s Finerty was up 4-0 against Allen in the 112 pound bout with just 12 seconds remaining in the match when the referee declared Finerty pinned. This created a nine-point swing in the team score and erased what would have been a 25-25 tie. Massapequa went on to win the Nassau County (Section 8) Tournament crowning four champions -- Jerold Limongelli (103), Ryan Kelly (112), Wes Blauberg (140) and Tom Katsigiorgis (189). Other place winners were Vinny D’Agostino (Runner-up 215), Luke Palmisano (3rd 125), John Longo (4th 215), Frank Lamagna (6th 130) and Walt Chomicki (6th 171). At the New York State Championships Limongelli placed 2nd, Kelly 4th and Blauberg 3rd. The depth and strength of this squad was exemplified by the group of seniors who were part of this very special team -- Corey McNamara, Walter Chomicki, Brendan Mims, Justin McCormack, Jonathon Mencher, Peter Kasim, Joey Allen, Wes Blauberg, Frank Lamagna, Jason Broder, Damien Armella, Luke Palmisano, Jerold Limongelli, Mike Maloney and Chris Hamilton. Congratulations to the all the members and coaches of the 1997-98 Massapequa Chiefs, New York State Dual Meet Champions.

The FOMW celebrated the tenth anniversary of the '1997-98' team at the 2007-08 Holiday tournament & alumni night.


Massapequa is about to venture where no Long Island team has gone before. The Chiefs will take part in the National Invitational Team Wrestling Championships at the Virginia Duals in Hampton this weekend. "They're working their tails off and know what to expect when we get there," Massapequa coach Gary Mims said. "We're very excited about the tournament. These kids deserve to be a part of the finest team tournament in the country. We've been a good team for years and now we'll see where we stand nationally." Massapequa, which has won two straight county tournaments and four of the last five dual-meet championships, returns five county finalists and has a wealth of experience. The Chiefs are seeded fifth and will face Camden (N.J.) Catholic in Friday's first round at 11 a.m. at Hampton Coliseum.


Simply put, the Massapequa wrestling team is loaded. Some coaches have even gone as far as to say that it's the best Chiefs squad of all time. And that's not a reach. Massapequa returns 10 county place-winners, including 96-pound champion Jerold Limongelli and four wrestlers who finished as runners-up. That kind of experience and talent makes the Chiefs a heavy favorite to win their fifth county team title in six years and third consecutive dual-meet championship. Limongelli will move up to the 103-pound class and seek his second county title. Second-place finishers Joe Allen (112), Luke Palmisano (125), Wes Blauberg (145) and Damien Armella (152) are favored to win their respective classes. Massapequa's Tom Katsiogiorgis (189), who finished third a year ago, is also a serious contender for a county title.


1997-98 NASSAU TOP 10 RANKINGS:
DUAL MEET
1. Massapequa
2. Freeport
3. East Meadow
4. Division
5. Bellmore JFK
6. Seaford
7. Bethpage
8. Mepham
9. Valley Stream South
10. Long Beach

TOURNAMENT
1. Massapequa
2. Freeport
3. East Meadow
4. Bethpage
5. Mepham
6. Division
7. Farmingdale
8. Valley Stream South
9. Baldwin
10. Long Beach

1998 New York State Championships
Jerold Limongelli - 2nd 103 lbs
Ryan Kelly - 4th 112 lbs
Wes Blauberg - 3rd 140 lbs

1998 Nassau County (Section VIII) Championship Tournament
(4 champions, 6 finalists, 10 place winners)
Jerold Limongelli – Champion 103 lbs
Ryan Kelly – Champion 112 lbs
Wes Blauberg – Champion 140 lbs
Tom Katsigiorgis – Champion 189 lbs
Joe Allen – Runner-up 112 lbs
Vinny D’Agostino – Runner-up 215 lbs
Luke Palmisano – 3rd 125 lbs
John Longo – 4th 215 lbs
Frank Lamagna – 6th 130 lbs
Walt Chomicki – 6th 171 lbs

1998 Seniors
1998 Team Photo
1998 Dual Meet action - Coach Mims
1998 Wes Blauberg
Jerold Limongelli at NYS Championships 1998


Nassau and Suffolk were separated into two sections in the 1957-58 season and all winners in their respective county meet were designated county champions. Prior to that, wrestlers from schools in Nassau and Suffolk competed in the same tournament with the winner crowned Long Island champion. This Long Island tournament was first held in 1933 at great High School and was called the Great Neck Invitational. This tournament was held from 1933-1937 except for 1935. In 1938 Mepham High school held its first tournament- the Mepham Invitational and every team on Long Island and Queens was invited to it. In 1941 The Mepham Invitational became the official Section VIIITournament. Long Island was one section of NYSPHSAA until 1957-58 when Suffolk County became Section XI. Mepham, under legdendary coach Frank "Sprig" Gardner, won the Mepham Invitational every year from 1938-1955. (Gardner's record as coach at Mepham was 254-5-1.) The first state intersectional tournament was held in 1962-63. The first Suffolk County tournament was held in 1934. The tournament was held for 9 years from 1934-1942. It wasn't held from 1943-1948 due to gas rationing during WW II. The tournament was restarted in 1949 and for 6 years (1949-1954) was called The Eastern Long Island Championships. In 1955 the tournament's name was changed to the Suffolk County High School Wrestling Championships.
Compiled by Andy Slawson
Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.




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