Olympic Champion, and Team USA Olympic Coach Brandon Slay returns to Pennsylvania as Executive Director & Head Coach of the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center
PHILADELPHIA --University of Pennsylvania alumnus Brandon Slay, a gold medalist in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will assume responsibilities as Executive Director and Head Coach of the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center based in Philadelphia. Slay graduated from Penn’s prestigious Wharton School of Business in 1998, with a dual concentration in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management. He has served as National Freestyle Development & Resident Coach for USA Wrestling since 2008.
The Pennsylvania Regional Training Center (PRTC), established in August of 2014, is a designated Regional Training Center (RTC) by USA Wrestling under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The PRTC is the only one of its kind in the nation – a collaboration of Philadelphia’s two NCAA Division I programs with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University serving as the designated training sites. The Pennsylvania RTC will serve as an elite training organization for three age group levels, including Olympic, collegiate, and scholastic wrestlers.
“The collaboration between Penn and Drexel presents a tremendous opportunity, providing twice the number of college coaches, twice the number of college athletes, and shared infrastructure,” stated Slay.
By regulation, RTC’s are permitted to attract qualified athletes from within a 250-mile radius. Slay added, “There is no better hotbed in the nation of youth, scholastic, and collegiate wrestling than the 250-mile radius around Penn and Drexel. This fact puts us in position to build something very unique, and very special at the Pennsylvania RTC.”
The impact on opportunities for Penn and Drexel’s programs is significant.Alex Tirapelle, head coach at Penn, stated, “I'm excited for Penn’s program to work with and learn from Brandon. He has reached the pinnacle of our sport as both a coach and a competitor, all the while displaying the type of character we expect from our student-athletes and coaches. The leadership and experience he brings to the Pennsylvania RTC will have an immediate impact on international, collegiate, and scholastic wrestling in our region. I cannot imagine a better fit for this position.”
Matt Azevedo, head coach at Drexel, added, "The Pennsylvania RTC has created a unique opportunity for Drexel wrestlers to train side-by-side with Penn wrestlers and some of the nation’s top Olympic hopefuls. I strongly believe that freestyle training is an important part of any wrestler’s overall development. That’s why I am so excited for Brandon Slay to be the new PRTC Executive Director & Head Coach. He has the ability to make the PRTC one the most influential and successful RTCs in the country, and serve the local scholastic and club community. Brandon is an amazing leader and he will bring a wealth of knowledge to share with our athletes and coaches.”
Slay, one of the coaches leading Team USA to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, noted that five of the eight 2015 USA Wrestling Freestyle World Team members hailed from within the Pennsylvania RTC’s training radius. Former Penn Head Coach Roger Reina, currently the President and Chairman of the Board of the PRTC and Senior Associate Athletic Director at Penn, added “The wrestling ecosystem in our region includes the PRTC collaboration between Penn and Drexel, the impressive youth and scholastic wrestling communities, combined with the outstanding mission of Beat The Streets Philly (which has introduced 22 new school wrestling programs in Philadelphia and Camden, serving over 1,200 student-athletes). These communities provide a powerful environment like no other in the United States.”
“With Brandon coming to lead the Pennsylvania RTC, we envision furthering opportunities for members of our community to advance their national and international aspirations in the sport of amateur wrestling, as well as serve the community on and off the mats,” stated Clinton Matter, a teammate of Brandon’s on record-setting Penn teams in the late 90’s, Vice President of the PRTC, Chairman of Beat The Streets Philly, and a hedge fund manager for Weiss Associates in New York City. “This is a very exciting moment in time for the sport of wrestling in the United States and our region.”
Penn’s Matt Valenti, a two-time NCAA Champion and 2012 Olympic Trials placewinner, added, “This is an sensational opportunity for the PRTC, Penn, Drexel and the Mid-Atlantic Region. Brandon’s accolades alone– Olympic champion, two-time NCAA finalist and Penn alumnus – are enough to inspire local student-athletes and coaches. Yet it is the character traits behind those accomplishments that will truly lay the foundation for success of the PRTC. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated, humble and genuine person to lead this program toward a very bright future."
Penn’s famous Palestra, in Greek literal translation meaning “House of Wrestling,” was Slay’s home arena throughout college. “The Palestra has been a destination venue for terrific scholastic, collegiate and international events over the years,” Slay said. These include 3 NWCA College All Star Meets, 2 USA Wrestling World Team Trials, the 1992 Olympic Team Trials, and this past year FloWrestling’s Who’s #1 Dual Meet Championships. “The PRTC will look to bring major events to Philadelphia and the Palestra. The fan base in our region is second to none,” Slay added.
Slay will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, as a Distinguished Member, on June 5, 2016 in Stillwater, Okla. During Slay’s collegiate career at Penn, his accomplishments included two appearances in the NCAA finals, a pair of EIWA championships, and two Ivy League Wrestler of the Year honors. In addition, Slay won every age group national freestyle title available including Espoir National Freestyle and Greco Roman Champion, University National Freestyle Champion, US Open Freestyle National Champion and Outstanding Wrestler, and Olympic Champion.
“For the Pennsylvania RTC, it's time to reimagine the possible,” stated Slay.
For more information, contact the Pennsylvania RTC at pennsylvaniartc.org.