Joe Benvenuti and his valued assistant Brian Kapral (right).
Passaic Valley wrestling coach Joe Benvenuti was named the District 8 Coach of the Year, by his peers, at last weekend’s championship matches.
It was the fourth time that Benvenuti has been so honored by his respective district. He was a three-time District 13 winner, with two of the awards coming when Benvenuti was the head coach at West Essex. In 2010, Benvenuti was named Coach of the Year at District 13 and Region 4, while at Passaic Valley.
The humbled Benvenuti, who won his 200th career match as a head coach last December against Nutley, credited the award to the PV wrestling program.
“There’s no way this happens without the help of a great coaching staff,” said Benvenuti. “Brian Kapral has been with me for many years and is as good as they get. Needless to say, my brother, Michael, is someone I can always rely on. And (former PV standout wrestler) Nick Pezzano has done a great job on the coaching staff, too. We have great kids here, tremendous parental support, as well as a good feeder program of young kids who learn the sport and then carry that success into the high school program.
Joe Benvenuti and his family, following the coach’s 200th career win last December. (Click on photo for larger image)
“This is all about a program which produces tough kids on the mat and good kids, off it. And that’s the part which makes me so proud.”
Benvenuti led PV to a 15-8 record this season, including wins over four programs that captured NJSIAA sectional championships a year ago. In addition, Benvenuti, a PV graduate and former wrestler for the Hornets, guided Passaic Valley to a state sectional crown in 2010 and 2016. He’s also coached multiple wrestlers to state medals, both at PV and West Essex.
“I’ve learned a lot being around coaches Chet Parlavecchio and Anthony Minnella,” said Benvenuti. “They told me to surround myself with loyalty, first, when it came to coaching, and things would work out. And that’s been the case, for sure.”
Benvenuti also credited his wife, Suzanne, along with his parents and children, for their support.
“My family has always been there, and without their support, I wouldn’t be able to put the time in that I do. I can’t thank them enough,” said Benvenuti.
Benvenuti is well respected by opposing coaches, as well.
“Joe is a class act,” said Wayne Valley head coach Todd Schroeder. “He runs a tremendous program, with hard-nosed kids. We have a great rivalry with them, and that’s because of Joe, and his staff. I couldn’t think of a more worthy recipient than Joe to receive this award.”