Goodale oversees first All-American in six-year tenure
There are few places where one would want a season to end than at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in March.
For the Rutgers wrestling team, at least for the last decade or so, there has been no reason for any Scarlet Knights to stick around the last day of the NCAAs. Usually head coach Scott Goodale watches on for the parade of All-Americans without his own podium spot.
That was until this past season.
Sophomore 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti earned the first spot on the podium for the first time since the 2002 season and the first under Goodale.
Goodale’s and Rutgers’ success during the regular season at the EIWA Conference Championships and qualifying for the NCAAs was finally validated by Perrotti’s All-American status.
For his triumphs this past season, and getting over the hump for his first All-American, Goodale is The Daily Targum’s Honorary Coach of the Year.
The season was a productive one for Goodale, who said Rutgers made strides as it transitions into the Big Ten conference next season.
“It was a big step for our program — a step that we needed to take. We really wrestled well at the end of the year, which is what you want to do,” Goodale said. “In the most important times you want to wrestle your best. I was excited about that and I was excited about how the youth handled going into a full season for the first time.”
With an 11-5 record in dual meets and wrestling to a 7-2 mark against EIWA opponents — with their only losses coming to Lehigh and Cornell — the Knights finished a successful regular season.
Rutgers continued it into the conference tournament with a pair of third-place finishes from Perrotti and sophomore 149-pounder Ken Theobold, who both won the wrestlebacks bracket.
Sophomore heavyweight Billy Smith placed as the runner-up at 285 pounds to round out the automatic qualifications for the Knights.
With a roster sporting only three upperclassmen, Goodale was able to get the most out of his young team, Perrotti said, which stems from his coaching style.
“Coach Goodale is a really good coach, but what’s special about him is he finds ways to motivate everyone in different ways, because not everyone is the same,” Perrotti said. “It’s easier to connect with Coach Goodale and he reacts to the way you like to be coached. He’s a coach that will cheer for you and that’s what makes him a good coach. He is able to motivate everyone.”
Goodale was able to make the most of a season where only seniors Dan Seidenberg and Vinnie Dellefave, along with junior Nick Visicaro, made up the upperclassmen.
Several underclassmen grapplers, many making their career debuts, performed well, a situation that made the season unique for Goodale.
“There were a lot of freshman in the lineup and they got better toward the end,” Goodale said. “That’s really the most unique of it all. You don’t know what you are going to get going into the season and all of a sudden they come out of nowhere and have a really good dual meet season, a very good EIWAs and a special national tournament.”
The significance of the season lies on the All-American Perrotti.
While Perrotti going on to place eighth at the NCAAs to secure a podium spot seems like an individual accomplishment, it is as much a testament to Goodale and the rest of the team, Theobold said.
“Overall as a team I think we did really good. We had a lot of individual success, such as Anthony Perrotti [becoming an] All-American,” Theobold said. “Which that right there is a team success, too, because it took everyone on the team to help him, train with him and the whole team came behind Perrotti when he was at Nationals.”
But just because Goodale and the Knights enjoyed a successful 2013-14 season does not mean they are done.
Goodale wants to keep improving as Rutgers moves into the Big Ten.
“We just have to keep getting better. Conditioning doesn’t leave, just because we had some success, the training can’t end,” Goodale said. “We have to do a good job this spring of training, continuing to get better and jumping levels. We have to improve and there has to be a sense of urgency to develop more toughness, strength and out skills. That’s the biggest thing we are working on: a sense of urgency to get better.”
Rutgers head women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, who finished first in The Daily Targum’s Coach of the Year voting, was unavailable for comment because of ongoing contract negotiations.