|Sciacchetano to receive Order of Merit from National Wrestling Hall of Fame|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
STILLWATER, Okla. - Former USA Wrestling president Larry Sciacchetano of Baton Rouge, La. has received the Order of Merit from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Order of Merit is presented to an individual who has made significant contribution to the advancement of wrestling, other than success as an athlete or coach. The winner is selected by a vote of the Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Sciacchetano is currently the United States' representative on the FILA Bureau, the governing council of the international wrestling federation. The FILA Bureau manages international wrestling, which includes the Olympic styles of freestyle and Greco-Roman, as well as other styles under FILA's management.
He is currently the President of the FILA Hall of Fame Commission, and was a driving force for the development of a Hall of Fame for international wrestling. Under Sciacchetano's leadership, FILA named the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater as the site of the FILA Hall of Fame, and three classes of international stars have been inducted. There is also an internet website for the FILA Hall of Fame which Sciacchetano helped develop and maintain.
Other FILA Commissions that Sciacchetano has served on include the Promotions Commission, the TV and Marketing Commission, the Coaches Commission and the Internet Hall of Fame Commission.
Sciacchetano has twice been awarded the FILA Gold Star, the top honor in international wrestling, both in 1991 and 1995. He also earned the FILA Merit of Honor Award in 2000. He is a former Secretary of the Pan American Amateur Wrestling Committee (CPLA).
Sciacchetano served two terms as president of USA Wrestling, from 1994-98. During his tenure, the USA won the 1995 World Team Title in freestyle wrestling in Atlanta, Ga., and captured the most freestyle wrestling medals of any nation at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. Under his leadership, USA Wrestling experienced growth in its membership at all levels as well as an expansion of its programs and services to the membership.
In 1998, he led the U.S. delegation to compete at the Takhti Cup in Tehran, Iran. It was the first U.S. sports team to travel to Iran to compete in close to 20 years, since the Iranian Revolution. The U.S. tour was reported in the international media. The visit was a major success, and the USA returned months later to compete at the 1998 World Freestyle Championships in Tehran. Sciacchetano was selected to oversee the World Championships that year in Iran.
Sciacchetano was also a tremendous wrestling coach on the college level, as well as within international freestyle wrestling circles.
He served as assistant coach of the 1993 U.S. World Team, which won the first World Team Title for the United States. He has also taken numerous U.S. teams on tours to foreign nations for competition. He served as Team Leader of the 1994 U.S. Freestyle World Team, which competed in Istanbul, Turkey.
Sciacchetano coached nine years at Louisiana State (1975-85), leading the Tigers to seven Southeast Conference titles and two eighth-place finishes at the NCAA Tournament. He was head wrestling coach at Montclair State and New York Maritime College. He was twice named NCAA National Coach of the Year (1970, 1975) and was the NCAA National Rookie Coach of the Year in 1965.
He coached the Syrian wrestling team at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, and assisted the U.S. staff at the 1992 Olympic Games. He coached numerous champions for the New York Athletic Club. Sciacchetano served five years as State Chairperson of New Jersey in the early 1970s, and has also written three books on wrestling.
As an athlete, he was an undefeated high school wrestler in New Jersey, and won NCAA All-America honors three times in the College Division for Montclair State. He was a finalist in both styles at the 1964 Olympic Trials.
Originally from Teaneck, N.J., he now serves as CEO of Pentagon Petroleum, Inc., a successful international oil exploration company based in Baton Rouge, La.