Caterisano steps down as Spartanburg Methodist coach

By Ed Welch | March 24, 2006, 4:48 p.m. (ET)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Three years ago, Spartanburg Methodist College saw a need to enter intercollegiate wrestling, and Tony Caterisano was a custom-fit to jump-start the new program.

The college recently announced that Caterisano turned in a letter of resignation, citing a desire to focus more on his family and additional duties at Furman University, where he has continued to serve as a full-time faculty member while coaching the Pioneers.

"We were simply elated when Tony surfaced during the search for our initial wrestling coach and have been delighted with the accomplishments of the team under his leadership and the type of young men he has recruited to represent SMC," said Danny Philbeck, Vice President for Enrollment Management at SMC. Philbeck continued that Caterisano's thorough knowledge of wrestling and his reputation with fellow coaches have been "invaluable" to the young program.

"The fact that he took the SMC program to such prominence in such a short time led three other colleges in the state to start wrestling programs," Philbeck added.

When the team began their first season in 2003, SMC was one of only three Colleges in South Carolina with intercollegiate wrestling. The Pioneers Wrestling Team had a record of 22-12 over the last three years. During Caterisano's tenure, 117 student athletes were recruited to the College. Of those, 28 student athletes qualified for Sectional Tournaments and 19 athletes qualified for the NJCAA National Championships. Wrestler Charles Bugarin also earned All-American status at the 2005 National Championships. Philbeck is pleased that many of these student-athletes earned wrestling scholarships at four-year colleges because of their performance at SMC.

"We will miss Tony greatly and the leadership he has provided for our fledgling program, but we certainly understand his reasons for leaving," said Philbeck. A search has begun for a new wrestling coach. This is a priority for SMC since recruiting of high school wrestlers typically peaks during the spring.