Derek Valenti, 2011 NCAA All-American wrestler for the University of Virginia, has joined the Cavalier coaching staff as a volunteer assistant, the Charlottesville, Va. school announced Thursday.
Valenti, who wrestled at Virginia from 2008-13, earned All-American honors by taking eighth place at 149 pounds at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Valenti was a three-time NCAA qualifier, wrestling at 141 pounds in 2010, then at 149 in 2011 and 2013. In addition, the native of Newton, N.J. was the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) runner-up at 149 pounds in 2011 and 2013, accumulating an overall record of 95-45 as a Cavalier.
Valenti joins a trio of fellow former All-Americans on the Virginia coaching staff: head coach Steve Garland (an All-American for the Cavaliers), and assistant coaches Alex Clemsen (Edinboro All-American) and Jordan Leen (Cornell University).
“Derek joining our staff is a dream come true for me,” Garland said. “Every coach loves the idea of one of his own coming back to further work with the program he helped build. Derek was part of one of our most successful recruiting classes here and went on to have an outstanding career. He not only was an All-American here, but more importantly was a great student and leader in this athletics department. Derek knows our system and is the prototypical guy you want in and around your program.”
“I am excited to be able to spend another year here at Virginia and am thankful that Coach Garland and the other coaches have welcomed me back,” Valenti said. “Coach Garland has been a great mentor for me through my five years as a student-athlete and I look forward to learning more from him in the office and as a coach. I am also looking forward to developing our wrestlers into successful athletes as well as students.”
Valenti earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Virginia in 2012 and a master’s degree in environmental science this past spring.
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