By Jim Carlson
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – You can find former Penn State wrestling coach Rich Lorenzo in a number of places around State College. Walking the trails that surround the university’s golf courses or the corridors of stately Rec Hall come to mind. But on the day of a home match during the college wrestling season, he is found on the upper level of Rec Hall, leaning on the rail that separates Section S2U from the running track.
Perhaps the standing-room-only spot that actually sports his name on the rail isn’t fitting for wrestling royalty, because Lorenzo recently was named to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his lifetime involvement in a sport that has given him the time of his life. But he wouldn’t trade that spot for a reserved seat because everyone he cares about and those who care about him – and that number is nearly limitless – know where he is on match days.
Lorenzo holds court with former wrestlers and friends and random fans who feel compelled to climb the building’s steep steps just to say hello and see what’s on his mind before he settles in to watch that day’s contest. As he looks down on the blue and white mat with the Nittany Lion logo in the middle, he is appreciative that he was and is a part of the program that has escalated to heights that he actually could imagine during his days as a wrestler and a coach, but for many reasons wasn’t able to reach.