Valenti tapped to succeed Reina as wrestling coach in 2025

On April 1, 2025, Penn Athletics Hall of Famer and two-time NCAA wrestling champion Matt Valenti will succeed Roger Reina as head coach of the Quakers.

Matt Valenti, left, and Roger Reina sit on a blue bleacher bench inside the Palestra.
Current Penn wrestling coach Roger Reina, right, and future Penn wrestling coach Matt Valenti. (Image: Penn Athletics)

The torch is being passed from Penn wrestling’s all-time winningest coach to its all-time winningest student-athlete.

Two-time NCAA wrestling champion, 2007 alumnus, and Penn Athletics Hall of Famer Matt Valenti will return to coaching effective immediately as associate head coach and will succeed Roger Reina as the program’s head coach on April 1, 2025. Reina, a 1984 alumnus, will remain the head coach in 2024-25, culminating in Penn’s co-hosting of the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center, and will serve as head coach emeritus for his final year of coaching in 2025-26.

“I am absolutely thrilled for Matt, Roger, and our wrestling program that we were able to successfully and thoughtfully plan for this leadership transition,” says Alanna Shanahan, the T. Gibbs Kane, Jr. W‘69 Director of Athletics and Recreation. “The opportunity for these two alumni to work together for two years will be powerful and impactful for our student-athletes.”

Valenti is the program’s career leader in wins (137) and won NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007 at 133 pounds. He was a three-time NCAA All-American, a three-time EIWA champion, a three-time First-Team All-Ivy selection, and the 2007 Ivy League Wrestler of the Year. Valenti was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017 and the EIWA Hall of Fame in 2014.

“As a proud alumnus, it is a tremendous honor to step into a leadership role with the Penn wrestling program,” Valenti says. “Roger’s legacy is unparalleled, and I am committed to continuing and enhancing the tradition of excellence that he has cultivated through the years. Together with the Penn wrestling team, alumni, staff, and community, I look forward to forging a path of continued success both on and off the mat.”

Also a member of the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame, Reina will conclude his coaching career following the 2025-26 season as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA wrestling history. His career record is currently 248-144 (.633). He originally led the Quakers from 1986-2005 before returning as head coach in 2017.

Valenti began his coaching career as an assistant and then associate head coach at Columbia from 2007-09. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant wrestling coach from 2009-15. At Penn, he coached four All-Americans (Scott Giffin, Zack Kemmerer, Micah Burak, and Lorenzo Thomas), two EIWA champions (Bryan Ortenzio, Micah Burak), and eight First-Team All-Ivy honorees in addition to recruiting a pair of top 20 classes.