Frank Molinaro Joins Arizona State Coaching Staff

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From Arizona State Athletics

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State head wrestling coach Zeke Jones announced the addition of former four-time All-American and 2016 Olympian Frank Molinaro to the coaching staff on Thursday. 

Jones had the following to say.

"Frank Molinaro is an outstanding addition to our staff and will now leave his mark by adding to the history and tradition of Sun Devil Wrestling. As an NCAA, Pan Am, and World Cup Champion, and one who also represented his country on the 2016 US Olympic team - he has competed at the highest level and will share those experiences. He also has a considerable track record as an assistant coach. We look forward to watching him guide our team." 

Most recently, Molinaro trained with Oklahoma RTC to prepare for a chance at making it back on Team USA's roster for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo before the Olympic Committee announced postponement of the games to 2021. Now, he hangs up his wrestling shoes and will make his way back into coaching with the Sun Devils after previously working as an assistant coach with Virginia Tech in 2017-2018. 

This is a dream job for Molinaro.

"This has always been my dream job since I was a kid. If someday I can pick a place where I can live and settle down to coach wrestling, it's Arizona State. I'm chomping at the bit to get to work and make some progress."  

"I am excited to work with Zeke (Jones) and coach (Lee) Pritts. They have a ton of experience and they have a great pedigree of success. I'm joining a staff with two really good coaches and also the opportunity to be able to win an NCAA Championship. Arizona State's trajectory has gone up every single year and I feel like I can bring a lot of enthusiasm, energy, experience, and a positive impact as soon as possible to this team."

During his time in Blacksburg, he played a key role in the development of four individual ACC champions while also helping guide the Hokies to their second consecutive ACC title and a top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships. He was particularly instrumental in the growth of Jared Haught (197), who would go on to make a run to the 2018 NCAA finals.

While as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, he also competed with the Southeast Regional Training Center in Christiansburg, VA, where he would go on to place second at the World Team Trials in 2017 and take home a bronze medal at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix at 70 kg.   

Molinaro would make his way back to Happy Valley in 2014 as a volunteer assistant under Nittany Lions head coach Cael Sanderson. He would go on to help lead Penn State to their sixth NCAA team title in 2016.

Prior to working at his alma mater, Penn State, he began his collegiate coaching career at Rutgers University in 2011-2012 and spent two seasons with the Scarlett Knights. In his time at Rutgers, he helped coach the program to its first All-American finish since 2002. 

Before he began coaching, Molinaro imprinted his name on the international stage of wrestling. At the Olympic Trials in 2016, he ran the table as a nine seed at 65 kg, knocking off four-time World Team member Brent Metcalf, four-time NCAA Champion Logan Stieber and young phenom Aaron Pico to claim the top spot. A bronze finish at the Last Chance Qualifier and two disqualifications later secured his name into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Jairo.  

In Rio, he would wrestle his way to the quarterfinals where he would fall to eventual silver medalist Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan. He finished his Olympic run winning five of six matches to claim fifth place at 65 kg for Team USA's men's freestyle team. 

During his collegiate wrestling career at Penn State, he won an NCAA Championship at 149 lbs. in his final season with the Nittany Lions, capping off a perfect 33-0 record. He ended his college wrestling career as a four-time NCAA Division l All-American, a two-time NCAA finalist, and a two-time Big Ten Champion. He became just the fifth four-time All-American in Penn State's history. 

Molinaro graduated from Penn State with a degree in criminal justice while also minoring in kinesiology and business. He and his wife, Kera have three sons, Kason, Frank Jr., and Weston. Both of his wife's parents graduated from ASU, including her father, Kerry Bolen, who most notably wrestled under Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Douglas. 

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