Big Ten

BJ Futrell To Join Penn Coaching Staff

BJ Futrell To Join Penn Coaching Staff

BJ Futrell is a huge addition to the coaching staff at Penn.

Jul 8, 2021 by Kyle Klingman
BJ Futrell To Join Penn Coaching Staff

The wrestling ecosystem in Philadelphia just got stronger following the announcement that Pennsylvania will add BJ Futrell to its staff as a full-time assistant coach. Futrell joins the Quakers with a wealth of experience, including stints at Nay and most recently as mentoring director at Beat the Streets Philadelphia. He was also a two-time All-American for Illinois, placing eighth at nationals in 2011 and sixth in 2012. 

Futrell joins Roger Reina’s staff as the second assistant, joining Bryan Pearsall and volunteer coach Mark Hall.  The Penn Wrestling account announced the move on Twitter.

“What we’re really excited about with BJ joining the staff is that he’s experienced many different aspects of the Philadelphia wrestling community,” Pearsall said. “He was actually the first senior-level national team member for the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center. He’s been a trailblazer for us on that front.”

“When he retired from competitive wrestling he took the job at Navy so he has Division I coaching experience then returned to Philadelphia to work with Beat the Streets so he’s been the mentoring director for Beat the Streets for the last year. He’s seen the PRTC side, he’s seen the Beat the Streets side and now, joining our staff, he’s going to be part of Penn wrestling. It’s really exciting.”

Penn announced the hire with the following release.

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania's Hall of Fame Head Coach of Wrestling, Roger Reina C'84, WEV'05, is excited to announce the addition of B.J. Futrell to his staff as an assistant coach for #TheMovement.

It is a homecoming for Futrell as he competed for the Pennsylvania RTC for three years before retiring from competition in 2019. He has also spent time as an active mentor, coach and most recently as the Mentoring Director with Beat the Streets Philadelphia.

"B.J. brings tremendous talent, and a broad experience set both nationally and internationally to Penn Wrestling at exactly the right time in our national climb," said Reina. "Moreover, he embodies our program's core values of Character First, Aiming Big, and Community Matters."

Futrell was a three-time All-Big Ten performer at the University of Illinois, twice earning NCAA All-America honors.  He was also a two-time selection for the NWCA All-Star Classic.

Despite having his senior season cut short due to injury while being ranked #3 in the country by W.I.N. Magazine, Futrell is the Illini program's all-time leader with 38 career pins. A member of the Illini Leadership Academy, Futrell served as team captain for three years where he led team meetings, mediated communication between the team and coaching staff, mentored underclassmen and led the team's community engagement.

In the classroom, Futrell was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a two-time NWCA All-Academic honoree. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology in May of 2012 and went on to earn his Master of Education degree in educational policy studies from Illinois in December of 2013.

"I am incredibly humbled and excited to join #TheMovement and coach at the University of Pennsylvania," said Futrell. "I want to thank Roger Reina for entrusting me with this tremendous opportunity. Roger is one of the hardest working coaches in the NCAA and I am honored to serve in elevating this program under his leadership."

During his time with the PRTC, he became the PRTC's first USA National Team member competing successfully domestically and internationally.  B.J. placed third at the 2017 U.S. World Team Trials and earned a top 10 world ranking in freestyle wrestling at 65 kg.

Futrell was also a silver medalist at the 2014 University World Championships and was a three-time US Open medalist including earning the bronze in 2014. He was a two-time University Nationals freestyle and Greco-Roman champion, a two-time NYAC International finalist and champion, a three-time Dave Schultz International finalist and champion and a 2016 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier Champion.

He joined BTS Philadelphia as the Mentoring Director in July of 2020, following a year at Navy as an assistant coach. BTSP is a sports-based youth development nonprofit that is committed to fostering the holistic growth of student-athletes living in at-risk under-served communities. BTSP implements mentoring, academic support, and wrestling programs throughout the greater Philadelphia region as vehicles to positively alter life's trajectory.

"Penn is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, the athletic department has a set of core values that I believe in, and the team has unbelievable amount of support from its alumni and community that will only continue to grow," added Futrell. "The wrestling team also has a strong tradition that includes winning Ivy League titles, EIWA titles, and crowning NCAA & Olympic Champions. I am passionate about the holistic development of student-athletes and I am looking forward supporting our guys as they reach towards their goals both individually and as a team."