Wrestling senior reflects on lessons learned from Coach Racich

Tommy Garlick


It takes a particular type of person to enjoy wrestling. You have to like head-to-head physical battles on a daily basis, constant conditioning and training, brutal weight cuts, and hours of learning technique.

Derek Gulotta is one of those people. With an impressive 147- 36 record at Owen J. Roberts high school, Gulotta placed at state four times and was a finalist twice.

Pennsylvania is known to have some of the best wrestling in the country, and to place in states four times in a high school career is quite the achievement. After high school, Gulotta found himself at Lock Haven University, a division II school that is highly competitive at that level.

After two seasons at LHU, the 133-pounder transferred to Ursinus College, to wrestle for one of the all-time great coaches in the country who recently passed away: Bill Racich.

Coach Racich was in the top five for wins out of all coaches in the country at the time of his passing. The head coach of Ursinus since 1980, Coach Racich had the opportunity to affect many young student-athletes, including Gulotta.

“Coach Racich was one of the biggest reasons why I decided to come to this school. He is one of the greatest wrestling coaches and overall person that I have ever met,” Gulotta said.

After transferring and having a successful first season at Ursinus, Gulotta is going into his senior year and has one major goal in mind.

“I want to place in the tournament and be one of the best 133-pound wrestlers in the country,” Gulotta said.

These are ambitious goals, but he has put in the work in the off season to make a run in the post- season.

“Coach Racich was always vo- cal about putting the work in to be successful. I have been really on top of my workouts and feel really good going in to the start of the season. He also would always tell me that you have to see yourself as being the best and you need to believe it, and that if you didn’t then you wouldn’t achieve your goals,” Gulotta said.

This lesson that Coach Racich taught Gulotta will be one that he carries with him for the rest of his life. The lasting effects of Coach Racich’s legacy at Ursinus remains palpable, even after his sudden passing earlier this year. The Bears are trying to honor his legacy with the rest of this season.