In his first season as the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling, Zach Tanelli helped multiple Columbia Lions to success on the mats.
Juniors Garrett Ryan and Tyrel White returned to the NCAA Championships under Tanelli, while Ryan became the first EIWA Champion at Columbia since the 2013 season. In 2017, four Lions took the podium at the EIWAs, with White finishing fourth at 165, Jacob Macalolooy taking eighth at 141, and Dan Reed claiming eighth at 149. Three of those four individuals were named All-Ivy League for the efforts in the 2016-17 season, led by Ryan on the first team, with White on the second team, and Macalolooy an honorable mention pick.
The former Purdue Assistant Coach and Wisconsin All-American was named the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling in July of 2016.
"We are very pleased to welcome Zach to Columbia as our new head coach of the wrestling program,” said the Campbell Family Director of Athletics Peter Pilling. “His credentials as a student-athlete and a coach on the national level will enhance the success our current wrestlers have established. Zach’s proven track record in recruiting paired with his ties to the East Coast and Midwest will undoubtedly aid in attracting talented student-athletes to Columbia.”
Tanelli became the ninth head coach in Columbia Wrestling history after spending the past two years at Purdue after coming over from Hostra, where he began his collegiate coaching career.
During the 2015-16 season, Tanelli helped Purdue send three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships at Madison Square Garden, with two of those qualifiers earning automatic bids from the Big Ten Championships. Seniors Danny Sabatello and Chad Welch led the way, as Tanelli helped the pair take fifth at 141 and 165, respectively, during the conference tournament. Tanelli left the Boilermakers in good shape, as FloWrestling ranked Purdue with the sixth best recruiting class of 2016.
During his first season with the Boilermakers, Tanelli saw eight wrestlers advance to the 2015 NCAA Championships after five grapplers took home podium finishes at the Big Ten Championships. Purdue spent seven weeks on the USA Today/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll, finishing the season ranked 23rd. The 2014-15 dual season saw Purdue win 10 duals, including six home dual victories, which was the most in Holloway Gymnasium since the 2005-06 season.
Tanelli joined the Boilermaker wrestling program after a five-year coaching stint at Hofstra from 2009-14. During his time with the Pride, Tanelli worked his way up the coaching ranks, serving as interim head coach prior to his stint at Purdue. He was the head assistant coach for the two previous seasons after spending his first three years as an assistant at Hofstra.
The former Badger made an impact throughout Hofstra's lineup, particularly in the lower weights. Tanelli coached four All-Americans, while the Pride won three-straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) team titles from 2011-13 before moving to the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) in 2013-14. Hofstra placed fourth with two finalists during Tanelli’s time coaching in the EIWA, including the 165-pound champion, Joseph Booth.
While in the CAA, seven Hofstra athletes claimed tournament crowns under the guidance of Tanelli, including a pair of two-time champs. In addition, five other wrestlers claimed individual CAA titles during his stint.
Tanelli wrestled the first three years of his Wisconsin career at 133 pounds and bumped up to 141 for his senior campaign in 2009. He was a two-time NCAA qualifier at 133 and earned a spot on the 141 podium with a fourth-place finish to earn All-America accolades. Tanelli wrapped up his senior season with a 31-6 record, including a perfect 7-0 mark against Big Ten foes during the dual season. He was ranked No. 1 at his weight for the second half of the 2008-09 season after winning the 141-pound Midlands Championship, before becoming the runner-up at the Big Ten Championships.
A native of Millburn, New Jersey, Tanelli earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Wisconsin in 2009 and his master's degree in higher educational leadership and policy studies from Hofstra in 2012. Tanelli and his wife, Emily, reside in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The Tanelli File
High School: Millburn High School (New Jersey)
College: Wisconsin ‘09
Degree: B.A., Sociology
Coaching Career: Assistant at Purdue, 2014-16
Assistant at Hofstra, 2009-14
Collegiate Highlights: Three-time NCAA Qualifier
2009 Big Ten Runner-up
2008 Midlands Champion
88-31 Career Record