Step onto the mat with Newsday's high school writers as they cover Long Island wrestling.
Remembering legendary Brentwood coach Joe "Gov" Campo
Joe "Gov" Campo, who led the Brentwood wrestling team to seven county titles in a row and eight in nine years from 1968-69 through 1976-77, passed away Thursday at the age of 85.
Campo, who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1990, was 261-20 in his 20 seasons as Brentwood's head coach. In 2008, the school's Ross Gymnasium was named in his honor.
"Gov" (short for "Governor of New York state coaches") coached 89 league champions, 37 Suffolk champions (tied for fourth most with Jack Mahoney of Sachem/Sachem North) and nine New York state titleists. His first state champ, Carl Adams in 1968, went on to win two NCAA titles at Iowa State and is currently the head coach at Boston University.
Current Brentwood coach Ralph Napolitano also wrestled under Campo.
Campo, an Ithaca College alum, attended high school in upstate Frankfort-Schuyler, just outside of Utica. He began his coaching career there, amassing a 191-18 record, but jumped at the chance to teach and coach at Brentwood when the opportunity presented itself before the 1965-66 school year.
"I knew Long Island was a tough area for wrestling, so I wanted to see what I could do there," Campo said on Jan. 22, 2008, the evening of the ceremony to name the Ross Gym in his honor.
Campo, a physical education teacher, also coached the Brentwood football team to back-to-back Rutgers Trophies in 1970-71.