Greater Washington
Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Lenny Bernstein

Lenny Bernstein

Sport: Wrestling
Category: Athlete and Coach
Primary Team: North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels
Year Inducted: 2014

Lenny Bernstein grew up in Rockville, Maryland. His interest in the sport of wrestling began at the age of 8 at the Wheaton Boys Club. Before reaching high school he earned four state championships, three Eastern National Championships an d an AAU National Championship. Lenny wrestled at The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland where he went undefeated, winning 110 matches. Having earned a full scholarship to wrestle at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he won ACC Champi nships in 1986 and 1987 and placed fourth at the NCAA Championships in 1987, earning All- American honors. He represented Team USA on a college all-star team in Palermo, Sicily, where he placed third. Lenny was ranked second in the USA during his senior year in college when he tore his ACL, effectively ending his dreams of winning an NCAA championship. In 1990, Lenny began his coaching career as assistant wrestling coach at the University of Virginia (UVA). After helping lead UVA out of the ACC cellar t o the middle of the pack, Lenny was offered the head coaching job in 1993. He coached 25 ACC Champions and six All-Americans, had more than 100 wins, and led UVA to two regular season ACC Championships, many second-place finishes at the ACC Championships, and three top-25 finishes at the NCAA championships. H e was named Virginia coach of the year several times and mentored four assistant co aches who went on to become Division 1 head coaches. While in Charlottesville, Lenny founded the Cavalier Wrestling Club which catered to all levels of wrestling , from elementary age to Olympic level training. Noting the lack of elementary and middle school wrestling organizations in the area, he created The Central VA Wrestling League.

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