The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Body slamming success

PachecoWalking through the dimly lit hallways of City College’s North Gym, his steps are slow and deliberate. His footwork seems constantly in tune with his body’s balance.

A couple of minutes before his next meeting, he peeks through a door window to observe the Boot Camp Fitness class in progress. It is in this very same room where wrestlers train to become state champions. And they do so under his guidance, the guidance of City College wrestling head coach Dave Pacheco, who was named Head Coach of the year for California community colleges in December 2013.

The students inside, grouped into three military ranks, conduct sprint and cardio drills, zipping up and down the room in a variety of running styles. Pacheco watches and nods his head after each student completes his or her rotation, ending on the other side of the viewing window. Some students see him through the window and smile. Others choose to avoid his gaze—upon meeting Pacheco, one can understand why.

Steely, penetrating eyes and receding cropped hair that fits perfectly under his baseball cap, Pacheco looks very much like a police drill instructor. Even a thin handlebar mustache frames his square jaw. His loose gray and burgundy sweats sport the City College logo and indicate that Pacheco retains the build of man who has been using his physical strength to dominate other human beings on the wrestling mat for more than a quarter century—a fitting look considering Pacheco says he once contemplated becoming a cop.

“When I first came here to City College, I was looking at two different things—coaching/teaching and police science,” says Pacheco. “My coach said, ‘Take an intro to both classes and see where you want to go.’”

After taking the intro classes, Pacheco says coaching got his “juices flowing.”

Since Pacheco became City College’s head wrestling coach in 1983, his team has garnered numerous accolades as one of the finest wrestling programs in the state, winning three state championships, including one for the 2013 season, for which Pacheco earned the prestigious award of Head Coach of the Year.

“Its always nice getting (Head Coach of the Year),” says Pacheco. “But if I were going to give the award, it would say ‘Sac City Outstanding Team’ award because that’s what it is—an outstanding team. But the coach is the guy in charge, so he is the guy that gets recognized.”

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Wrestling at the collegiate level created a path for the humble two-time Head Coach of the Year to reach his educational goals. According to Pacheco’s biography on the City College athletic department website, as a Panther alumnus (1976- 1977) he finished fourth in the state as a sophomore.

Pacheco’s success at City College brought him an offer of a full scholarship to Idaho State University. There, he received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and special education. Returning home to Sacramento, Pacheco completed his education with a Master of Science degree in physical education at California State University, Sacramento.

Today, Pacheco says the education of Panthers wrestlers is one of the driving forces behind his wrestling program.

“Coach Pacheco is an awesome coach,” says City College sophomore Kenny Steers, one of four Panthers wrestlers who won state championships with the 2013 team. “After every practice he would preach to the players the importance of academics.”

Pacheco even went beyond preaching and helped Steers one-on-one, organizing a schedule that ensured Steers had enough time to complete his homework.

“When kids come here, we want them to be student-athletes, not just athletes,” says Pacheco. “We want them to be good in the classroom, and we want them to be good on the mat.”

If the 2013 championship season is any indicator, that philosophy translates into success.

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