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Larry Sciacchetano

Former LSU wrestling coach Larry Sciacchetano, who led a top-10 ranked program at the school until it was disbanded in 1986, died Monday night. He was 77.

Sciacchetano had just attended the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Friday night in Baton Rouge where he presented his former wrestler, three-time All-American Kevin Jackson. Jackson, who went on to All-American honors at Iowa State and a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, is the first wrestler to make LSU's sports hall of fame.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1942, Sciacchetano coached at LSU from 1976-85, leading the Tigers to seven Southeastern Conference titles and two eighth-place finishes at the NCAA tournament.

“I was so blessed to have the opportunity to spend last Friday with him at the LSU Hall of Fame induction," Jackson said Tuesday according to a USA Wrestling release. "He presented me with my award. He was the best coach I ever had. He cared more about my personal life than any athletic accomplishments. I had an opportunity to tell him how much I love him and care about him, how great a coach he was and a better man. He will be truly missed. My heart and prayers go out to his family."

Sciacchetano served as assistant coach for the 1993 United States World Team, which won the first world team title for the U.S. He also took numerous U.S. teams to international competitions and served as team leader for the 1994 U.S. Freestyle World Team in Istanbul, Turkey.

He coached the Syrian wrestling team at the 1984 Olympics and 1988 Seoul Olympics, and assisted the U.S. Olympic staff at the 1992 games. He coached numerous champions for the New York Athletic Club.

Among his many honors, Sciacchetano was twice awarded the FILA Gold Star, the top honor in international wrestling, received the 2002 FILA Merit of Honor Award, was named man of the year in 2003 by Wrestling USA Magazine and received the Order of Merit in 2006 from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com