"ECAC Spotlight: Getting to Know our Neighbors" with ECAC Official Gary Kessel
CENTERVILLE, Mass.-- The Eastern College Athletic Conference sits down with ECAC wrestling official Gary Kessel in this week's installment of "ECAC Spotlight: Getting to Know our Neighbors."
Kessel is a 1977 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, where he was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame in 1995 after a stalwart wrestling career. He was a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion, won the 150-pound class at the 1977 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships and twice earned NCAA Division II All-America honors. He also coached the sport as an assistant at his alma mater.
The ECAC Spotlight is a Q&A format that examines the experiences and career paths of coaches, administrators, support staff and student-athletes within the ECAC footprint, and is published weekly. If you would like to highlight an individual from your institution, please email ECAC Director of Communications Patrick Stewart at email@example.com with your suggestions.
Five Questions with Gary Kessel, ECAC Wrestling Official
1. How did you become interested in serving as a wrestling official? Did you compete in college??
While I was wrestling in college at East Stroudsburg University, I took a class that enabled me to become a licensed official. I began officiating in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey at the high school level. My goal was to be one of the officials for the state championships. Fifteen years after I started officiating, I worked the New Jersey state finals. After I met that goal, my goal changed to become an NCAA official. (He has worked several NCAA championship meets.)
2. What are some rewarding attributes about being an official?
I can stay involved in the sport I love and give something back. I also get to meet incredible people from all over the country who have become life-long friends.
3. What advice can you give to a young official?
My advice to a young official is to find a mentor or role model,
ask lots of questions and try to get better every year. When
you think you can’t get any better, get out!
4. What hobbies or interests do you pursue during your spare time?
I have a construction business with a partner. I love to build and improve things. We buy properties, improve them and then rent them. It’s very rewarding. I also love sports, especially the ones my children compete in. When they were in high school, they played a sport every season. My daughter, Brielle, earned 12 varsity letters. Currently, my son plays football for Lafayette College and my daughter plays field hockey for East Stroudsburg University.
5. What do you see as your greatest success or challenge?
My greatest success is being a cancer survivor which I think makes me a better official because I can take all the heat in the world and at the end of the day I go home to my family. My greatest challenge is trying to continue to officiate at the NCAA Division I Finals as I get older.