Dean Zenie has dedicated the better part of his life to the sport of wrestling. He has been an athlete, official, coach, and administrator at the youth, high school, and college levels for over 30 years.
It all began after a successful High School freshman football season. Dean was convinced by coach Tom Fauvell that he had no future playing basketball and should go out for the wrestling team. So he began his wrestling career at Long Island Lutheran High School; that first year competing as a JV wrestler. His sophomore year he became the starter at 158 lbs. and despite being overmatched that year, he grew to love what the sport stood for – rewarding dedication and hard work. He continued to develop as a wrestler and was named the team’s Most Improved Wrestler both his junior and senior years at LuHi. After winning a Private School State Championship his senior year, he continued his wrestling career at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, competing for fellow Long Islander, Philip Grebinar at 167lbs and 177lbs. As 4 year starter at WPI, he competed in the Division III NCAA Qualifier three times.
It was during this time in Massachusetts and on the advice of Coach Grebinar, that Dean began his officiating career. He started that first year as a varsity high school official and then added the title of “collegiate official” the next season by joining the New England College Wrestling Officials Association. While still competing at the Division III WPI, Dean often would officiate Division I match ups with such schools as Harvard, Brown, Boston University, UMass and Boston College.
In 1989, during Dean’s Red-shirt year while working for UPS’s engineering department in Farmingdale, NY, Dean became a member of the Long Island Wrestling Officials Association and immediately became a varsity official. Dean is currently a member of 2 NCAA Official associations (ECAC and EIWOA), the NCWA Official Association for College Club programs, 3 High School Official Associations (New York City, Nassau County, and Suffolk County), and is a Freestyle and Greco Roman official for USA Wrestling.
Dean was a youth, high school, and college coach, as well. In addition to starting the South Huntington Wildcats youth program in 2005, he was an Assistant Coach at Paul D. Schreiber HS in Port Washington. His last year at Port Washington, the 2014-15 season, he helped lead the Vikings to their most successful season finishing #10 in Nassau County with 2 County Champions and a NYPHSAA State place winner. Dean’s folkstyle coaching career was bookended by two college coaching positions. In 1993, Dean became the Head Coach of the Wagner College Seahawks where he helped build the Division I program, and most recently was the Head Coach and Assistant Athletic Director at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Dean continues to coach Freestyle and Greco Roman and was New York’s Nationals Team Head Coach in 2015. Dean was introduced to the administrative side of wrestling after winning the 86kg weight in the Suffolk County Freestyle Championships. Dean was approached by then NY-USAW Section 11 Chairperson, Amy Prenderville. Amy encouraged Dean to become Section 11’s Kids Director, and things quickly evolved from there. The next year,
Dean became NY-USAW Section 11 Chairperson and held that position for 6 years until his election as the State’s Kids Director – overseeing the expansion of kids wrestling not only on Long Island, but throughout New York. After a short tenure as New York State’s Vice Chairman and Head Freestyle and Greco Roman Coach, Dean took over as State Chairman from fellow Hall of Famer, Bill Crum.
Under Dean’s leadership, NY-USAW has thrived with top finishes in Cadet Freestyle and Women’s divisions at the National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota. Additionally, Dean currently sits on several other wrestling organizations’ board of directors. He is a Board member of the Metropolitan Wrestling Association in New York, a Board member for the Charleston Olympic Regional Training Center in South Carolina, and is the Controller and Executive Board Member for the Friends of Long Island Wrestling.
Dean resides in Melville, NY with his wife Laura, their daughter Skyler and son Jared.
Robert “Dean” Zenie
Athlete Experience (1983 – 1992: 9 years):
Long Island Lutheran High School 1983-1987
- 3 year Varsity Wrestler
- Most Improved Wrestler 1986 – 5th place NYS Private School State Championships (177 lbs)
- Most Improved Wrestler 1987 – 1st Place NYS Private School State Championships (215 lbs), Undefeated Dual Meets
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 1987-1992
- 4 year Varsity Starter (177 lbs and 167 lbs)
- 4 x NCAA Qualifier participant (1988, 1989, 1991, 1992)
- President of Freestyle Wrestling Club
Coaching Experience: (1993 – 2019: 15 years)
College of Mount Saint Vincent – Head Wrestling Coach / Asst. Athletic Director Operations 2015-2017
Wagner College, Staten Island, NY – Head Wrestling Coach 1993-1994
Paul D. Schreiber High School , Port Washington, NY – Assistant Varsity Wrestling Coach 2011 – 2015
- Coached multiple All-League, All-County, and All-State wrestlers
- 2015 Top 10 Team – Nassau County Championships
- 2014 Conf 1B runner up / Top 16 Dual Meet Playoffs
USA Wrestling – NY State Nationals Team Coach 2012 – Present
- Cadet National Duals Team Coach
- Fargo Cadet and Junior Nationals Team Coach
- Schoolboy National Duals Team Coach
Wildcats Youth Wrestling Club – Founder and Head Wrestling Coach 2005 – 2009
RaZor Wrestling Club –Wrestling Coach 2009 – 2013
Officiating Experience: (1988 – 2019: 31 years)
Massachusetts H.S / M.S Wrestling Official 1988 – 1992
NCAA New England Wrestling Officials Association 1989 – 1994
Section VIII – H.S. / M.S Wrestling Official 1989 – Present
USA Wrestling Freestyle & Greco-Roman Mat Official & Pairings Official 2010 – Present
Section XI – H.S. / M.S Wrestling Official 2013 – Present
EIWOA and ECAC College Wrestling Official 2016 – Present
NCWA College Club Official 2019 – Present
Administrative Positions: (2006 – 2019: 13 years)
NY-USA Wrestling Section XI Kids Director 2006 – 2007
NY-USA Wrestling Section XI Chairman 2007 – 2013
NY-USA Wrestling State Kids Director 2013 – 2015
NY-USA Wrestling Vice Chairman & State Coach 2015 – 2016
NY-USA Wrestling State Chairman 2016 – Present
Metropolitan Wrestling Association Board of Directors 2015 – Present
Charleston Regional Training Center Board of Directors 2019 – Present
Friends of Long Island Wrestling / Downstate Chapter of NWHOF Secretary/Treasurer 2018 – 2019
Friends of Long Island Wrestling / Downstate Chapter of NWHOF Controller 2019 – Present