The only individual national champion in the history of Saint Ignatius Athletics is returning home.
George DiCamillo '12 has joined the Wildcats' wrestling coaching staff.
DiCamillo will start as a coach for the Wildcat Wrestling Club, the school's youth program, and then move up to the varsity program as his schedule at his new job at Lincoln Electric allows.
An MBA student at John Carroll University, DiCamillo served as a graduate assistant for the Blue Streaks last year. DiCamillo accepted a full-time role with Lincoln Electric in business accounting and decided to give Head Wrestling Coach Mark Sullivan a call.
"When I decided to work at Lincoln Electric, I knew would have a little more time in my schedule to give back to the sport of wrestling and to the community who made me who I am," DiCamillo said. "There was no doubt the first place I was going to think of was here. It was simply a matter of texting Sully and saying, 'Hey, I have some time, what can I do?' They welcomed me with open arms."
For Sullivan, welcoming DiCamillo back was a no-brainer.
"It's great to have a wrestler of his character come back and help the team," Sullivan said. "It's great for the community, and not just Ignatius. A tweet from the Ohio State coach said, 'Congratulations, Northeast Ohio!' It's not just Saint Ignatius that benefits from him being in this area. He's a good kid to have around for all of the youth wrestlers."
During his time as a Wildcat, DiCamillo was a star. By the end of his four years at Saint Ignatius, DiCamillo was one of the most distinguished wrestlers in Wildcat wrestling history.
DiCamillo owns four career records. DiCamillo holds the marks for the best record (152-7), most wins (152), longest win streak (74), and career tournament titles (22). DiCamillo finished with a perfect record in both his junior and senior seasons, notching a 35-0 mark in 2010-11 and a 37-0 finish in 2011-12.
DiCamillo is one of just five Wildcat wrestlers to win two state championships, in 2011 and 2012. And, as mentioned above, DiCamillo earned a national championship in 2012.
Sullivan saw DiCamillo's promise early on.
"When I first met George, he was in seventh grade, and I knew right away there was a special thing about him. I had no idea he would take it to this level on the mat," said Sullivan. "I always tell the kids, 'When you're a high school national champ, you have a platform to deliver a message to people. If it's a message of value that he can give, then it's heard from many.
"He's got a good platform and he's got a great message. He's humble and hard-working. He has a great heart, a great family, and he's perfect for the Ignatius community."
Following his time at Wildcat High, DiCamillo accepted a scholarship to the University of Virginia. DiCamillo made quite an impact as a Cavalier.
DiCamillo captured three ACC championships in four seasons. The Highland Heights native matched the best finish of any wrestler in UVA history with a runner-up finish at the 2017 NCAA Division I National Championships.
"Anytime you get a wrestler of his caliber who's able to get on the mat and show the kids the moves in real life speed, it's impressive," Sullivan said. "He's so efficient as a clinician, and the way he delivers his message as a coach, it's very impressive."
Following his time at UVA, DiCamillo went to JCU as a graduate student and GA before Lincoln Electric offered him a full-time gig.
DiCamillo couldn't wait to return to coaching in Northeast Ohio at his Alma Mater.
"What I like about coaching is twofold. First, it keeps me involved in the sport that taught me how to go about my role at Lincoln and how to go about my relationships with my family. Secondly, it keeps me acclimated in the sport," said DiCamillo. "I really enjoy giving back to the sport because it literally made me who I am. Every lesson, every event that happens, I lean on wrestling experiences and what it taught me and help me make decisions. In more times than not, wrestling has taught me the right lesson."
When it comes to particular lessons learned, DiCamillo pointed to the Jesuit mission and the motto "For the Greater Glory of God."
"That mindset has been instilled in me for a while and I carry those lessons with me everywhere I go," DiCamillo said. "Despite going to school in the South and traveling for wrestling camps, it's amazing how many people believe in the things we believe in and how connections immediately happen. And not just that, but the impact of the mission here at Ignatius, how we can impact others. It's one thing to believe the things we believe in, but it's another thing to act and inspire. That mission, it's good to preach it within the boundaries of our campus, but the goal is to set the world on fire."
Sullivan and the coaching staff are certainly glad to have DiCamillo back.
With all of the success DiCamillo enjoyed during his career, plenty of schools wanted to offer him jobs.
"The whole Northeast Ohio community is happy that he's back up here and we're just happy he's with us, because a lot of teams wanted him," said Sullivan. "He went where his heart is, which means Ignatius is doing something right."
Indeed, DiCamillo never doubted that he would return home one day.
"There was no doubt in my mind I was going to help out here at some point in my life," said DiCamillo. "Even when I went to UVA, when I went home for Thanksgiving for a week, I found time to come back here. It comes back full circle, it's cool to see.
"I'm really excited to be back involved. I was just telling some parents, it's changed here but it really hasn't," DiCamillo continued. "We have a new facility, new people around, but the mission and the goal are still the same. The long-term goal is to have Ignatius be a powerhouse in wrestling. And the goal is not just to help the wrestling program, but to help form these kids into young men of faith, and to inspire others, just as my coaches here who are older than me inspired me and the teachers here laid the groundwork for me. It's my turn to do that for everyone else. It's an important thing to keep in mind."