Competitive Edge Wrestling
The love affair Ken DeStefanis has with the sport of wrestling began in high school. Following the lead of his older brother, Ron, who started the DeStefanis family tradition of wrestling excellence, Ken began a highly successful career that took him from standout wrestler on the Locust Valley High School and Central Connecticut State University mats, to the sidelines where he has enjoyed an equally impressive and successful career as a coach on the scholastic, collegiate, club, and youth levels.
It was only fitting that the staggering successes and deep-rooted and lasting commitments to the sport of wrestling demonstrated by the nationally-known DeStefanis family (Dr. Al and Angela, and their sons Ron, Ken, Al, Rob, and Carl) were recognized in 2012 when they were honored as Long Island’s “First Family of Wrestling.”
In 1973, Rob scored the first of many championship victories for the sons of Dr. Al and Angela DeStefanis, as the family embarked on a domination of the sport of wrestling in Nassau County, New York, and beyond. The brothers DeStefanis have won over 125 tournaments, a jaw-dropping 44 individual titles including six New York State High School titles (two each for Rob, Al, and Carl), eight Nassau County Championships and 30 league, invitational and conference crowns. Ken distinguished himself with six New England Freestyle Championships and was also runner-up in the Nassau (NY) County High School Championships. Together the brothers hold an incredible collective record of 406-48. Carl went on to earn further accolades at Penn State, where he was a national champion.
Ken was the ideal choice to take the Central Connecticut State University wrestling program from the Division II ranks to Division I beginning with the 1984-85 season, and few coaches can claim the success Ken had during his 12-year tenure.
While coaching, Ken founded the multi-faceted Competitive Edge, which included wrestling camps that featured top-caliber clinicians including Olympic Gold Medalist Bobby Weaver, individual private instruction, and a made-in-America line of wrestling apparel and athletic wear.
Ken never had a losing season at CCSU. He compiled an overall record of 153-58-3 and a winning percentage of .723 that ranked him among the top-20 active wrestling coaches of four-year institutions in the nation for dual-meet winning percentage during his 12-year tenure with the Blue Devils.
Under his tutelage and recruiting savvy, the Blue Devils took Division I by storm and developed into one of the top wrestling programs in New England and the northeast while earning national respect and recognition.
Over 30 Central Connecticut wrestlers competed in the NCAA Division I National Championships, where Ken had the opportunity to coach against the legendary Dan Gable.
Ken’s coaching prowess and the Blue Devils’ success earned him 1987 and 1988 New England Coach-of-the-Year honors and designation as the 1991 East Coast Wrestling Association Coach-of-the-Year. In 1992, Wrestling U.S.A. named him Connecticut’s Wrestling Man-of-the-Year.
Ken’s passion for the sport has never wavered during the 45 years he’s been involved in wrestling. His colleagues honored his lifetime commitment and successes with his 2013 induction into the Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.