Empire Wrestling Academy welcomes everyone
At Empire Wrestling Academy, we teach Iowa-Style Wrestling, which has produced champion wrestlers throughout the East Coast, including 48 state titles. As a matter of fact, over 100 of our athletes have enjoyed successful collegiate careers after training with us, and all but two Section-1 New York State champions trained at Empire. We welcome everyone from seasoned champs to novice wrestlers. Our training facility is located in Somers, NY and rivals even the best D-1 gyms in the country. It boasts spacious training areas with towering ceilings and state-of-the-art full-size wrestling mats, climbing ropes, saunas and weight rooms.
Success is a journey & YOURS starts here
At Empire Wrestling Academy, our goal is to use wrestling as a vehicle to promote a healthy lifestyle. Wrestling provides young athletes with mental tools to approach life in a positive "can do" manner. Obstacles are looked at as challenges by wrestlers, not problems. Excuses are not part of our culture. We do not measure success with medals or trophies. We believe that an individual is successful when he or she continually commits to close the gap between their performance and their potential and when he or she understands that such a commitment represents a way of life, not merely a means to an end. Empire Wrestling Academy provides the tools that student-athletes need in order to undertake such commitments.
Meet The Team
John Degl, Owner & Head Coach, CEO
In 1992 John Degl was informed by the legendary Coach, Dan Gable, that the Iowa Wrestling team had no space on the roster for him. Refusing to accept the news, John packed up his things and drove from Mahopac, New York to the famed University of Iowa intent on pursuing his academic and athletic career. Once there, John was met by Coach Gable in person who only confirmed the bad news. Undeterred, John showed up for every practice and watched from the sidelines as the team practiced. Three weeks later, an impressed Gable took note of John's tenacity, and he allowed John to practice with the team.
John went on to qualify for and wrestle at the NCAA Championships for the Hawkeyes, and participate in four National Championship teams, and the rest was history.
Today, John brings the same methods and spirit of Iowa wrestling back home where he runs his own club—Empire Wrestling Academy. From humble beginnings in his parent's barn to a state-of-the-art training facility in Somers, NY, Empire is known as one of the premier wrestling clubs in the country.
John is married to Jennifer and they have four children and four dogs. (Sean, Jack, Shane & Joy) - (Pudding, Ace, Thor & Paris).
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE & EDUCATION
- 20+ Years of Coaching Experience at the Youth, High School, & Collegiate Levels
- 1991 New York State High School Wrestling Champion
- 1994, 2001 Empire State Games Champion
- University Nationals All-American – 1995, 1996
- 2x Place Winner at Midlands Invitational, Northwestern University – 1994, 1995
- 1996 National Qualifier for the University of Iowa
- Member of 4 National Championship Teams at UI & 5 Big 10 Team Titles
- Head Assistant Coach at Hofstra University – 1997. 1999-2000
- Former Head Coach at Mahopac HS – 2002 Section One Team Champions
- Currently, Owner of Empire Wrestling Academy & Coach at Iona Prep
- University of Iowa, BA
- Mercy College, MS
Shana Leone, Managing Partner, COO
Shana loves getting to know each client on a personal level while making them feel comfortable and welcomed. Overseeing the daily business operations as well as providing overall strategic direction takes up a majority of her work day. Her attention to detail and her unmatchable work ethic have turned Empire Wrestling Academy into a nationally recognized brand.
Shana is largely responsible for the giant leap in the academy's professionalism and organization since her tenure as Managing Partner began three years ago, despite the challenges she faces working in a business usually dominated by wrestlers more suited for the mats then the business world. Shana brings class and grace under pressure to Empire Wrestling Academy.
Shana and her husband Patrick have three children (Alex, Ashley & Lindsey) and three dogs (Lily, Sage & Teddy).
Diego Jaramillo - Director of Youth, CDO
In the professional world Diego started his career with Turner Construction and found himself fortunate enough to work on projects such as Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, World Trade Center Tower 2 and Delta's Terminal 4 expansion at JFK Airport. After moving from construction to real estate he became a Vice President of Development and Construction at a national developer and went on to lead a team of analysts, design professionals, project managers and field staff.
He has recently founded and successfully manages his own real estate consulting firm. With a robust pipeline of high profile and leading edge projects worth approximately $400M in volume, he diligently manages his client's financial interests as if they were his own. Consistently bringing in projects on time and on budget.
In the wrestling world, Diego was instrumental in resurrecting the Mahopac youth program, giving back to the town in which he was raised and proudly wrestled for. He is the Director of Youth Wrestling at Yorktown and here at Empire Wrestling Academy. He also sits on his town's Parks and Recreation Committee.
Diego is proudly married to Jenna Jaramillo and has two children he adores, Christiano and Ellia. They reside in Yorktown, NY, and Christiano is an Empire Junior Titan.