In the Summer of 2016, Rutgers Wrestling tragically lost one of it’s brightest young men.
Sam Cali, a former Don Bosco Prep wrestler, was in his redshirt year at Rutgers when he was involved in a fatal car accident. You can watch the feature on Cali below via the Rutgers Wrestling Twitter account.
Rutgers Wrestling senior day is expected to be on Friday, February 14, 2020 before their match vs. Northwestern.
Cali will be included in the class along with his close friend, graduate senior, and current 197 pounder Jordan Pagano, redshirt senior Willie Scott, and redshirt senior Christian Colucci.
Pagano has honored Cali in every single one of his matches since his passing. Talking with him spiritually before taking the mat and pointing to the sky at the conclusion.
Pointing to my brother Sam Cali. You're right there with me every time I put my foot on that line. Love and miss you everyday man.❤ https://t.co/K39cZ5Tn2j— Jordy (@jordypagano) February 5, 2017
Since 2018, there has been a high school tournament in Cali’s honor. According to it’s website, it’s purpose states: “Samuel D.J. Cali Foundation is an 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes to provide scholarships to further the education of high school students who participate in wrestling. In addition The Sam Cali D. J. Cali Foundation will provide to the Vietnam Veterans Association and Homeless Veterans under Project Serve a nationwide charitable organization founded by Sam in his High School Junior Year.”
You can find more info about the tournament and organization here.
During the announcement of the inaugural Sam Cali “Battle for the Belt,” Rutgers Athletics announced: “Prior to the 2017-18 season, RU reached 2,000 season tickets sold in memory of Cali. As a result of reaching the 2,000 goal, an anonymous donor donated $100,000 back to the program towards the naming of a Rutgers wrestling assistant coach’s office at the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center in Cali’s honor.”
Cali’s name now sits above head coach Scott Goodale’s name plate entering his office.
Cali was redshirted as a true freshman in 2015-16 after competing in three events for the Scarlet Knights - the National Collegiate Open, the Wilkes University Open and the Nittany Lion Open. A two-time district champion and NJSIAA place winner at Don Bosco Prep, Cali tallied an 89-28 record throughout his high school career. He placed fourth at the Beast of the East and third at the NJSIAA State Championships at 132 pounds as a senior.