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Lehigh University Caruso ‘Cathedral of Wrestling’

Lobby Atrium

In an article posted on November 6th by The Express Times’ Brad Wilson, the new Caruso Wrestling Complex is highly praised as a work of architectural excellence.   We were so delighted to read his wonderful critique of the new facility, and thought we would share a bit of his eloquent description below.  The full article can be found here.

Loft Floor Wrestling Mats


The palace of clean, crisp, architecture creating soaring spaces drenched in natural light represents the exact opposite of the quarters the sport usually occupies — grim, often windowless rooms, concrete dungeons, tucked away in some distant corner of a physical education building and smelling like socks from 1979.

The Caruso Complex is the antithesis of that. It sits atop Grace Hall, Lehigh’s legendary gym, but does so in a graceful way, like a silk sail above a classic old wooden yacht.

It’s so beautiful, so well put together, so simply stunning, that it’s hard to imagine it cost “just” $4.1 million. Lehigh got its money’s worth.

There’s a Hall of Champions as you enter from the outside with photos of every single Lehigh EIWA champ, All-American and NCAA champ along with some terrific action shots. And the Hall has a lot of extra room for future Mountain Hawk greats, too.

“We hope to fill all that space up,” said Lehigh coach Pat Santoro, who, while taking a reporter around the complex, seemed like the luckiest kid on Christmas Day.
The actual “room” sits on a mezzanine above the Hall and a spacious lounge, lit incandescently by the sun with three full-size mats, a cardiovascular exercise area and a real-time video playback system with enough screens to fill a Best Buy. Wrestlers can watch current practice and recent matches or dig into the vast video library.

The wrestlers have a study lounge of their own (with more video screens), top-shelf medical and training areas, a glassed-in weight room that is beautiful and efficient at the same time and a locker room that compares favorably to many professional ones.
Santoro and his staff have offices and meeting rooms a few steps from the mats.

And, oh, by the way, the entire complex offers a commanding view of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley with a balcony to observe it all. Chip Kelly only wishes his digs could match Santoro’s.  


By Brad Wilson | The Express-Times on November 06, 2013 at 6:15 AM, updated November 06, 2013 at 6:30 AM