Brentwood Boys: A Reward Well-Deserved


On January 18, 2008, generations of wrestlers returned home to Brentwood High School and to the gym that had for 20 years been owned by them and their coach, Joe “the Gov” Campo. And now, that gym would bear his name forever.

Before Brentwood’s 42-16 victory that night, the sold-out gym was named in honor of the then-retired Campo, and the floor was once again his.

“I never felt so much love in all my life,” the 83-year-old man told the full house. “I just hope and pray that I deserve it.”

It was the classic humility of a hardworking “Brentwood boy.” Here was a champion in wrestling and at life; here was a man who helped beat the Nazis and who, as a coach, helped beat more than 450 opponents (452-38).

And he just wanted to make sure he deserved it.

"We come across some students that are angry with their misfortunes and their situation," KC Beach said. "They use these misfortunes to participate in negative behaviors. But you see Alex and Ricardo who have been dealt one of the worst hands people can ask for, and they could’ve made every excuse to be a gang member, a drug dealer but they found some positive influences and surrounded themselves with people who wanted to help them."

Joe Campo '49 (left) and Bob Panariello '86 at the 2008 dedication of Brentwood's gymnasium to Campo. Photo submitted


The legendary Joe Campo ’49 died in 2010, at the age of 85.

Bob Panariello ’86 is now director of health, physical education, and athletics for Islip public schools, a 15-minute drive from Brentwood.

Carlos Restrepo ’02 coached wrestling at Brentwood High School from 2002 to 2009. He is now at Sachem High School East, where he coached his son to a state title in 2015. Jakob went on to wrestle at the University of Maryland.

KC Beach ’05 was director and coordinator of the Brentwood youth wrestling program for seven years and an assistant varsity coach at Islip High School before taking the job as head varsity wrestling coach there last fall.  He helped coach Carlos Toribio ’17 to a New York State title there before sending him to Ithaca College. He also coached the Gomez-Perez brothers, as well as Josue Mendez '13 and Josue Escobar '17, who all wrestled for Ithaca College.

Ricardo Gomez-Perez ’14 majored in accounting at IC and is now an accountant for Cornell University.

Alex Gomez-Perez ’15 majored in occupational therapy and is now studying at IC for his master’s degree in childhood education. He plans to return to Brentwood to teach—and of course coach.


So proud of these men as I am proud of what the Brentwood tradition has provided me as an extended family. The "Gov" set the foundation for every one of us in his stable to carry on this tradition. I love my Brentwood Brothers.

I graduated from Brentwood in 1969. While I did not Wrestle I had many friends that did. The Brentwood Wrestling program was among the finest in the Nation. That was because of the hard work and the caring and mentorship Coach Campo and the coaches that followed him put into each and every wrestler. Thank you for sharing this story.

Great story. Spent part of this past summer with two of my fellow wrestling teammates from the Sonderling 1979 team in the Dominican Republic. May it never end.

Phenomenal story! As an Islip alumni '89 and an Ithaca student athlete alumni '93, with ties to Brentwood HS, Islip HS and Ithaca's wrestling programs, the story of these young men is powerful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it!

Brentwood gets a bad rap on the the news and in newsday, but as someone who has lived here for almost 50 yrs now and went to school here my kids went to school here and my son was in sports and was coached by most of these men i can tell you the wrestling program is solid and the guys that coach give up alot of there time and do a great job. They treat these kids like family. They work them very very hard but it pays off. And it not only helps these kids in the gym and on the matt it goes beyond that to the classroom and the streets when they get out. Im proud to be from brentwood and im proud my kids went here and that my son got to be part of the brentwood wrestling family. Many thanks to coach Nappy,coach Beach, Restrepo, and all the others that helped my son i will never forget it. B.K