Chris Pacelli

November 21, 1955 - Present

Chris’ interest in wrestling started at a young age. When he was about ten years old, he and his older brother Richard started to wrestle regularly at the Quincy YMCA. One of the coaches there was his great uncle, Joe Streadwick. Joe, along with coaches Norm Collier and Von Lovejoy, instructed interested local kids. Chris also went to the Boston Union to wrestle under the guidance of Jim Peckham. Richard went on to become a state champion. All of these coaches made wrestling fun and instilled into the athletes a passion for wrestling that would last a lifetime.

At Braintree High School Chris was a three-time Sectional champion and All State finalist in his senior year, losing in the finals in overtime. He placed 4th in New Englands that same year. He was a captain of the team for two years. His high school coaches were Anthony Richardi and Bill White. Chris was voted MVP his senior year. 

Chris went on to attend Southern Connecticut State College, earning his BS in Special Education in 1977. At Southern he wrestled for coach Don Knauf. When Chris arrived the program was in its first year. By the time he graduated, the program was one of the top programs in New England. Chris placed at the College New England Championships all four years, placing 6th, 3rd, 4th and 1st respectively. He qualified and competed twice at the NCAA Championships. Chris was a team captain in both his junior and senior years. The following year he was an assistant coach for the team as he pursued a Master's Degree in Education. Southern won the College New England team championship that same year, 1978. 

After leaving Southern, Chris continued coaching, joining the Brockton High School wrestling program coached by Jack Johnson. Chris coached for two seasons, 1978-1980. During these years the team had three state champions: Wayne Castle, Jerry Drane and Charlie Roderick. About this time, Chris joined the Massachusetts Interscholastic Wrestling Officials Association (MIWOA) and became a wrestling referee. Though he loved coaching, the time required for traveling conflicted with his job and young family, so he decided to focus on refereeing. 

Chris and his wife, Nancy, raised four children in Foxborough: Colin, Brendan, Devin and Caelan. Watching his sons and their peers wrestle for a very successful Foxborough High School program gave him great satisfaction. Throughout his boys’ high school careers, Chris enjoyed working out with the team and coaching in an unofficial capacity. All three sons placed at the state tournament, with Brendan placing 1st, and the team winning six team state titles while his three boys were part of it. Devin later coached at Walpole High School and Colin became a referee. Chris was also actively involved in the Takedown Club, the fundraising arm of the Foxborough wrestling program.

Chris has been refereeing since 1978 and is one of the longest tenured members of the MIWOA. Since 1982 he has consistently been assigned to referee Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) postseason tournaments.  His postseason assignments span over forty years, covering more than 60 tournaments, including Sectionals, Divisional States, All-States and New England Championship tournaments. Additionally, he has refereed 30 years at the Marshfield Holiday Tournament, as well as the Lowell and Framingham Holiday Tournaments. Since the MIWOA began a mentoring program for new referees, Chris has tutored numerous officials. Twice he was voted as the MIWOA Referee of the Year by the coaches’ association. 

Another interest of his includes soccer. He continues to play in an organized “Over The Hill” league. Chris also referees high school soccer, having done so for over 20 years. In the past he has coached youth baseball and youth soccer, as well as having refereed youth soccer. 

Professionally, Chris worked in the special education field, and holds a Master of Arts in Healthcare Administration. He retired after 38 years with the Department of Developmental Services.

Retirement finds Chris refereeing wrestling and soccer, enjoying his granddaughter Margaret, kayaking, traveling, and spending a great deal of time with three canine friends.


Lifetime Service to Wrestling

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