October 13, 1965 - Present
Coach Wayne Griffin, “Griff,” began wrestling in 1979 under the legendary dynamic duo of Dick Magarian and Robert Smith at Coventry High School in Rhode Island, where Griffin became a state and New England place finisher. At the behest of Coach Smith, Griff enrolled at Rhode Island College (RIC), competing for coaches Rusty Carlsten and Tim Clouse. Griffin earned All-New England honors and became a Scholar All-American in 1988. After graduating with a B.S. in industrial management, he returned to RIC for secondary education, specializing in industrial arts/technology education.
He met his future wife, Jeanne, working for “Rusty” at Sandy Island summer camp in New Hampshire. After Sandy Island, Griff spent several summers working with Carl Adams at the World Class Wrestling School.
Griff started coaching at Barrington High School (Rhode Island) in 1988. The Barrington years produced several state champions, New England medalists and a 69-57-3 record. Bobby Goff became a New England Champion at 103 lbs in 1997. At BHS, Griffin co-coached with Jay Jones, RIC’s current head coach. USA-RI selected Wayne as “Man of the Year'' in 1995. He initiated the Academic All-State program at the high school level, recognizing outstanding student-athletes with strong academic and wrestling credentials.
Griff started at North Attleboro’s (“North”) helm in the fall of 1997; the Rocketeers would eventually earn 2016 and 2018 Massachusetts DII State titles (to go along with a previous 1997 crown), finish runner-up two other years and win 339 dual meets. Nominated for sportsmanship awards in 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2015 by the MIWOA, the team earned one outright in 2009.
North traditionally had a strong dual meet team, earning post season medals in various formats over the years, including a MIAA title in 2016. Competing in the powerhouse Hockomock League with Franklin and Foxboro, the team earned 16 league and/or tournament titles. In addition to 17 MIAA DII South team titles, the team crowned 6 DII State champions, 8 New England and 34 All-State medal placers, as well as 69 DII South champions. 17 MIAA Academic Excellence awards were earned as well.
Griff earned DII South “Coach of the Year” multiple times between 1998 and 2018; he was named the Boston Globe “Coach of the Year” in 2007 and 2016. He was selected by the MIAA for coaching excellence in 2013. The NWHOF-MA Chapter recognized him with its “Public School Coach of the Year – George Bossi Award” in 2016. Griff was proud to see North’s Devin Spratt selected for the “Heart Award” by the NWHOF-MA Chapter in 2015. Mentors Tom Taylor, Mike Renzi and Booster President Joel Poirier were also inducted into the MIWCA Hall of Fame during his tenure.
Griffin credits the success of the program to the North Wrestling family. The wrestlers did all the work, but dedicated friends and fellow coaches Geoff Burgess, Dan Thibeault and Tom Taylor made the difference in the room, off the mat and in the lives of all team members. The goal was to help young boys become good men. Booster Club members and various presidents such as Joel Poirier and Howard Warsofsky made sure funds were available to meet the needs of the team.
Youth coaches and mentors Mike Renzi, Andy David, Ray Sturdy and the Poirier boys, along with countless other coaches and volunteers, contributed to the growth of the program. The journey was made even better due to the support of so many North wrestlers and their families: the Bergs, Allens, Pinos, Vachers, Wainwrights, Taylors, Poiriers, Kummers, Goulds, Warsofskys and so many more.
Besides teaching and coaching, Griffin runs several other programs at North Attleboro Middle School. He joined the Rhode Island Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016 and the RIC Hall of Fame in 2021. He finishes with a career dual meet record of 408-143-6 and now serves as a referee in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Jeanne and Griff were married in 2014. He has been graciously accepted by her children: Ryan, Alli and Brad. Some new “loves of his life” are grandchildren: Marlee, Eloise and a new grandson.
Lifetime Service to Wrestling