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Lynnfield’s Craig Stone to be inducted into Wrestling Hall of Fame on April 29

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It’s not about the “destination,” but this is one good stop for Craig Stone on his journey. On April 29 the legendary Lynnfield wrestling and tennis coach will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his contributions to wrestling as a coach in Lynnfield for more than 40 years.

The coach stopped by the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, April 10 to receive a proclamation from the board and a citation from the state legislature, presented on behalf of State Senator Tom McGee and State Representative Brad Jones by McGee.

“It’s very rare that you have someone that’s a living legend in your town … Everyone has admired him for generations,” said the then Board of Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford. Stone was in his first year of coaching at Lynnfield when Crawford was in high school.

Stone has earned over 1,000 wins between coaching wrestling and tennis in his 40+-year tenure in Lynnfield. He began his career coaching wrestling the first year the then club team moved up to varsity in 1975. In actuality, his career in Lynnfield started in 1973 at age 22, when he was employed as an elementary school teacher. In 1974, when he was hired as wrestling coach, he was the only applicant in the pool. In 1981 he was offered the job of girls’ tennis coach.

Stone was a graduate of Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1971, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. From there, he went on to earn an MS from the University of Oregon in 1972. He played both tennis and wrestling as an undergraduate, which would provide the foundation for coaching both the sports later on.

It wasn’t much longer until Stone would receive recognition for his talents. In 1986 he was named Cape Ann League Coach of the Year, which he would go on to win in ’87, ’92, ‘96, ’97, ’08 and ’14. In 1986 and 2014, the Boston Globe named him Coach of the Year, and he was inducted into the Massachusetts Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, the same year he was named Coach of the Year by the association.

His numbers are equally impressive. To date, Stone has a 528-323 record in wrestling and, with a win that Monday night, 567-85 in tennis. On December 12, 2015, he earned his 500th win in wrestling. The year before, his tennis team went on to earn a perfect 21-0 season. And in 1998 and 1999, the team earned two back-to-back undefeated state championship seasons. He has also won 18 Cape Ann league titles, 12 MIAA North Sectional Championships and five state titles for tennis.

Senator McGee was also present at the meeting to offer Stone a letter and citation from the state legislature, congratulating his work for the town. “During his service to the town of Lynnfield he has been an exemplary educator and instructor and has won the admiration of his students and athletes, parents and peers, while instilling in his athletes the values of teamwork, dedication and persistence,” McGee read from the letter. “Those lucky enough to be coached by you should be justifiably proud of this accomplishment.” McGee also wished Stone “continued success” in the future.

Superintendent of Schools Jane Tremblay also spoke on the occasion. “As a colleague of Craig’s for the past 30 years it is no surprise […] that you are going to be inducted into the hall of fame.”

She attributed Stone’s success to the relationships he has built over the years, and noted the many conversations she has had with him about the importance of teaching “lifelong lessons” on the mat. “You’ve taught them grit, perseverance, the importance of winning and the importance of losing, and getting up one more time.” She said that these lessons are equally important beyond high school.

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” said Stone, finally. “I can’t tell you the relationships I’ve been fortunate enough to establish through education and coaching. I love the excitement on their faces when they come into the gym and their enthusiasm.”

He noted that the relationships he has built have often led to attending athletes’ weddings and college graduations, and in some cases, watching them go on to become coaches themselves – “I feel fortunate to have a small role in their lives.”

Stone will continue to coach but in a lesser role than he once had. He joked about being in semiretirement and how now he often has a new role of helping his wife with daycare. He also often substitute teaches along with coaching.

To obtain tickets for the induction ceremony for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, visit http://nwhof.org/massachusetts/. The ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. on April 29 at Gillette Stadium. Stone will receive a plaque highlighting his accomplishments, which will be hung at the Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

By Melanie Higgins





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