The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame will celebrate the accomplishments of Larry Tremblay, Winchester High Schools wrestling coach for the past 30 years.
Lawrence Tremblay, who is affectionately known in the Massachusetts wrestling community as “the Legend”, attended North Reading High School, where he was a three-sport athlete who excelled in football, track, and wrestling. A hard-hitting, two-way football player during the fall, Tremblay was eventually inducted into the North Reading Football Hall of Fame. Larry’s “Legend”, however, was born on the North Reading wrestling mat during his high school winter seasons. A three-time wrestling team captain, Larry was North Reading’s first league champion and first sectional place finisher.
After high school, Tremblay brought his mat talents to Springfield College, where he was a key member and senior tri-captain of a wrestling powerhouse that won four consecutive New England titles. The team was led by hall-of-fame coach Doug Parker, a father figure who groomed Larry for his own coaching career. Parker was ably assisted by Coach James Anderson, who pushed Tremblay and his Springfield teammates beyond their perceived limits.
Those Springfield teams were considered to have some of the best wrestling talent to ever come out of New England, with the likes of Vic Bueller, Thomas Lachiusa, Rich Munroe, Nick Porillo, Doug Leroy, Sean Bilodeau, Jay Mulligan, Bill Fiore, and Olympic champion Jeff Blatnick. The “Legend” was no slouch amongst these wrestling elite, winning the 1976 Saratoga (NY) Open and twice qualifying for nationals by earning All-New England honors.
Tremblay attributes much of his collegiate success to his drilling partner Phil Capodilupo, training sessions with Olympic coach Jim Peckham and his close friend Sean Bilodeau, and intense off-season workouts with outstanding collegiate wrestlers from Lowell, Tewksbury, and Chelmsford. Larry also credits Nick Porillo, the ‘best wrestler he ever competed with’, for teaching him the “Winchester takedown”.
Upon graduation from college, Tremblay embarked on a career as a wrestling official while competing in freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments. Larry would continue to wrestle competitively for several years, punctuated by his gold and bronze medals at the 1989 World Police and Fire Games in Vancouver (Canada). With his competitive background as an elite wrestler and some tutelage from hall-of-famers George Bossi and Nick Zacchilli, Larry quickly rose through the officiating ranks. Tremblay worked several state and New England tournaments and earned multiple official-of-the-year awards during a seven year stint as a referee, further expanding the “Legend”.
After highly successful careers as a competitor and an official, Larry next put his energies into coaching. As it turned out, the Massachusetts wrestling landscape would never be the same. For the next three-plus decades, Tremblay inspired his wrestlers to greatness and entertained coaches, officials, wrestlers, and fans along the way. Always enjoying the personal interaction as well as the wrestling competition, the “Legend” could often be found matside with a smile on his face. With his vast knowledge and contagious personality, Larry won often and made friends with virtually everyone.
Tremblay’s first coaching job was at his alma mater, North Reading High School, where Larry took over a talented team from hall-of-fame coach Eric Turner. Coach Tremblay led North Reading to a 13-2 record in his first year, with his only losses to perennial powerhouses Masconomet and North Andover, who were coached by hall-of-famers Dennis Puleo and Howard “Tug” Crozier, respectively.
After that first year of coaching, Boston Globe sportswriter Jerry Nason (who was a family relative) encouraged Tremblay to apply for the open wrestling coach’s position at Winchester High School. Larry took the advice and the rest, as they say, is history. The “Legend” took the reins from coach Bob Tufts and, led by state and New England champion Gary Errico, Winchester would finish the season with an 11-5 record. Amazingly, the 1980-1981 season would be the lowest seasonal winning percentage of Tremblay’s illustrious coaching career; Larry has never suffered a losing season during his 35-year coaching career.
His Winchester teams have been consistent winners throughout Tremblay’s tenure, a reflection on all of his hard-working assistant coaches over the years, particularly Ted Neill, Mike Kelley, Ross Ickes, Mike Sullivan and Eric “Bubba” Johnson, as well a slew of other alumni and family members. During that time, the “Legend” has amassed an incredible dual meet record of 643-85-5, making him the second-winningest wrestling coach in Massachusetts schoolboy history. Along the way, Larry’s teams have won two Lowell Holiday tournaments and finished in the top ten in New England five times. Tremblay’s Winchester teams have earned a remarkable 21 league titles in the highly competitive Middlesex League and vied for sectional and state team championships virtually every year.
Larry’s teams enjoyed winning streaks of 56 league matches from 1994-2000 and 68 overall matches between 2006-2009. Winchester finished first or second in the state twelve times, including back-to-back state championships in 2007-2008. Two special championship teams were the 1985 and 1995 teams, which have now both been honored by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Tremblay had the pleasure and privilege to coach six high school All-Americans, including his own son Travis, who is Winchester’s all-time wins and pins leader and currently serves as an assistant coach with his father.
Tremblay will always cherish the strong bond between father and son that was built throughout Travis’ career. He is thankful for all of the support that he has received from his family members, who understood Larry’s passion for wrestling and were equally committed to his career. His wife Dawn, in particular, has been a devoted partner who played the role of both parents during many long wrestling seasons. Larry’s mom, Pat Tremblay, has always been his No. 1 fan, along with his dad, who passed away after Travis’ senior year. Larry is extremely pleased to have his daughter Lorelle present him for induction into the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Tremblay is proud to have coached Winchester wrestlers like Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and Outstanding American Award winner who gave his life in service to our country. Others who epitomize the success that Winchester wrestling fosters are Kofi Kingston, a professional wrestling superstar, and Dr. Jeff Foster, a renowned authority on avian diseases.
Larry is grateful for the many friendships that he has made throughout his journey as a wrestler, official, and coach, particularly those with his student-athletes. He considers it a privilege to have had the opportunity to shape legions of young wrestlers into successful individuals, especially those from families with multiple wrestlers. Tremblay treasures his many wonderful memories and positive experiences with all of his current and former wrestlers, and is pleased to share his hall-of-fame recognition with them.
In recognition of his many years of service to the sport of wrestling as a wrestler, official, coach, and mentor, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is honoring Larry “Legend” Tremblay with its award for Lifetime Service to Wrestling.
Larry Tremblay’s other accomplishments include
- Part of the coaching staff that led a middle school team to a national title in 2001. The team won the championship by beating Pennsylvannia in the finals of the NHSCA National Dual Meet Tournament
- Three time Regional Coach of the Year, all New England and New York.
- Three time Boston Globe Coach of the Year, once each Division I, Division II, and Division III.
- Already in four Halls of Fame.
- 1. North Readomg football Hall of Fame
- 2. Winchester Wrestling Hall of Fame
- 3. State Wrestling Hall of Fame
- 4. New England wrestling Hall of Fame
- 5. On November 1, 2014, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma will be the fifth Hall of Fame to bestow this honor.
You can order tickets for the Hall of Fame event by visiting this link: http://ma-nwhof.ticketleap.com/banquet-2014/ or by calling Stephen Henry at 978-852-6361. There are two separate tickets for the festivities: one ticket for the Honors Reception (unveiling of the induction plaques with family and friends) and a second ticket for the cocktail hour, banquet, and ceremonies (the main event). Reception tickets are available for $35 each; banquet tickets may be purchased for $80 each.
The other honorees are Mark Donovan (Shawsheen Technical HS), Chip Dunn (Haverhill HS and Phillips Academy), Brian Gallagher (Foxboro, Walpole & Norton HS), and Greg Wilson (Thayer Academy and Bridgewater State). The Massachusetts Wrestling Honors Banquet and Reception will be held at the Framingham Sheraton on Saturday November 1.
In addition, Greg Wilson (Thayer Academy and Bridgewater State) will be honored as an Outstanding American and George Bossi will receive special recognition for fifty years of coaching at Lowell HS. Also being honored are the following championship teams: 1989 Lowell HS (coached by George Bossi), 1989 Tewksbury HS (coached by Al Donovan), 1995 Winchester HS (coached by Larry “Legend” Tremblay), and 1996-2004 Foxboro HS (coached by Brian Gallagher).