Published in the December 23, 2015 edition

LYNNFIELD-NORTH READING co-op wrestling head coach Craig Stone (at right) recently celebrated his 500th career wrestling victory with assistant coaches Matt Goodwin (left) and Nick Secatore. (Courtesy Photo)

LYNNFIELD-NORTH READING co-op wrestling head coach Craig Stone (at right) recently celebrated his 500th career wrestling victory with assistant coaches Matt Goodwin (left) and Nick Secatore. (Courtesy Photo)


LYNNFIELD — Lynnfield-North Reading co-op wrestling coach Craig Stone has had plenty of reasons to celebrate the past 41 years, as he led the Black and Gold to become one of the state’s premier wrestling programs.

Stone added another milestone to his successful wrestling career when he earned his 500th career victory when the co–op team defeated Wilmington in the first quad meet this year. His career record is now 501-302.

“I am proud of the accomplishment although it was never a goal I set for myself,” said Stone. “I have been fortunate to coach a lot of exceptional student-athletes who have made wrestling a priority in their lives.”

While Stone said he doesn’t know the exact number of wrestling coaches who have earned 500 victories, he said, “Only about a dozen coaches have been able to reach the 500 win club.”

Stone began coaching the wrestling team during the 1974-1975 season after “Lynnfield High School signed a petition to start a wrestling team.”

“They needed a coach and I was the only applicant,” said Stone. “We were a club team in 1974-1975, then went varsity in 1975-1976. We were 0-11-1 during our first year.”

Stone said he first became interested in wrestling while in college.

“I did not wrestle in high school, but after a successful intramural experience during my freshman year at Springfield College, I was recruited by the freshman coach,” said Stone. “I then remained on the team for four years, wrestling varsity my senior year. I was so taken by the sport and what it had to offer that when the opportunity arose to coach at the high school level, I was very excited.”

Over the course of his wrestling coaching career, Stone guided the Lynnfield wrestling team to Cape Ann League championships in 1992 and helped the Black and Gold win CAL titles in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The Black and Gold were crowned Division 3 North champions in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and were Division 3 state finalists in 2014. The Lynnfield wrestling team was North sectional finalists in 1987 and 1992.

According to Stone, the wrestling team has had 79 state finishers, eight state champions, seven All-State place finishers and three New England place finishers. Stone was named CAL Coach of the Year in 1986, 1987, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2008 and 2014. He was named The Boston Globe’s Coach of the Year in 1986 and 2014.

Additionally, Stone was inducted into the Massachusetts Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998. He was named National Wrestling Coaches Association Massachusetts High School Coach of the Year in 2013.

Stone attributed his success over his 41-year career to “communication, consistency and caring.”

“You have to be able to communicate expectations, goals and roles,” said Stone. “You need to be consistent in your preparation for practices and matches and with your rules and procedures. Your athletes need to know that they are each an important member of the team and that ‘together each achieves more’ (TEAM).”

When asked what Stone enjoys most about coaching wrestling, he commented, “I enjoy watching the wrestler achieve success.”

“That success does not always have to do with winning,” Stone added. “Sometimes success is getting up one more time than you get knocked down. Sometimes it’s cracking the varsity line up or that first win, first tournament place finish or improving on last year’s performance. But watching them face the challenges that wrestling and life presents each day, facing adversity and continuing to move forward on and off the mat is very gratifying.”

Stone also noted he enjoys coaching wrestling because the sport teaches life lessons each and every day, particularly “drive, determination, confidence and self esteem.”

“A wrestling team experience emphasizes the values of respect, responsibility, perseverance, hard work and teamwork,” said Stone.