The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is a direct extension of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Chapter and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The Connecticut chapter provides outreach and support for the National Hall. Our chapter was formed to honor committed coaches, officials, contributors and other deserving individuals. We honor individuals in three ways:
The Lifetime Service Award Program, coordinated by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, is designed to honor and recognize dedicated wrestling people for their years of commitment to young people. The award is not about win/loss records. It is about a person’s dedicated efforts to help young people to not only succeed in wrestling, but also in life.
The Medal of Courage Award is given to a wrestler who has overcome overwhelming adversity to be successful on the mats and in his own life.
The Outstanding American Award is presented to an individual who was a former wrestler and has received state or national acclaim in his/her chosen profession.
Each award recipient is permanently recognized in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (Stillwater, Oklahoma) with an embossed name plaque, and each receives a plaque and jacket to commemorate this very special occasion.
Connecticut Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Coach and official
Meriden, CT (Maloney)
Waterbury, CT (Holy Cross)
Gralyn D. Harris
State of Connecticut
A State Open champion at Holy Cross as a junior in 1976, retired Lieutenant Colonel Harris spent 23 years in the military, serving with the Army’s Military Intelligence Unit in southeast Asia and the Middle East, earning numerous decorations and badges. Gralyn is a recipient of the Legion of Merit medal, an honor given for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. A professional educator, he teaches Arabic and French. He began coaching while in high school, teaching wrestling at the Waterbury YMCA. He helped establish the judo club at UConn in 1978, helped create and establish the Ganbaru Judo Yudanshakai (USJF) in California, an association for martial arts organizations. He was selected to represent the U.S. in judo at the 1979 Pan-American Games. He also served as vice president of the National Collegiate Judo Association. A U.S. senior national Master’s Judo champion in 1994, Harris was an instructor and coach for Yemen’s national judo team in 2003-04. He is currently coaching wrestling at the Columbia Country Mat Club in Evans, Ga.
Michael was head coach at Danbury High from 1979-91, posting a record of 219-36, leading the Hatters to five FCIAC titles, two Class LL championships and a New England championship in 1990. He established the wrestling team at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury and helped form the Danbury Youth Wrestling Association. After leaving coaching, he became a wrestling official. He helped form a youth wrestling organization in New Milford, the Western Connecticut Elementary League and served as tournament director for Connecticut’s Prep School state tournament and the New England prep school regional tournament. Michael is a member of the New England Council’s Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2005, he retired from teaching after 35 years as a physical education instructor at Rogers Park and Danbury High.
Buster has been coaching at Derby High School for 29 years and has won more matches (475) than any other coach in state history. He has led Derby to 24 winning seasons in 29 years, including a perfect 27-0 campaign in 2000. His Derby teams have won four Class S state titles (1984, 2000, 2001 and 2002), finished in the top five 19 times and brought home four Southern Connecticut Conference championships. In four seasons from 1999 to 2002, Derby went 95-2-1. Buster was an assistant coach on the team for five years before taking the head coaching job in 1980. He was honored by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association as wrestling coach of the year in 1999 and was one of eight finalists for national coach of the year in 2007.
Click on a link to learn more about each inductee in the Class of 2010
Class of 2010 induction banquet
Jim founded two wrestling programs at Cardinal Mooney High School in Rochester, N.Y. in 1964 and at Holy Cross in Waterbury. His Cardinal Mooney teams won three straight City Catholic championships in Rochester from 1968-70. He coached wrestling, football and track and field while serving as a physical education, biology and physical science teacher. He moved to Holy Cross in 1971, became athletic director and coached the wrestling team from 1972-89, winning 166 matches. Despite no feeder program, his Crusaders finished third in Class LL in 1980 and fourth in Class LL in 1989. Jim served as chairman of the CIAC's wrestling committee from 1979-83 and twice as president of the Naugatuck Valley League (1981, 1989). He was honored by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association as its wrestling coach of the year in 1983 and its athletic director of the year in 1995. Jim served as athletic director for Holy Cross for 34 years before retiring in 2004. Today, he serves as an assistant wrestling coach with his son Mike, the head coach at Xavier in Middletown, Conn.
Jim turned a sleepy wrestling program at Berlin High in a powerhouse that won nine state titles in three different classes (Class S, M, L) and 20 Northwest Conference championships from 1982 to 2007. The Redcoats finished second in the state seven times during that span. Jim is one of just five coaches in state history to have more than 400 career victories, retiring from coaching with a record of 445-132-3. Four of Jim’s wrestlers won New England titles and 10 won State Open championships. He is a member of the New England Council’s Wrestling Hall of Fame. He has been a member of the CIAC’s wrestling committee since 1986. He developed the criteria for seeding wrestlers in the CIAC state tournaments and began the Academic All-State wrestling team, serving as chair of that committee for seven years. Jim coached freshman football at Berlin for 15 years and was the head of the school’s Special Education Department from 1997 to 2006. He hired Barbara Breslin as the first woman to coach high school wrestling in Connecticut in 1988. She completed her 21st season last winter. He has served as athletic director in Berlin since 2007.
Ray coached at Maloney High in Meriden from 1966-80, winning the school’s lone wrestling state championship in 1980, two Colonial Conference and a share of a CCIL championship. He turned to officiating and has developed into one of the top officials in Connecticut. He has officiated over 20 state tournament meets, 15 State Open meets and several New England tournaments. He has also been selected to officiate at the collegiate level in Division I and Division III. Since 1990, he has been an officials evaluator at the NCAA Division I tournament. He is currently the head evaluator of officials at the National High School Coaches Association’s national tournament.He was honored by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association as wrestling coach of the year in 1979.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn., April 10, 2010 -- Six men from Connecticut were inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and were honored in a banquet in April by the Connecticut chapter of the Oklahoma-based Hall of Fame and museum.
Former Holy Cross coach and athletic director James Cunningham, former Berlin High coach Jim Day, former Maloney High coach and long-time official Ray Mainville, former Danbury High coach and official Michael Morrisand current Derby High coach Walter Jadach were inducted and received Lifetime Achievement awards. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gralyn Harris, a former wrestler at Holy Cross in Waterbury, was inducted and honored as an Outstanding American.
The induction banquet was held Saturday, April 10, 2010, at the Grand Pequot Tower at Foxwoods Resort and Casino.
The six inductees joined 23 other Connecticut men previously inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Lifetime Achievement award is for coaches, officials, media or contributors with at least 20 years of service. The Outstanding American award is for former wrestlers who have received state or national acclaim in his/her chosen profession.
Each award recipient is permanently recognized in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (Stillwater, Oklahoma) with an embossed name plaque, and each receives a plaque and jacket to commemorate the very special occasion.