Darby McLaughlin

Head Coach

Coach Darby McLaughlin is a 1992 graduate of Springfield Central High School. He received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Westfield State College, and a master’s degree in Education from American International College.

His wrestling achievements include winning state titles in Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling. In 1992, as captain of the Massachusetts Junior National Team he was a USA Wrestling, Greco-Roman All American. He went on to wrestle Division 1 for Central Connecticut State University.

Coach McLaughlin is one of the premier high school coaches in New England. He is a physical education teacher at Springfield Central High School and is in his 22nd year as the head wrestling coach. His teams have won a combined 13 State Titles. He has also coached numerous individual State, All State and New England Champions, as well as four All Americans and a NHSCA National Champion.

Coaching Accolades

  • National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWSCA) Coach of the Year, 2006 & 2017.
  • National Wrestling Hall of Fame Coach of the Year, 2013
  • Massachusetts Div. 1 Coach of the Year 2011, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20.
  • Div. 1 State Champions 2006, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020.
  • Massachusetts All State Champions 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020.
  • 2X MA Dual Meet State Champions.
    14X Div. 1 Western Mass Champions.
  • 2019 MIAA Team Sportsmanship Award- Presented by the MA Referees Association
  • Inducted into the Springfield Public High Schools Sports Hall of Fame as both an athlete and a coach.

Dave Alvarado

Head Youth Wrestling Coach

Coach David Alvarado is a 1990 graduate of Roger L. Putnam Vocational High School, now known as Putnam Vocational Academy.

In the past 22 years as the head coach of Putnam Vocational Academy, he has coached numerous New England qualifiers, All State, State and Sectional Champions. In 2018 his team won the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Title and he was named 2018 Coach of the year.

Dave’s passion for wrestling began in high school and has carried on through his adult life. He understands that connection and positive role models with inner city youths will enable them to set the foundation for a fulfilling future. Coming from the inner city himself, Coach Alvarado understands the value of good role models and mentors.

Coach Alvarado is a 29 year veteran with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department (HCSD). He currently holds the rank of Primary Captain in the Special Operations Division. His coaching and instructing has carried on in his professional career as well. David has mentored numerous new officers as they began their career with the department knowing the importance of having competent well balanced staff. Coach Alvarado realizes the importance of mentorship and was a member of the mentorship development committee. He is highly regarded as a sincere, trusted and capable mentor.

Throughout his career with the HCSD, he has held various instructorships to include: Defensive Tactics Instructor Trainer, Firearms Instructor Trainer, and Use of Force Instructor. Coach Alvarado has instructed hundreds of new correctional staff as well as veteran officers in the above mentioned disciplines.

Jayson Franklin


Jason Franklin is a 1993 graduate from Westfield State University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in social work and was previously employed for 16 years at the Department of Children and Families in Springfield, MA.

He has been in martial arts for over 30 years and has competed in kickboxing through the 90’s and early 2000’s. He has experience in traditional martial arts such as kenpo, as well as, boxing, kickboxing, and BJJ.

He has owned several martial arts schools in Western Massachusetts, as well as coached at different schools through the years.

He has coached and mentored many amateur and pro MMA fighters since 2004.

Dan Fagan


30plus yrs Boxing and coaching/Golden Gloves Boxer/Battle of Badges Champ/Diamond Belt Champ/Gates Boxing Tournament Champ/Toughman Boxing Champ New York.
Wrestling: Head Coach Sabis High School/2x State Champ/3rd New England Tourn./New England Freestyle Champ./ 3rd Bay State Games/ NCAA Div 2 Wrestler/Olympic Regionals Competitor.

Tom Bly


Coach Bly began his wrestling career in upstate NY, where he was a sectional placer in high school and a sectional champ in freestyle. He continued his wrestling and academic career at Springfield College where he earned his degree and captained the team in 1991-1992.

Upon completion of his competitive career, Coach Bly coached in various capacities at Springfield College, The Williston Northampton School, and Ludlow High School. As a member of the 2003 Ludlow staff, he helped lead a team that won the D1 Massachusetts state championship while setting a scoring record that stands to this day. His proudest coaching achievement is a New England Prep School Team Championship won by Williston in 1998, only six seasons after he had founded the program.

After retiring from actively coaching in 2008, Coach Bly has remained involved as a wrestling dad and as an official who has refereed numerous sectional, state, and all-state tournaments.

Christopher Beaulieu


Christopher Beaulieu 1999 H.H.S graduate. Twenty Two year veteran of the USAF Security Forces serving in Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Trainer for civilian Law enforcement Officers as well as numerous military branches in Defensive tactics, Diplomat Personal Security and Military Combative fighting. Use of Force Instructor along with less than lethal weapons.  Professional experience and competitor in MMA along with traditional martial arts such as Kickboxing, Boxing, Karate, Catch wrestling and BJJ. Experienced licensed trainer in MMA and Kickboxing working with amateur and professional athletes. Also continuing education in strength and conditioning and modern sports science. Striving to help guide today’s youth and its future leaders. I can truly testify that Grit & Gratitude Wrestling Academy is the foundation of core values I hold dearly for my own family. Gratitude, Resilience, Initiative, Tenacity.

Jeremiah Rosa


Mr. Rosa is a Springfield Central High School Assistant Wrestling Coach, Assistant Football Coach, and Physical Education Teacher. While earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education at Bridgewater State University, he interned as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Athletic Evolution and worked as a Youth Development Professional/Mentor for F.A.M for Change and the Bridge Partnership Program. Mr. Rosa is a graduate of the High School of Science and Technology where he played football and was a captain of the wrestling team that co-opted with Putnam Vocational High School.

Dmitriy Shlemanov


Born in USSR (Siberia) in September 1975. Grew up in the small town of Sinegorie what translates to blue mountains and is pretty much across from Alaska.  I received basic education ( 1-8 grade) and was a member of Greco Roman  National youth wrestling team.  Multi regional champion in Greco Roman wrestling including Siberia, Ukraine, Belorussia and southeastern Russia before moving to USA in 1990. After coming to the United States I continue wrestling for Springfield Central high school from which I graduated in 1993.  I was very fortunate to have great wrestling coach and teammates, as I knew very little English it was hard for me to communicate, understand everything or make friends. In high school I won Massachusetts State championship in Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling.  I took first in New England my senior year. I received a wrestling scholarship to SCSU.  I placed 6th in the Nation and received an All-American award in my second year in college. In 1998 I moved to California and graduate from the California School of Medical Sciences ultrasound program. In 2003 I moved back to the East Coast.  Now I settled in Feeding Hills Massachusetts, where I live with my wife, four kids, two dogs and a cat.  My oldest son reignited my passion to wrestling when he joined the team.  Not competing, but coaching kids gives me a great pleasure, joy, respect and I hope I can make a tiny differences in their life’s teaching them the best sport ever! 

Jacob Strohman


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Jonathan Viruet


Mr. Viruet is a 2019 graduate of Brown University where he received a Bachelor of Business Technology degree in Biomaterials and Biotechnology.

He was a 3-year captain of the Brown University wrestling team qualifying for the NCAA Tournament twice and 3x place winner at the EIWA championships. He also was 2x USA Greco Roman All-American and Folkstyle All American. This followed an outstanding high school career where he won a High School National Championship along with 2 New England Championship titles and 3 All State Championships at Springfield Central H.S.

James Soffen

IT Coordinator

Born and raised in Springfield Massachusetts and graduated from The High School of Science & Technology in 1999. He left college to pursue a career in civil engineering and mechanical construction. Currently he is the vice president of operations of Campora Construction and oversees/manages large scale government contracted construction projects.

James has spent his entire adult life training martial arts including; Kung fu, Muay Thai kickboxing, American boxing, Kenpo karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and wrestling. Since 2014 he has dedicated his studies specifically to wrestling and has earned a purple belt in BJJ. James still actively competes and has won numerous titles at every rank. At his current rank he placed 3rd at the IBJJF Master World Tournament, numerous 1st place finishes at various NAGA’s, 1st in his weight and 1st in the Open weight divisions at the IBJJF Charleston International Open, the Gaman Massachusetts Winter Open and the IBJJF New Haven International Open. James also has had 2 professional grappling matches and had his hand raised in victory in both. 

James is a Bronze Level USA Wrestling Leader and has been an assistant coach for various local youth programs over the past seven years. If you ask him, he will tell you that he started to learn wrestling just to be able to help teach his children that he felt would benefit from the sport. When you meet him and his children, the passion for the sport is very clear.