GEORGETOWN — A long road of coaching destinations has brought first-year wrestling head coach Ryan Archambault full-circle to where his career originally began.
Archambault may just be starting his first year as the head coach of the Georgetown-Ipswich wrestling program, but his coaching philosophies have already been applied at several different locations. He began at Georgetown, but after the program was canceled, was forced to look elsewhere for opportunities. Archambault then set his sights on Triton, where he was an assistant coach with the Vikings for six years working under head coach Shawn McElligott.
“I had an unbelievable experience at Triton,” Archambault said. “Really, had it not been for Coach Mac and the school itself and the boosters, I’m not sure if this opportunity would have ever arisen. My experience at Triton under the tutelage of Coach McElligott has prepared me to take this (Georgetown-Ipswich) team forward.”
When told of the praises offered by his former assistant coach, McElligott turned the attention back on Archambault and his drive to mentor kids in wrestling.
“He was going to be a fantastic coach whether I said anything or not,” McElligott said. “He has the knowledge and a great rapport with the kids. I helped him with paperwork and expectations, things he never went through before, but he’s ready to be a head coach. If he didn’t get a coaching job with Georgetown, I have no doubt that he would have elsewhere.”
Along with his ability working, improving and teaching kids, Archambault brought a unique feature to the Triton coaching staff: his size. Because of his larger size, he was able to work on a more direct level with the kids.
“Coach Arch worked one-on-one with a lot of our bigger guys and helped them have a lot of success,” McElligott said. “Individually, he did a lot of conditioning every day with the kids. He had a major impact on our success in the past eight years.”
Despite his enjoyment coaching at Triton, Archambault decided to take on a different challenge and take a year off to coach younger wrestlers at the River Rival youth wrestling program.
“I was just a volunteer,” Archambault said. “When the organization was being formed, we had different positions, but nobody ever said who would take over as the head coach. We all jumped in and coached the kids equally.”
After coaching high-level wrestling at Triton, mentoring younger kids at less-competitive levels left Archambault dissatisfied.
“The youth was fun, but it left a lot to be desired after competing at Triton’s level,” Archambault said. “We were two-time sectional champions at Triton. We won a state championship. I took a year off to be involved in the youth, but I missed the older kids and the level at which they compete.”
Traveling to different schools and mentoring kids of varying ages, Archambault found certain things remained constant about how and why he coaches. People who may not be familiar with wrestling may see it as strictly an individual sport, for only one member of each team is involved at a time.
It does not take long to understand how Archambault feels about wrestling and how passionate he is to establishing a team-first approach to whatever role he has in the sport. When asked to elaborate on his own career as a competitor in wrestling, Archambault asked if he really had to talk about himself. Saying he felt uncomfortable mentioning some of his own accomplishments, he chose instead to mention that his 1987 high school wrestling team had a strong 12-3 season. To have athletes who buy into a program, the head coach must first live by its philosophies.
“I love the competition aspect of coaching and I thrive on it, but I am in coaching because I am able to see individual kids compete against themselves to better themselves,” he said. “It’s not always about the wins or the losses. To see a kid progress from a freshman in high school to a senior in four years is really, really what I enjoy.”
Archambault will be able to witness the athletic growth of much of his team, for the Georgetown-Ipswich Royals-Tigers lack depth. Because of this, Archambault will be filling weight classes with younger wrestlers who are promised to improve as wrestlers, teammates and people under the direction of their head coach.