Rumford native Dave Giroux, left, with Gerald Perkins. Giroux will be inducted into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame on Saturday. (Submitted photo)
When Dave Giroux stepped on a wrestling mat he was routinely dwarfed by his opponents. However, heart and desire are difficult to measure, and the amount Giroux had of both was difficult to match.
The Rumford native utilized his competitive nature to its fullest, and his success in doing so will be recognized when Giroux is inducted in to the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame on Saturday, along with Terry Devereaux, Chris Smith and Carlin Dubay. The induction ceremony will be held at the Hyde School in Bath.
Giroux weighed 205 pounds and was small for a heavyweight because it was considered an “unlimited class,” and there was no maximum-weight limit.
This difference prompted Giroux to develop a unique strategy that proved to be highly successful. He compiled a 47-4-2 career record for Rumford High School from 1968-71 and was a two-time Class A state champion. He also won a New England championship in 1971.
“He faced three huge (opponents) who outweighed him tremendously,” hall-of-fame coach Jerry Perkins said regarding the New England Championships held at Biddeford High School. “Dave stayed out from underneath and used single-leg sweeps and (relied) on quickness takedowns. He had tremendous balance and amazing strength.”
Making the 1971 season even more remarkable was that Giroux finished it unbeaten and had a total of only eight points scored against him.
Giroux won a state title as a sophomore and then suffered only one loss as a junior, in the semifinals at the state meet, on a bad knee. Giroux regrouped and placed third in the state.
He won his second state championship as a senior.
“Off the mat, very unassuming and down-to-earth,” former teammate Glenn Gurney said. “On the mat, all business. Smart, quick and technical.”
Giroux and the 1971 Rumford team started a fire that burned for the next decade in the Rumford-Peru area. The ensuing run of success included three consecutive state championships from 1972-74, and first- or second-place finishes by the Panthers nine times through 1981.
“One of the mentally toughest men I was fortunate enough to coach with,” Perkins said. “(Dave) was solid as a rock (with) super quickness. His desire to win was unmatched.”
Following graduation in 1971, Giroux attended the University of Prince Edward Island for two years and then transferred and earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Southern Illinois University.
After college, Giroux enlisted in the Navy for eight years, working in software engineering. He then worked at System Engineering Laboratories for 15 years before going to Oracle Software Engineering for six years.
He is now retired and lives in Colorado.
Devereaux initially made a made his mark as a wrestler at Belfast Area High School, where he was state finalist and New England runner-up in 1978. In addition, he placed sixth at AAU Jr. Nationals, third at Canadian Jr. Nationals and second in the USAW Northeast Regional.
He enrolled at Old Dominion University in Virginia and earned a varsity letter as a wrestler on NCAA Division I team.
“I’m honored to have been selected for inclusion into the MAWA Hall of Fame,” Devereaux said. “Preparing for the induction ceremony has caused me to reflect on my involvement in the sport for more than 40 years. People have been kind enough to send me messages regarding my contributions to wrestling in Maine.”
The lifelong wrestling man has worn many hats through out the state, which has included several coaching stops. Devereaux was the head coach at Cony High School from 1987-1994 and 1998-2000. He was twice named the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, and was recognized by Wrestling USA Magazine as the Person of the Year for Maine (2007).
“But, in truth, I’ve gotten much more from being involved with wrestling than I have given,” he said. “Wrestling gave me a feeling of self-worth as a high school athlete, a chance to have an impact on young people’s lives as a coach, and has led to the development of life-long friendships with others in the sport.”
Devereaux’s organizational skills and promotion of Maine wrestling have been unprecedented. He served as the site director for the first combined Class A, B and C Maine state wrestling tournament in 2001, and for the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance (MAWA) All-Star Tournament from 2009-2011.
Since 2000, Devereaux has acted as the director for numerous tournaments in Maine. He also has been a board member of Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance since 2000, holding various positions, including president and treasurer.
Smith was a four-time state champion (2005-2008) at Deering High School. He compiled a 162-16 career record with 94 pins. He was honored as a High School All-American in 2007 and was the Dave Schultz Award winner for New England 2008. He placed third and sixth, respectively, in New England in 2007 and 2008.
Smith went on to wrestle for four years at Division I Northern Illinois University. He also served as an assistant wrestling coach at Deering from 2013-2017.
Dubay enjoyed a stellar wrestling career at Caribou High School, winning three state championships and a New England championship, in 2008.
Dubay ruled the 103-pound division and compiled a career record of 162-12 (eight of those losses came during his freshman season). He was unbeaten against Maine opponents during his sophomore through senior years. He went 54-0 as a senior, and was a two-time Noble Invitational champion and placed sixth at NHSCA Sr. Nationals 2008.
In addition the the Hall of Fame inductees, numerous award winners will be honored. The coach of the Year is Matt Rix, who retired after guiding Marshwood to its fourth straight Class A state championship. The Hawks, with Rix at the helm, won multiple state titles in the past three decades.
Peter Del Gallo, who wrestles for the University of Southern Maine, is the James Aguiar College Wrestler of the Year. Samuel Anderson of Sanford is the John Caramilhalis High School Wrestler of the Year.