Pete Grisafi – Lifetime Service to Wrestling
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Pete Grisafi

Honor: Lifetime Service to Wrestling
Year: 2022
Gender: Male
About Pete:

With more than a 50-year span as a competitor, coach and avid supporter of wrestling, Pete started his wrestling journey in 1968. He was introduced to the challenges of this sport by participating as a novice in several dual meets at the Boys Club in El Cajon. Later that year, he attended a youth program started by a local high school coach, Richard Winn.

At El Cajon Valley High School, Pete was a 3-year varsity letterman, achieving numerous wins and recording multiple defeats during his tenure there. In addition to winning the league tournament as a junior in 1972, he also earned the top spot as the San Diego Section Masters Champion ( the CIF Champion at that time). In his senior year, he was runner-up at the Masters Championship. However, the most satisfying event for him during that time was the culmination of a 4-year quest by the school’s varsity wrestling team: going undefeated and beating perennial power Monte Vista for the league championship. Three weeks later in 1973, that team became the first to win the newly inaugurated California State Wrestling Championship.

Don Rohrke, the wrestling coach at Grossmont College, convinced Pete to take up wrestling after a year off from competition. With good coaching, good fortune and lots of heard work, Grisafi placed 6th at the California Community College State Tournament in 1975, then won first place in 1976 to earn All-American Honors. In 1977, he had a full-ride scholarship to Colorado State University where he posted a record of 23-12 in his one season there.

Pete’s first official coaching position was in 1978 as an assistant to Rohrke and Richard Winn at Grossmont College. In 1980, Grisafi became Head Coach at Granite Hills High School. Over the next 6 years, he earned a dual meet record of 34-10, securing an assortment of tournament championships. In 1990, he coached and taught at El Cajon Valley High School, and with support and assistance from accomplished head coaches Jim Minor and Guy Gist, they were able to earn several league championship and CIF Runners-Up banners. They had nearly 100 dual meet victories from 1990-99. In 2000, Pete moved back to Granite Hills, serving as Head Coach intermittently over a 17-year period before retiring in 2018.

Over his the 35 years of coaching, Pete had the privilege of working with numerous athletes, with many of them earning titles as League, CIF and/or Master’s Champions, as well as State Placers. In addition, some of these young men advanced to the next level of wrestling, placing in the NCAA Wrestling Championships (Tim Briggs, Jake Gaeir and Cedric Haymen). However, Pete believes his most valuable achievement has been to serve as a mentor and coach for over 1,000 young men and women, all with vastly different abilities and backgrounds. Taking to heart what legendary wrestler Dan Gable stated decades ago, “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” Grisafi worked tirelessly over the years to instill that belief in all his wrestlers.