Head Coach Richard Gorham ’86 has guided Andover Wrestling for 24 years. From the moment he arrived at Andover as a coach, Gorham began using his experience to shape the wrestling program and produce a consistently strong team. Last year, Andover placed third out of 13 teams at the Class-A League Championship tournament, and 16th out of 46 teams at New Englands. This year, Gorham has led the team to a winning record of 8-3 thus far.
Wrestling has been a huge part of Gorham’s life since he started to play the sport as a kid, and when he was in sixth grade, he joined a youth club to wrestle at a more serious level.
Gorham then came to Andover in 1982 as a four-year day student from North Andover. Under the tutelage of the wrestling coaches Dick Lux, Nick Kip, and Jim Stephens, Gorham grew as a wrestler, developing his skills and a strong passion for the sport.
After Gorham left Andover and wrestling behind, he says he realized how much the sport meant to him. He returned to Andover to begin coaching in 1993, initially as an assistant coach, and took over in 1997 as the head coach.
Gorham said, “I began coaching because I missed the sport after my competitive career ended, and I wanted to be around it.”
When Gorham became head coach at Andover, he had a clear idea of what type of program he wanted to run at Andover. Gorham emphasizes inclusivity and respect on his team.
In an email to The Phillipian, Gorham wrote, “I hope to build a program where all athletes, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, or level of experience in the sport, are respected and valued. I ask three things of my wrestlers: respect your teammates and opponents, do what the referee tells you to do, and work hard.”
Gorham believes his wrestlers will only grow if they know what they need to work on. His honesty is what helps his wrestlers hone their abilities and reach their full potentials.
Noble Ohakam ’18 said, “He has helped the team understand our strengths and weaknesses. For instance, whenever we finished a match against another school, Gorham would give the brutally honest review of it, making sure we knew where we were as individuals and as a team.”
Pablo Sanchez ’19 said, “Coach Gorham always tells the team what we need to hear. He never sugarcoats things. He’s always tellings us to practice like we want to wrestle, which really sets the tone for practice. He’s been around the sport so long that he knows the ins and outs of every technique.”
Gorham also makes sure his players maintain a positive attitude. Regardless of the result of a meet, he iterates that his team should look forward and continue to seek improvement.
Ohakam said, “One of the things that he would always tell us is that the important match is the next one, meaning that despite the result of our previous match, we must look ahead and become better wrestlers than we are now.”
Under Gorham’s coaching and guidance, Andover Wrestling looks to continue its winning ways for the rest of the season.
Gorham said, “We hope to place in the top-three at our Class-A League tournament and to qualify at least five wrestlers for the National Prep tournament.”