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Coach Giani Back in the Saddle for another Winter Campaign

In the midst of battle when Huntington wrestlers look into their corner this weekend they can take comfort in knowing their coach is one of the best in America.  Lou Giani is back in the saddle and ready to lead his charges through another winter campaign that all involved hope ends in a championship.

Giani is widely regarded as the greatest high school wrestling coach in state history, and one of the top coaches in the country.  The local legend was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma four years ago, one of just a handful of high school coaches ever to be so honored.

Entering the 2007 season Giani has coached 23 state champions – a state record – along with 34 state tournament finalists and 50 all-state wrestlers.  “He’s the best there is,” assistant coach Travis T. Smith said.  “The proof is in the results.  You can’t argue with success.”

Giani graduated in Huntington’s Class of 1953.   As a senior, he won the 141 lb. Suffolk wrestling championship and went on to capture a Pan Am Games gold medal and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.  He later earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at C.W. Post and Adelphi, respectively.  For many years he served as a physical education teacher in the district. 

Five of Giani’s Huntington teams have won New York State Intersectional Tournament championships.   In 2002, Huntington became only the fourth team in the 43-year history of the state tournament up to that point to have three state champions in one year.  Since 1990, Huntington has had 27 individual Suffolk champions and 12 second place finishers.

After a 19-year career with the Grumman Aerospace Corporation during which Giani rose to Group Leader on the Lunar Escape Module (LEM) project for NASA, he took on teaching and coaching and has left a trail of greatness. He was the first Suffolk County champion from Huntington High School, his son, Lou, Jr., was Huntington’s first state champion and his other son, Joseph (now a Huntington assistant superintendent) was the school’s first NCAA mat champion.

Desire, discipline, determination – these three words summarize the philosophy that has carried Giani to a lifetime of achievement as both a wrestler and coach.

His coaching accomplishments include:

·        A career coaching mark in 39 seasons of 426-3461.

·        A league dual meet record of 223-15.

·        A Suffolk record 183 All-County wrestlers.

·        A state record 23 state champs and 50 all-state wrestlers.

·        27 Undefeated seasons.

·        Nine Suffolk County team championships.

·        A Suffolk record 112 invitational tournament championships.

·        A record 59 individual Suffolk County champions.

·        Nine of his teams have won New York State championships.  (Six state tournament – five public, one private - and three first place state poll rankings.)

·        60 state tournament qualifiers.

·        Member, New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame.

·        Member, Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame

On three separate occasions Giani has been chosen as the National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year, most recently in 2002 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.  In every single area of wrestling by which greatness is judged, Giani has produced impressive results. 

When Blue Devil wrestlers glance to the corner for reassurance this Saturday, they will have confidence knowing their coach is the best there is.