Ayala inducted into Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame
BATH — On Saturday, Aug. 17 at the Hyde School the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance held its annual Hall of Fame ceremony. The Alliance inducted four well deserving individuals who have made an impact in the sport of wrestling in Maine. Head coach Richard DeRosier of Massabesic High School, Patrick Howard of Marshwood High School, University of Southern Maine head coach Mike Morin and head coach Luis Ayala of Foxcroft Academy were all inducted at this very special event.
Ayala has been coaching Foxcroft wrestling for 17 years. During that time he has led the Ponies to unparalleled success including six state championships. Ayala has coached an individual New England champion, four New England placers, a 4-time state champion, many 3-time state champions and 39 state champions. During this time, he has also amassed 346 wins and has earned multiple coach of the year awards.
Ayala didn’t focus on these stats during his induction speech but chose to share what wrestling has meant to him over the years. He elaborated on how it has helped him be the person and coach that he is today and what he has wanted his teams to be for his wrestlers. He wanted it to feel like “family.” Ayala’s idea was always to include everyone and not exclude anyone.
He was born in Quito, Ecuador. Ayala’s family moved to the United States when he was 8 and he grew up in Virginia. Coming into this country he did not speak the language and did not have any friends early on. This was very tough for him and for his siblings. When Ayala joined the youth wrestling team in Sterling Park, Virginia, everything changed. He felt the wrestling team wanted him and cared for him. This type of love he received helped him succeed not only in wresting but in life.
Wrestling gave Ayala the tools he needed to succeed when he wrestled in high school and then beyond when he joined the U.S Army. Wrestling helped him gained the confidence he needed and helped him put those doubts that he had for himself, of being different and not belonging aside to be able to succeed. This is why he loves coaching. Ayala loves to see his wrestlers reach their goals by giving them the tools that will not only help them succeed on the mat but in life. He loves to give them the confidence they need to believe in themselves and to push through any adversity.
Ayala’s stats include 17 years of coaching at Foxcroft Academy from 2001-19, and 18 years at SeDoMoCha Middle School from 2001-19, 21 years of coaching/serving as president of Foxcroft Youth Wrestling from 1999-2019 and 18 years as camp director of the Foxcroft Competitive Wrestling Camp from 2001-19.
At Foxcroft Academy Ayala has compiled a record of 346-44, earning Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Coach of the Year honors in 2013 and being named coach of the year by the Portland Press Herald in 2004.
His Pony teams have won six state championships, 12 regional titles and 11 Penobscot Valley Conference championships. Ayala coached a New England champion, 39 state champs, 76 regional champions and 47 conference first-place wrestlers.