Haig Varadian

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Haig Varadian Inducted into RIIL Hall of Fame

Rhode Island native Haig Varadian was recently selected for 2005 induction into the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Referred to my many as "the father of Rhode Island wrestling," Varadian has devoted more than 50 years to the sport.

He founded the Rhode Island Interscholastic League's wrestling program in the early 1950s and served on the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Principal's Committee on Athletics for over 20 years.

He spent 40 years on the Council of the New England Secondary Schools Principals' Association and the last 25 years as its executive director, administrating every New England high school championships in all sports.

A graduate of Cranston High School in 1944, Varadian was an All-State wrestler for two years, as well as a member of the school's track team.

Soon after graduation, Varadian was inducted into the U.S. Army, serving as a Staff Sergeant in the 3rd Division Combat Infantry Unit during World War II. Varadian was a recipient of the Combat Infantryman's Medal with two battle stars and other awards for valor including the Bronze Star.

While at Brown University, graduating in 1950, Varadian was a member of its wrestling team. He coached the Cranston High School Wrestling team from 1950 to 1961 winning many State titles.

He was named "Rhode Island Wrestling Coach of the Year" five times and is proud to have produced a number of State and New England champions, many of whom became high school and college wrestling coaches.

He also coached the Cranston High School Outdoor Track team for five years.

The track at Park View Junior High School is named in his honor.

For his success as a collegiate wrestling official, Varadian was chosen by the U.S. Olympics Wrestling Committee as an alternate official for the 1960 Olympics held in Japan.

Varadian's professional career spanned 41 years in the Cranston School System as a secondary school administrator at Cranston High School East and West, and as a principal of Park View Junior High School until he retired in 1990.

In 1999, Varadian was inducted into the prestigious Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame that honors those "who have brought credit to Rhode Island, brought Rhode Island into prominence, and contributed to the history and heritage of the state."

He was also inducted into the Rhode Island Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1971; the New England Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1991; the Cranston Hall of Fame in 1991; and the Cranston High School Hall of Fame in 2003. Renowned for officiating, USA Wrestling chose him as its "Man of the Year" in 1980, as did the New England Wrestling Coaches Association in 1988.

Varadian also received the Presidential Citation for outstanding service in the "International People to People Program" in 1957. He has received numerous other citations for his exemplary civic service.

As a former member and athlete of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Varadian is credited with establishing their Board of Governors on Athletics.

The organization honored him in 1969 at its annual Olympic Games with their Olympics King award. He is an honorary member of the local Providence AYF chapter.

"As a youth, he served his country. As an adult he served youth in his capacity as a teacher, coach and administrator. Both were done with truth and honor," said RIIL assistant executive director Richard Magarian.

In his acceptance remarks, Varadian reflected on the past, present and future. "My goal is to ensure that the future generations will have the same opportunities that I have shared with all academically, as well as in the field of athletics.The future must not mirror the past. We all have responsibilities in giving to our students the knowledge that is necessary for them to meet the challenges of the future," he said.

The RIIL aims to provide educational opportunities for students through interscholastic athletics and to provide governance and leadership for its member schools in the implementation of athletic programs.