Longtime R.E. Lee High School wrestling coach Jim Arrington will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Alabama Chapter on Aug. 1.
Arrington will also be joined by former Hoover coach Duke Chimento, AHSAA Wrestling Tournament Director John Howle, official Rick Lampkin, Hayden High coach Paul Moore and official Jeff Saxon in being presented with the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award.
Arrington, who now resides in Enterprise, is a Hattiesburg, Miss., native who grew up in Irondale with his family. In the 1960s, his family moved to Montgomery where he played football and was introduced to amateur wrestling at Sidney Lanier High School.
In 1965, Arrington learned about wrestling from teammate – and 1966 145-pound state champion – Chip Nix as a sophomore before becoming a starter on the wrestling team as a junior. An injury ended his high school football and wrestling career the next year, but he began coaching junior high football and wrestling during his senior year of high school.
Arrington and a number of others worked together to establish junior high wrestling in Montgomery and in 1969, Arrington attended Huntingdon College before accepting a position with Montgomery Parks and Recreation as an assistant coach at Cloverdale Junior High.
Arrington also taught at Cloverdale after graduating from Huntingdon in 1972 and became a football and wrestling coach at Capitol Heights Junior High in 1974. In 1981, Arrington was hired by R.E. Lee as a teacher, assistant football coach and head wrestling coach.
Lee and the “Grapplin’ Generals” went on to much success on the mat earning two AHSAA State Championships, two AHSAA State Runner-Ups and three AHSAA third place finishes between 1981 and 1995. The Generals also cashed in on four sectional championships and nine individual state championships during that span.
Arrington also served as an AHSAA wrestling official from 1976 until 1996 and was the AHSAA Wrestling Director for the South-Central District.
After leaving coaching, Arrington served as principal at Capitol Heights Junior High and principal at St. James High School. Arrington helped establish a wrestling program at St. James.
Arrington currently serves as Vice President of the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Board of Directors, AISA Accreditation Committee Chair and leader of Accreditation Review Teams. In 2003, Arrington was inducted into the R.E. Lee High School Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Veverly, currently live in Enterprise.