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Jay McGuffin takes over Auburn Mountainview wrestling program
Leaving the comforts of home to take on a new challenge can be daunting.
Sometimes, however, a new place, new obstacles and new goals help a person grow.
Jay McGuffin knows all about that.
This summer McGuffin, 36, replaces Adam France as Auburn Mountainview's wrestling coach. He comes to Mountainview from Chelan High School, where he built a heralded program then sustained it over the next eight years.
It's not the first time McGuffin has moved on.
In the mid-1990s, McGuffin was a force to be reckoned with on the mat.
As a star wrestler for Cashmere High School, McGuffin captured three state 1A titles with the Bulldogs, twice at 135 pounds in 1995 and 1996, and once at 122 pounds in 1994.
Despite his dominance – a 101-1 record in three seasons – McGuffin, determined to challenge himself his senior year, left for Calvary Chapel High School, a private Christian school and national wrestling powerhouse in Costa Mesa, Calif.
"It was pretty likely I would have been a (Washington) state champion again, but I couldn't pass on the opportunity," McGuffin said.
McGuffin credited his father, Randy McGuffin, also a wrestling coach, for helping him decide to leave for Southern California.
"My dad was always such an influence on me. Instead of looking at a half-empty cup, I saw a half-full cup," he said. "It was just an opportunity to get to the next level."
At Calvary Chapel, McGuffin placed fifth at 135 pounds at the state championships, earning the chance to wrestle in the U.S. High School Senior Nationals, where he finished seventh.
"We set a scoring record for the state of California," McGuffin said. "We were ranked second in the nation by Parade Magazine, and we won state as a team that year. We had six seniors who all went Division I."
Among them was McGuffin, who earned a scholarship to wrestle for the University of Oregon.
After two successful years as a Duck, including a third-place finish in the Pac-10 meet and a berth at the NCAA tournament, McGuffin transferred to Boise State University.
That's where he ended his wrestling career.
"I just didn't want to compete anymore," McGuffin said. "When you get to that level, it's all about how hungry you are to compete. I had had that hunger since I was 5 and continued to stay hungry for that competition throughout college. But I just didn't enjoy Boise, and I just lost my hunger at that level. And you have to be hungry all that time at that level."
McGuffin moved on to Central Washington University to finish his teaching degree.
"I just decided to focus on my degree and started going up to the wrestling room to help out," he said. "I was 23 at the time."
After the resignation of former Wildcats coach Kevin Pine, the wrestled approached McGuffin to take over the squad.
It was his first shot at a head coaching spot.
"The team said I should apply because they all respected me," McGuffin said. "They thought I was a great technician."
McGuffin got the job and led the Wildcats to ninth- and 13th-place rankings in NCAA Division II over the next two seasons.
Although he was successful in college, McGuffin jumped at the chance to coach at Chelan High when the job opened up.
"I had grown up here (Chelan) and had a name here," he said. "The old wrestling coach was now the athletic director. And I got the job."
For nearly a decade, McGuffin coached four individual state champions. His teams earned four top-10 1A finishes at Mat Classic and garnered five regional titles. McGuffin himself also earned league Coach of the Year awards.
McGuffin said he's ready for the next challenge, and to coach in memory of his dad, Randy McGuffin who passed away unexpectedly in 2013.
"When you have a traumatic event, you start reflecting on what is important in life," McGuffin said. "When my dad was here, it was nice to be here. But my wife and I had always talked about doing something different and new.
"I look at it as an opportunity to do something different and have an adventure," he said. "You only have one life, and I want to continue to live it."