In 1980, Doug Perrin created the Arroyo Grande Youth Wrestling Club, and since its inception, it has served over 1,000 youth wrestlers in the area, but Doug’s impact on the local wrestling community began years before as an official. It’s now a pastime he shares with his son, Kyle.
“Being that close to the action, we have a front row seat to what I would consider the greatest sport ever,” Kyle said.
For the Perrins, wrestling isn’t just a passion, it’s a bond on the mat between a father and his son.
“I love the action of the sport,” Doug said with a smile. “I like being in the correct position and seeing things as they occur.”
“When I get out on the mat, it is 100% focus,” Kyle explained. “My immediate focus is on the match at hand.”
Doug is now a veteran high school referee of 44 years, add that to his 38 years at the junior college level, and 35 at the NCAA Division 1 rank. Talk about expectation when Kyle began just 10 years ago.
“I didn’t know that I was going to enjoy officiating,” Kyle said. “I love the sport of wrestling, I don’t know if I’m going to love officiating, but my dad loves officiating, so let’s give it a go.”
Lucky for Kyle, his dad was, and still is, right by his side every step of the way.
“It’s terrific because I see what a great job he does,” Doug said. “He’s had, not just me, but other people in our association have been good mentors to him.”
“You know, I’m a sponge,” Kyle added. “Watching my dad and having these moments like, ‘Oh, I see how he called that. I’m going to start calling it just like that.'”
At 64-years-young, Doug is still a mat rat like when he first began, but with all that experience, he’s started using his brain more to compensate for his body.
“As we get older, we may get a little bit slower,” Doug said with a grin. “Hopefully our anticipation is a bit better, and we’re a little smarter on the mat so that when we see things happening, we’re in position.”
Doug’s long-time dedication to the sport hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2014, Doug received the Lifetime Service Award from the California Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was awarded the first annual Golden Whistle from the CIF Southern Section. And then most recently, in 2017, Doug was honored with the Lifetime Service Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“Well for me, it’s really the pinnacle,” Doug said. “As far as awards go, there’s no higher to go.”
With a tear in his eye, Kyle said, “He’s been, my coach, coaching me to be a man, coaching me to be a husband, a father, an athlete, a hard worker, so it came as no surprise to me.”
Doug’s time on the mat is far from over. He’s hoping to keep the Perrin name alive and well for years to come.
“Every year I say, ‘one more year, one more year,’ but there’s a lot of closeness in the local wrestling community and I really enjoy that. It would be really hard for me to walk away.”
You can catch Doug and Kyle on the mat during the upcoming Morro Bay C.I.T. Tournament, January 18-19 at Morro Bay High School.