Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. will be launching the first NCAA wrestling program in the state in 30 years, the National Wrestling Coaches Association announced Wednesday.
Although the Huntingdon Hawks won’t take to the mats until the 2014-15 season, the new program – which will compete in NCAA Division III – already has a head coach: Tom Storey, a former wrestler at the U.S. Naval Academy, who was an EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) champion who qualified for two NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
"I am honored to be selected as the head wrestling coach at Huntingdon College," said Storey. "I am looking forward to building a dynasty in D3 wrestling!"
The announcement of the new program and its coach were made at a press conference featuring Huntingdon College administrators, sponsors, friends of wrestling, and legendary Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa coach Dan Gable.
"On behalf of the NWCA Board of Directors and our President Rob Koll, I am thrilled that the Huntingdon College Administration recognizes the educational value that wrestling will bring to their campus," said National Wrestling Coaches Association Executive Director Mike Moyer.
The new wrestling program at Huntingdon is the result of a number of benefactors who collectively provided over $40,000 to help launch the program. Among these individuals are Bob Feldmeier Sr. (CEO of Feldmeier Equipment, and a former Princeton University wrestler), Greg Hatcher (prominent Arkansas businessman), and Stephen Chazen (President of UNUS Foundation).
In addition to these individuals, the U.S. Wrestling Foundation continued its support of college wrestling with a $10,000 donation to alleviate the start-up costs of the program.
As the amateur wrestling website d3wrestle.com pointed out in its report announcing the new Alabama-based program, “Huntingdon is more than 500 miles from its nearest DIII competitor, so they may wrestle a schedule similar to Pacific where they see little DIII competition prior to the regional and NCAA championships. The hope here is that a successful Huntingdon program will spur other DIII schools in the South to start wrestling programs of their own.”
Huntingdon maintains a streak of adding a new NCAA Division III wrestling program each of the past four years, according to d3wrestle.com. Alma College began in 2011-2012, Mount St. Vincent began in 2012-2013, Ferrum College begins varsity competition this season, and Huntingdon will begin competing in 2014-2015.
Founded in 1854, Huntingdon College is a coeducational, liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church in Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama. The school has an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students. Huntingdon’s sports teams, the Hawks, compete in NCAA Division III.
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