While April’s announcement of the elimination of Boston University’s wrestling program caused consternation within the wrestling community and generated headlines in the mainstream media, the trend of colleges adding wrestling to their sports rosters continued unabated in 2013.
During the past year, College Wrestling Examiner reported that eight schools announced brand-new or reinstated wrestling programs, including four new women’s programs.
This growth pattern is nothing new. In fact, since 2001, more than 100 schools have added intercollegiate mat programs. The majority of these new programs are at small, private colleges located primarily in the Midwest and south; however, this year, two of the schools could be classified as suburban, and another is the heart of a major city. It’s safe to say that all these schools share one insight: that adding wrestling is an unbeatable recruitment tool that differentiates a school from the pack.
Among the schools that announced new wrestling programs this year:
- Huntingdon College, an 1,100-student United Methodist school in Montgomery, Ala., revealed in September it will launch a Division III mat program in 2014-15, the the first NCAA wrestling program in the state in 30 years. The Hawks have already hired a head coach, Tom Storey, a former wrestler at the U.S. Naval Academy.
- Life University in suburban Atlanta announced that it will be adding a women’s wrestling program – the first in the state of Georgia -- to join the men’s program started just two years ago. The school describes itself as “a private health sciences institution offering a number of undergraduate programs, along with its doctoral degree program in chiropractic medicine, the largest in the world.”
- Long Island University Post is bringing back its wrestling program effective in 2014-15, after a quarter-century absence. Men’s wrestling is just one of seven men’s and women’s sports being added to the NCAA Division II school’s roster. LIU Post is atypical of schools adding wrestling; it is a large (24,000-student), suburban (Brookville, N.Y.) institution located within a traditional wrestling hotbed (Long Island).
- Lyon College will be adding men’s and women’s wrestling. The Batesville, Ark. school, with 600 students, competes in NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and becomes the fourth college in Arkansas to start a wrestling program in the past five years… all the more impressive considering the state did not have high school wrestling until 2008.
- Ottawa University revealed in October it was launching both men’s and women’s wrestling programs effective in 2014-15… and has already hired Kevin Andres as its head coach. The 600-student school, which competes in NAIA, is the fourth small college to add wrestling in the state of Kansas.
- SUNY Sullivan Community College, a two-year school located in the Catskill Mountains two hours north of New York City, announced the formation of a wrestling program in January, and the hiring of Jared Kahmar, head coach at Port Jervis High School, to head up the new program which will compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
- Warner Pacific College will be adding men’s and women’s intercollegiate wrestling programs effective in 2014-15, the school announced in October. The program will be a part of the NAIA. Unlike most schools adding wrestling, Warner Pacific is an urban school located in Portland, Ore.
- Williams Baptist College, a four-year, private liberal arts college in Walnut Ridge, Ark., joins the growing list of Arkansas schools adding wrestling. The new program, which plans to take to the mat for the 2014-15 school year, will compete in the NAIA.
Could the Fresno State Bulldogs be back on the mat, after a six-year absence?
Joseph Castro, marking his 100th day as president of the California State University at Fresno with a press conference in early November, said he plans to assemble a team early next year to review all the school’s sports programs… including wrestling and soccer, which were eliminated because of past budget and gender equality issues.
"I think there is a compelling case that's being made for wrestling, and I want to make sure that information is all part of the review and the discussions," said Castro during the press conference that also addressed a number of topics beyond sports.
The new president made clear that the program would need approximately a half-million dollars each year in private funding to sustain itself.
Want to know more about new college programs? Click on the highlighted name of a particular school for a link to the College Wrestling Examiner article announcing that new program… or, for a complete list of New College Wrestling Programs, click here.
College Wrestling Examiner’s Year in Review: For the fifth straight year, College Wrestling Examiner will be taking a look at the Top Ten stories of the year. Now through the end of this year, we’ll be posting our choices for the ten most significant stories in the world of collegiate wrestling in 2013. Want to be among the first to know? Click on the “subscribe” button on this page, and you’ll be notified right away when a new story is posted.
Top Ten Stories for 2013 (so far):
- No. 10: College wrestling uses MMA, marketing ideas to build crowds
- No. 9: Ruth, Martinez, York College suspended, Campolattano ousted
- No. 8: Madison Square Garden among sites for upcoming NCAA D1s
- No. 7: Death takes Carr, Gadson, Hammond, Kerr, Richards, others
- No. 6: Penn State wins D1 team title in exciting, MMA-flavored finals
- No. 5: New ventures like Agon, Tour ACW, Victory Wrestling let wrestlers continue in sport
- No. 4: Boston University to kill wrestling program after 2013-14 season
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