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Williams Baptist names Kerry Regner as coach of its new wrestling program

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Williams Baptist College has hired Kerry Regner as the coach of its new wrestling program, the Arkansas-based school announced Monday.

Located in Walnut Ridge, Ark., Williams Baptist had announced in August 2013 that it would be adding a wrestling program to its roster of intercollegiate sports slated to take to the mats in 2014-15.

Regner had been serving as a graduate assistant coach at Clarion University in Pennsylvania.

"We are excited to start our tenth varsity sport at the college, and we are very excited about having Kerry Regner lead and build our program. He is very knowledgeable and comes with a great work ethic. He also brings an energy level that will breed success, and he is a perfect fit for this campus on and off the court," said WBC Director of Athletics Jeff Rider.

The new coach is eager to launch the new wrestling program at Williams Baptist.

"For a really long time I wanted to be a coach. It has been a long journey and a dream come true. I cannot wait to start and build this program. I was drawn to Williams because they have shown a strong commitment to wrestling," said Regner.

"I have had great mentors, and I grew up in a Christian home with Christian parents,” Regner continued. “My parents have taught me about honoring Christ through my athletics. Williams is a faith-based institution, which was a big deal for me when I accepted this position, not only being able to coach kids on wrestling but being able to help them in their walk with Christ will allow me to have a positive impact on their lives."

Regner cited two individuals who have helped shape his life on and off the mat.

"Ivan Ivanov is my mentor and one of the greatest wrestling influences on my life,” said Regner, referring to the 2008 Olympic superheavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler for Bulgaria. “He taught me discipline, structure and learning how to deal with wrestlers to help them succeed, while Jim Gruenwald was a spiritual mentor in my life.” (Gruenwald wrestled for the U.S. in Greco at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.)

The Williams Baptist Eagles will compete in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).

A four-year, liberal arts college, Williams Baptist is the fifth school in Arkansas to add intercollegiate wrestling in four years. Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. also revealed last summer it would be starting both men’s and women’s wrestling programs. Other Arkansas schools to welcome wrestling to their sports rosters in recent years include Ouachita Baptist (announced in Dec. 2009), Central Baptist (March 2010), and Arkansas Baptist (June 2011). This growth in collegiate wrestling in Arkansas is all the more impressive, given that the state did not have high school wrestling until 2008, according to Amateur Wrestling News.

Want to know more about the new coach? Check out Kerry Regner's official website.

Take a look back... Check out College Wrestling Examiner's list Top Ten Stories of 2013.

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