"Wrestling offers us the unique opportunity to offer a sport that has broad appeal in the Pee Dee region, yet is also wildly popular outside of South Carolina as well," said Coker College President Robert Wyatt. "We look forward to adding another athletic program designed to help us meet the aggressive enrollment growth and diversity goals outlined in our strategic plan."
The Cobras' wrestling team will operate as an independent program with no conference affiliation.
"Bringing the sport of wrestling to Coker greatly advances the experience for our student-athletes," said Lynn Griffin, vice president of athletics and facilities. "Wrestling has a wonderful tradition of being a competitive individual sport, and it's one we feel will thrive on our campus and within the area."
The search for a head coach begins immediately.
Wrestling becomes the fourth sport added since Griffin took her post at Coker in 2010. Others were men's lacrosse (2011-12), men's volleyball (2012-13) and women's lacrosse (2013-14). Coker is the 57th Division II institution to offer men's wrestling.
"The leadership of Dr. Wyatt and Dr. Griffin has been nothing short of excellent, and I'm glad to see Coker College embrace this great opportunity," said Stan Bikulege, a member of the Coker College Board of Trustees. "Speaking as a father of a wrestler, I know first-hand the values and lessons taught on the wrestling mat are tough to duplicate. It was a no-brainer for the board to approve this decision."
Wrestling, a winter sport, will have its first match in November 2013. Although the South Atlantic Conference, which Coker begins to compete in next year, does not sponsor wrestling as a conference sport, longtime opponents and fellow SAC members Anderson and Newberry offer wrestling.
About Coker College
Coker College has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,200 students and offers 50 areas of study. The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Association of Schools of Music and the South Carolina Board of Education.
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.
For more information, contact Chris Dougherty, manager of athletics media relations, at 843-383-8018 or firstname.lastname@example.org .