"The athletic department plays a big role at Wheeling Jesuit, and we tend to excel in the classroom and in our chosen sport," said Sancomb. "With a lot of hard work by the administration, we wanted to add an athletic program to make 20 NCAA Division II sports, and wrestling was the best choice for our University for many reasons."
WJU currently competes in 19 NCAA sponsored championships, 10 women's and nine men's, while supporting varsity rugby, ice hockey and cheerleading. The addition of Wrestling marks the third athletic program started in a three year span. Women's lacrosse was incorporated in the 2011, and after an 18-year hiatus, WJU rugby returned in 2012 as a USA Rugby varsity sport. The Cardinals will now compete in 10 NCAA men's championship segments with a combined 21 varsity programs. Wrestling will hit the mat in 2013-2014 academic year.
Sancomb continued, "We did an extensive amount of research and found what great student-athletes are involved with wrestling, the large amount of wrestling prospects and our location which is in a great area for wrestling tradition.
It is very important to have successful programs at our institution, which starts with great leadership. We know it takes time to build a successful program and we were very fortunate to hire Sean Doyle as our first head coach.
He has great vision and leadership to start our new program and the ability to recruit top-level student-athletes that will excel in the classroom, on the mat, and in the WJU community.
Sean has a very successful wrestling background. He had a great high school career at Buckeye Local High School. He was successful at the Division I level, wrestling for Cornell University where he was a member of two Ivy League championship teams.
Sean began his coaching career in Wheeling with Wheeling Central High School where he led the Maroon Knights to a Top 15 ranking in West Virginia, and then, moved on to a great career at Wheeling Park High School. He earned OVAC coach of the year twice and was named West Virginia Coach of the Year in 2008."
"It is an honor, and with great pleasure to accept the position to start the wrestling program at Wheeling Jesuit," said Doyle. "I would like to thank President Richard A. Beyer, Executive Vice President Fr. James Fleming, Vice President for Enrollment Management Larry Vallar and Director of Athletics Danny Sancomb for making this opportunity a reality."
"I'm ready to hit the ground running. Wheeling Jesuit has been built on a tradition of excellence which is a great partnership with the sport of wrestling because of the character, discipline, work ethic and leadership skills the sport demands," said Doyle. "We will be able to identify student-athletes that fit the institution's mission perfectly. I look forward to finding great student-athletes."
Doyle continued, "The recruiting process for the inaugural class starts immediately. We will begin locally. We want people to be excited and support WJU wrestling. In addition, we are in the middle of two powerhouse states for wrestling, Ohio and Pennsylvania, who are arguably two of the best in the country. We have the opportunity to attract great student-athletes, and there are only a few institutions who offer wrestling in West Virginia."
A global leader in academic excellence, undergraduate research and service learning, Wheeling Jesuit University is one of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Wheeling Jesuit has earned a place among America's Best Colleges by Forbes Magazine since its rankings began. Wheeling Jesuit has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top regional university for the past 15 years.
The University's 21 varsity sports include 20 men and women's NCAA Division II athletic teams and its USA Rugby Program. Jesuit teams have won 65 conference championships and boast 45-plus Academic All-Americans.
The campus is home to the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center, the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies, the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future, a Challenger Learning Center and the Clifford M. Lewis Appalachian Institute. For complete information, please visit www.wju.edu or call 1-800-624-6992.