Manheim, Pa. -- In a week filled with great news for the sport of wrestling, Huntingdon College (Ala.) has announced that it will be adding a new varsity program for the 2014-15 season at the NCAA Division III level.
The addition represents the 100th new varsity intercollegiate wrestling program added across the nation since 2001 and the first NCAA wrestling program in Alabama in over 30 years.
"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 NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer.
The announcement for the new program was made at a press conference featuring Huntingdon College administrators, sponsors, friends of wrestling, and legendary University of Iowa Wrestling coach and Olympic Champion Dan Gable.
The news was made possible by a group of benefactors that collectively provided over $40,000 to help launch the program. Among these individuals are Bob Feldmeier Sr. (CEO of Feldmeier Equipment and former Princeton 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.
"We are thrilled to support Huntingdon College as they take the step of adding wrestling to their intercollegiate athletic program," stated Jeff Waters, Board President of the U.S. Wrestling Foundation. "This support demonstrates the partnership between the Foundation, USA Wrestling and the National Wrestling Coaches Association as we come together to promote and grow the sport."
John Purnell, president of Brute, celebrated the addition of another program to the college ranks with the NWCA by donating a set of competition uniforms for 15 wrestlers through its R.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport) program.
The Huntingdon College administration also announced that Tom Storey would be the first head coach of the new program. Storey, a former wrestler at the Naval Academy, was an EIWA Champion and wrestled in two NCAA 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!"
For more information on programs added since 1999, visit the "New and Re-Instated" section of the NWCA website.
About the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a non-profit organization for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on developing coaches who work in academic environments. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling. The three core competencies of the NWCA are: coaching development, student-athlete welfare, and promotion of wrestling.
About Brute Wrestling
Brute is a company that manufactures high quality wrestling equipment. In their pursuit to grow wrestling, Brute has supported the sport extensively through its R.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport) program. R.E.A.C.H.E.S. is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization founded in 2007 in an effort to promote, protect and preserve amateur wrestling in its truest form. R.E.A.C.H.E.S. provides athletic opportunities to athletes of all ages and abilities. Since R.E.A.C.H.E.S. inception in 2007, Brute has given back to wrestling in excess of $200,000.00.
About U.S. Wrestling Foundation
The United States Wrestling Foundation (the Foundation) is dedicated to the growth of amateur wrestling in the United States. The Foundation works closely with wrestling organizations that are essential to the growth of the sport of wrestling at all levels.