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Presbyterian College adds Division I wrestling program, Cody accepts head coaching position

It's official: After months of speculation, Presbyterian College will be adding men's and women's wrestling, and has accepted an invitation to join the Southern Conference as an associate member beginning in fall 2019, the South Carolina-based NCAA Division I school announced Thursday.

Mark Cody (Photo/SoonerSports.com)

What's more, the school is expected to name former American University and Oklahoma head wrestling coach Mark Cody its director of operations and head men's wrestling coach, Takedown Wrestling reported Thursday.

Presbyterian's men's squad will compete in a limited varsity schedule next season, before joining the SoCon as a full member in 2019. The women's wrestling team will compete as an independent, beginning next season.

Presbyterian College will be joining SoCon wrestling members include Appalachian State, Campbell, Chattanooga, The Citadel, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, VMI (Virginia Military Institute), and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, though the SIUE Cougars will move to the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in 2018.

With the announcement of adding both men's and women's programs at the same time, Presbyterian College making history as an NCAA Division I school.

"The Presbyterian College Athletics Administration should be applauded for its foresight and progressive actions leading to the implementation of Division I men's and women's wrestling programs, the first duo of its kind in the history of DI collegiate wrestling," Mike Moyer, Executive Director, National Wrestling Coaches Association, is quoted in the announcement of the new programs at Presbyterian issued by his organization. "This a monumental moment for our sport."

"It's no small undertaking to get a Division I men's or women's Olympic sport added in today's intercollegiate environment," Moyer told Trackwrestling.com.

"Anytime you accomplish something for the first time in the history of the sport, it's just a great day for our sport," Moyer continued. "We're just fortunate to have a very visionary administration at Presbyterian College that sees the real education value that men's and women's wrestling can bring to their school. I have no doubt this will inspire other schools around the country to follow."

The just-announced men's and women's wrestling programs are the first new intercollegiate sports to be added to Presbyterian's roster since women's lacrosse began competition in 2005, pushing the college's number of varsity sports to 17. There are currently 76 Division I men's wrestling programs, while PC will be the first Division I program to sponsor women's wrestling, joining 38 other programs that currently compete under the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA), according to the school's official announcement.

Mark Cody brings impressive coaching experience to Presbyterian College. He headed up the Oklahoma Sooner wrestling program for five years until his departure in 2016, compiling an overall record of 55-34. Prior to Oklahoma, Cody was head coach at American University for nine seasons. In addition, he served as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, and Bloomsburg.

Cody has yet to announce the rest of the wrestling coaching staff, according to Takedown.

Presbyterian College -- also known as PC -- is a private, four-year, liberal arts school located in Clinton, S.C. Founded in 1880, Presbyterian has approximately 1,300 students. The school's sports teams compete in NCAA Division I as the Blue Hoses.

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Gatordad (1) a week and a half ago
There is not a better coach or finer man out there than Mark. A perfect fit!