Back in the 1970s, the Vanguard Lions wrestling program made its presence known well beyond its Orange County home. From 1972-75, Vanguard wrestlers won three consecutive NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) District III Championships. The 1975 wrestling team crafted a perfect 20-0 record, sending six members to the NAIA National Championships. One -- Paul LeBlanc -- earned All-American honors by placing fourth in the 142-pound weight class. For all these accomplishments, Vanguard's 1975 wrestling team was welcomed into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
With the return of wrestling to the Vanguard campus, the school will now be the first four-year college in Orange County to offer the sport. The school hopes to attract some of the 245,000 male high school wrestlers currently competing throughout the nation, including 22,000 male wrestlers in California.
In addition to the return of wrestling, Vanguard also revealed the addition of a men's volleyball program, also beginning intercollegiate competition this fall.
"We are excited to bring men's wrestling and men's volleyball to Vanguard University and the Orange County community," said Director of Athletics Jeff Bussell. "Being located in one of the greatest regions for wrestling and men's volleyball, we are prepared to offer student-athletes the opportunity to continue their athletic career while earning their college degree with a Christ-centered perspective. In speaking to the community on both of these new sports, there has been a great deal of enthusiasm already. We look forward to investing and having a transformational impact on each student-athlete that comes through Vanguard University."
Vanguard University plans to launch its search for a wrestling coach, along with the recruitment of potential student-athletes.
Vanguard University is a private, four-year school located in Costa Mesa, Calif. in Orange County just south of Los Angeles. Founded in 1920, Vanguard has a total enrollment of approximately 2,500 students.