Keiser University will be adding wrestling to its slate of varsity athletic programs beginning for the 2019-20 academic year and has hired Joe Bertolone as head coach, the Florida college announced last week.
Bertolone will bring more than 40 years of coaching experience to Keiser, having directed a handful of high school programs. Prior to becoming a coach, he won back-to-back NCAA Division III titles as a wrestler at John Carroll University in Cleveland in 1974 and 1975.
For all these accomplishments, Bertolone has earned a number of honors, including being welcomed into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Florida Chapter in 2012, John Carroll University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985, NCAA Division III Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996, and Broward County Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015.
"I'm truly excited to lay the groundwork for the Keiser University wrestling program," said Bertolone. "Never stop dreaming, even after 40 years!"
Kris Swogger, Keiser Director of Athletics, offered this explanation as to why the school is adding wrestling.
"There are a lot of great high school wrestling programs in Florida, and we are excited to provide those student-athletes the opportunity to stay home and compete in the sport they love," according to Swogger.
With the addition of wrestling, Keiser will be able to claim 25 varsity teams.
The Seahawks will compete in the NAIA, joining 58 existing National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics wrestling programs. Keiser will become the second Sun Conference institution, along with Southeastern University, to sponsor men's wrestling as an NAIA varsity sport.
Keiser University is a four-year private school located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with satellite campuses throughout Florida.