MacMurray College, wrestling programs to close

The Board of Trustees of MacMurray College in Illinois has announced the small private college will be closing down after 174 years ... along with its men's and women's intercollegiate wrestling programs, which were added to their sports roster less than four years ago.

As InterMat reported in January of 2016, the school had announced it was bringing back its men's wrestling program which had been eliminated decades earlier, and was introducing a new women's intercollegiate program. Both took to the mats in fall 2017.

The men's roster listed ten team members, about evenly split between wrestlers from Illinois and Missouri, and the rest from as far away as Maryland and Texas. By contrast, the 14-member women's wrestling roster had only one Illinois native; Texas and California each can claim five women wrestlers. MacMurray wrestling has three coaches: head coach Graham Karwath, and assistant coaches Jeff Haley and Conner Linehan.

MacMurray College sports programs competed in NCAA Division III.

3More on the MacMurray College closing

Here's how the State Journal News of nearby Springfield opened its news story on the closure: "After years of financial struggles, MacMurray College will close its doors at the end of the spring semester, the college announced Friday."

The newspaper went on to say that MacMurray had battled financial challenges for a number of years.

In a statement posted at the official MacMurray College website, "Board of Trustees Chair Charles O'Connell '69 said that despite the generosity of alumni giving and after extensive analysis and consideration, the Board determined MacMurray had no viable financial path forward amid declining enrollments, rising competitive costs and a small endowment. Mr. O'Connell expressed deep thanks and the full support of the Board to MacMurray President Dr. Beverly Rodgers for her stewardship since being appointed to the position in 2019."

The statement went on to state that the school has gone "the extra mile' in transferring all classes to online and remote-learning formats, and has signed transfer agreements with seven other colleges in the region so that MacMurray students can complete their degrees.

The school made clear that the recent coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused were not the specific reason for the school's closure, but were factors in the decision.

MacMurray College is located in Jacksonville, in west-central Illinois, approximately halfway between the state capital of Springfield, and Hannibal, Missouri. Founded in 1846 as a women's college (becoming co-ed in 1969), MacMurray College currently has 527 full-time students and 101 faculty and staff, according to the State Journal News.


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