Less than three years after announcing the hiring of Nate Yetzer as head coach of its then-new men’s intercollegiate wrestling program, Ferrum College will add a women’s intercollegiate mat program as well as a men’s wrestling club immediately, with recruitment already underway, the Virginia-based school announced Thursday.
Yetzer, who will be responsible for both new programs, has guided the Ferrum men’s varsity program to success in its first two seasons of competition, producing place-winners at the NCAA Division III East Regional, and school’s first-ever NCAA national championship qualifier. In fact, the school hosted the 2015 NCAA Division III East Regional event in nearby Roanoke, Va.
Ferrum’s women will compete under the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA), while the men’s club program will compete under the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) as a sanctioned club program. The WCWA holds a national championship tournament, contested annually in February with over 200 competitors. Ferrum’s two new programs will have strong competition nearby. The King University (Bristol, Va.) women won their second straight WCWA national championship this year, while Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va.) won the 2015 NWCA club program national title.
President Jennifer Braaten, noting that Ferrum will be one of the first institutions on the east coast to provide collegiate wrestling as an option for women, said, “We have a long tradition of strong, award-winning athletic programs. Through the additional opportunities provided to our student-athletes through these new offerings, Ferrum will continue to distinguish itself in athletics.”
“The addition of these two new programs will help to elevate our wrestling program here at Ferrum,” said Yetzer. “I’m excited to continue to bring quality student-athletes that want to continue to wrestle at the next level. Our goal is to build all three of our programs into championship teams.”
Mike Moyer, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, expressed his appreciation to Ferrum for establishing a women’s wrestling program, which will join 24 established WCWA programs to serve a rapidly-growing student-athlete base that has seen a more than tenfold increase in the number of women high school wrestlers in the US in the past two decades, with a number of states sponsoring a women’s high school state championships.
“On behalf of the NWCA Board of Directors and our President, Coach Mark Cody at University of Oklahoma, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten for her extraordinary leadership in establishing an intercollegiate women’s wrestling team,” said Moyer. “This is a region where our sport is so underserved at the college level. Wrestling prides itself on the fact that virtually anyone can participate regardless of size, weight, gender and even most disabilities. This will undoubtedly inspire many other college administrations in the region to establish intercollegiate women’s wrestling teams in an effort to accommodate the exploding number of aspiring young female wrestlers in our sport.”
Ferrum College is a four-year liberal arts school located in Ferrum, Va. in the southwest part of the state, near Roanoke. Founded in 1913, the school has 1,500 students, according to the school’s official website. Most of its sports programs, including the existing men’s intercollegiate wrestling program, compete in NCAA Division III.