Despite Boston University’s wrestling program taking to the mat for the last time in 2014 after being axed on April 1, 2013, College Wrestling Examiner reported that nearly a dozen new college wrestling programs were announced during the past twelve months. The schools that are adding intercollegiate wrestling are geographically diverse, with locations in New England, the South, and the Middle West. Just about all are private, four-year colleges… though there’s at least one two-year community college in the mix.
A quartet of the schools unveiling new wrestling programs has already hired head coaches, with two expected to start competing this fall. Davenport University, a multi-campus institution of higher learning in Michigan, announced early in 2014 that it would introduce men’s wrestling to its Caledonia campus, and had already hired Jamie Boyd, a product of Central Michigan University, as head coach of its NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) program. Daniel Webster College, located in Nashua, N.H., revealed it would launch a wrestling program in 2014, having hired a head coach, John Archambeau, who wrestled and coached at Springfield College in Massachusetts. University of the Ozarks, a NCAA Division III school, has named Jason Zastrow, a wrestler and former assistant coach at D3 mat power Wartburg College in Iowa, to head up the newest program in Arkansas, a state where college wrestling is a relatively new phenomenon but now has a handful of mat programs. Earlier this month, Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Ga., which is launching new men’s and women’s wrestling programs in fall 2015, hired Jake Brumbelow as the head coach of the men’s program.
In 2014, College Wrestling Examiner reported on the addition of three other college wrestling programs expected to take to the mats in fall 2015. Florida’s Southeastern University will make history by becoming the first intercollegiate wrestling program in the Sunshine State. Morthland College in southern Illinois will be second new mat program in the Land of Lincoln next year, joining Millikin. The state of Kansas, which has welcomed a number of new wrestling programs in recent years, will be the home of yet another, this one at Barton Community College in Great Bend.
A couple schools announced the return of wrestling to their sports rosters after a long absence. Earlier this month, Decatur, Ill.-based Millikin University revealed it is bringing back its Big Blue wrestling program, which competed in the NCAA Division III from 1959 until 2008, starting in fall 2015. Adrian College, a Division III school in Adrian, Mich., is reinstating wrestling after a 30-year absence, with one significant difference: it will now have both men’s and women’s programs. The head coach of both will be Chris Williams, who had been an assistant coach at Michigan State for eight seasons. One other school – Southern Virginia University – announced it would elevate its existing club program into a full-fledged intercollegiate wrestling program which will compete in Division III.
One much-anticipated announcement of the revival of a legendary program will have to wait until 2015. It had been expected that Fresno State, which eliminated its wrestling program nearly a decade ago, would reveal it was bringing back the sport in December… but just before Christmas, the California-based school issued a statement, saying any announcement would have to wait until the new year. Joseph Castro, who became president of California State University, Fresno in fall 2013, has repeatedly said he intends to bring back wrestling to the school.