Wrestling returns to MacMurray
January 7, 2016 | 11:10 AM
MacMurray College will launch men’s and women’s wrestling programs during the winter season of 2016-17, resuming a men’s program that was one of the most successful sports in MacMurray history and launching women’s wrestling, a prep sport that has become increasingly popular.
“I am happy to announce that MacMurray is reinstating the wrestling program,” said Athletic Director Justin Fuhler. “I am so pleased that our administration and Board of Trustees agreed to bring this sport back to MacMurray.”
The first step will be hiring a coach. In seeking a coach, MacMurray will get the help of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, which promotes the sport, runs a training academy for wrestling coaches and provides support to wrestling programs in hiring a coach. The announcement seeking a wrestling head coach will go out immediately, with the expectation that he or she will begin by February.
“Now the hard work starts, as we work to find a terrific coach to lead the program and work to build a top-notch wrestling facility that our wrestlers can be proud of,” said Fuhler. A wrestling practice room will be constructed in the Jenkins Education Complex, which houses the Highlander athletics teams. The new MacMurray wrestling squads will hold their meets in Wall Gymnasium, also located in Jenkins.
The resumption of the men’s squad is a return to one of the legendary sports at MacMurray. “We have a tremendous history that goes back to the 1960s,” said Fuhler. “Our wrestling program has produced All-Americans, national champions and helped to mold hundreds of young men into successful leaders.”
Heavyweight Bob Kellogg (pictured right, without headgear), a member of the MacMurray Athletics Hall of Fame, was the NCAA national champion in the 1966-67 season. He also took second place in the 1964-65 season, as did Hall of Famer Ron Otto in 1967-68 and Fred Wideman in 1975-76. The program also boasts two fourth- and sixth-place NCAA national wrestlers and scores of national tournament qualifiers and regional and district winners. The program ended at MacMurray in 2007, as interest and support fell off.
Women’s wrestling, which became an Olympic sport in 2004, is among the fastest growing prep sports in the nation, growing from less than 1,000 wrestlers 12 years ago to more than 11,000 on 1,800 high school and college teams, according to the Coaches Association.
In some ways, launching women’s wrestling is a 21st century update of MacMurray’s past, said Fuhler. “When you look at MacMurray’s history as a women's college,” he said. “I am glad that we are being proactive in adding this emerging sport that has so much room for growth.”
Alumni and friends who are interested in supporting the MacMurray Wrestling Program may do so online.
For more information on MacMurray Wrestling, contact Athletic Director Justin Fuhler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-479-7142.
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