(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) - The USA Boxing program at the United States Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University will reopen following a nine month hiatus due to funding issues. With joint financial assistance from USA Boxing, the USA Boxing Foundation and Northern Michigan University, the program will recommence in the fall of 2008.
"The university, Olympic training center and Upper Peninsula community are thrilled to welcome back a USA Boxing program to the Northern campus," said NMU President Les Wong. "Boxing at the USOEC had been a tradition for more than 20 years and we look forward to having such a program here for many decades in the future. Northern and the USOEC are also very pleased to be able to welcome these student-athletes back to the classroom where they can enhance their elite training with an elite educational experience."
The USOEC boxing program has enjoyed a storied history since its inception over two decades ago. Longtime head coach Al Mitchell served on two Olympic staffs during his time at Northern Michigan University, leading the team as Head Coach in 1996 and serving as Technical Advisor in 2004.
"There is tremendous passion and support for the program nationwide," commented USA Boxing CEO Jim Millman. "We are delighted that the program is returning and that well-deserving student-athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from a world-class boxing program."
The United States Olympic Education Center program gives student athletes the opportunity to train in their sport while receiving an education at Northern Michigan University. Athletes receive scholarships to Northern Michigan University in addition to housing and meals while they attend classes and train with elite level coaches.
"I applaud the decision by USA Boxing to return the residential boxing program to the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University," said U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.). "Boxing was one of the charter sports at NMU's Olympic Education Center and the facility's 20-year history with the sport has produced outstanding results, including a gold medal winner in the 1996 Olympic Games. I am pleased to see that USA Boxing, NMU and the United States Olympic Committee were able to work together to address funding shortfalls and ensure boxing continues to be a staple at NMU's Olympic Education Center."
Numerous Olympians and professional stars such as Vernon Forrest and Jermain Taylor have come through the USOEC boxing program. In addition to those who have gone on to successful boxing careers, several young people have obtained college degrees through the program, including 2008 Olympic Training partner David Clark, who recently earned a degree in Criminal Justice through the USOEC program.
"We are excited to once again have boxing student athletes training at the USOEC. The boxing program has produced numerous Olympic medalists and high school and college graduates over the years," USOEC Director Jeff Kleinschmidt said. We look forward to working with the staff at USA Boxing to build on this success for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England and beyond."
The United States Olympic Education Center and Northern Michigan University have changed the lives and offered endless opportunity to the hundreds of athletes that have attended," Program Founder and Task Force Chairman Dave Lubs added. "I am so pleased that USA Boxing will again offer our athletes these same opportunities."
The United States Olympic Education Boxing Program will reopen in the fall semester of 2008 with eight slots available to eligible athletes. The application process will begin immediately, and interested candidates can obtain an application on the USA Boxing website at http://www.usaboxing.org/.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States' member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).