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New Lyon wrestling program receives grant from U.S. Wrestling Foundation

By Coyte Cooper NWCA | March 17, 2014, 2:44 p.m. (ET)

$5,000 donation to help Scot programs with start-up costs

MANHEIM, Pa. – With some help from Lyon College wrestling supporter Greg Hatcher of Little Rock, the Lyon College men and women’s wrestling programs are receiving a $5,000 grant from the United States Wrestling Foundation (USWF) and the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), according to Mike Moyer, Executive Director of the NWCA.

The funds are available for start-up costs to assist institutions to join the growing number of colleges that are looking into starting the sport.

Lyon College officially announced in August that it was starting men and women’s programs and will begin intercollegiate competition in the 2014-15 academic year. At the time of the announcement, there were 43 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) institutions that sponsored the sport. Lyon becomes one of only five colleges in Arkansas that has wrestling and will put the first women’s program on the mat in the state.

“With the support of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, we are able to build wrestling at the collegiate level in Arkansas,” said Lyon head wrestling coach Kevin Carter. “For Lyon College, the donation and support from the NWCA were valuable steps in getting our program moving in a positive direction.”

Moyer said the start-up grants, such as the one Lyon has received, is a way for the wrestling community to understand the important relationship between the National Wrestling Coaches Association and the U.S. Wrestling Foundation, as it relates to providing much needed start-up funds for newly established intercollegiate wrestling programs.

“The purpose behind the grants is to provide incentives to get college wrestling programs started,” Moyer explained. “The NWCA partners with the foundation for these grants to help colleges across the country that are looking at the possibility to starting the program – or have decided to start – get going in a right direction.

“Over 100 new programs have been established since 2001 and now with the availability of the U.S. Wrestling Foundation’s support, we are confident that we can substantially build on this success over the next decade.”

Jeff Waters, Board President of the U.S. Wrestling Foundation, said a big hurdle for many schools to start the sport is start-up costs, so grants such as this will help facilitate that.

“There are a number of NCAA Division II, III and NAIA colleges that are either looking at starting the sport or are in the process of doing it,” Waters stated. “Since 2004, intercollegiate wrestling has been restored to New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia, where it was previously extinct for a period of time.

“We feel (the grant) is a way to get colleges entrenched in parts of the country that might not have it. We’re just trying to be a catalyst. In addition, we are excited that Lyon is also starting a women’s program and we are finding increasing interest in the model of starting both men’s and women’s at the same time. Our partnership with the NWCA and USA Wrestling is building momentum around the country.”

Lyon College plans to have 30-40 wrestlers on campus for the first year of competition and expand from those numbers in the second year.