By Luke Mich, Sports Editor
On Mar. 10, Saint Vincent College and its athletic department announced the return of men’s wrestling to the school, which will immediately become a varsity, NCAA-level sport. Competition will begin in the 2023-24 season, and SVC men’s wrestling will join the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC), with SVC becoming only the fourth school in the conference to designate wrestling as a varsity program.
Dr. Jeff Mallory, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, explained the decision to reintroduce wrestling into the college athletic program.
“Some of the factors included a rising interest from current and incoming students and our physical position, as we are nestled in an area that is prime for the recruitment and retention of intercollegiate wrestlers,” Mallory said. “We continued to study trends related to NCAA wrestling and its alignment with our future growth and path forward here at Saint Vincent, also.”
The decision to bring wrestling to Saint Vincent College did not fall upon one person; rather, officials within the school and those from other conferences also played a role in the process. Mallory noted that past wrestling coaches—such as Tom Harbert—were involved, along with the current leadership in athletics, which includes associate athletic director Sue Hozak, athletic director Rev. Myron Kirsch, O.S.B. and senior associate athletic director D.P. Harris.
Other members of the SVC community, such as members from the Board of Trustees, also contributed to the process. After discussion with and support from each of these groups, as well as from PAC officials, the decision that wrestling would return to the college was finalized.
“We were pleased with the wide range of contributions that individuals and organizations were willing to share in support of the sport’s return to Saint Vincent,” Mallory said.
Per the SVC athletics website, wrestling was a varsity sponsored sport at one time; from 1963-1975, SVC wrestling was at the NAIA level. In the following years, wrestling became a club sport at the college for some time. However, the program has not been offered for decades.
“Overall, we are pleased with the return of wrestling to Saint Vincent,” Mallory said. “We continue to pride ourselves in providing the best opportunities for our students. With the return of wrestling and how well it has been received, we are quite excited and eager to move forward.”
As of now, there is no head coach selected for the program. According to Mallory, the search for a wrestling head coach will be conducted before the conclusion of the Spring 2022 semester. The newly-formed SVC men’s wrestling team’s first regular season will start—as well as other typical regular seasons—in the fall of Oct. 2023, lasting through Jan. and Feb., depending upon the team’s success. Home wrestling matches will be held in the Carey Center gymnasium.