(Walnut Ridge, Ark.) - Men's wrestling is the latest sport to be added to the varsity athletic program at Williams Baptist College. WBC says it plans to hire a wrestling coach to start recruiting this year, and the Eagles wrestling squad will begin competition in the 2014-15 school year.
"Wrestling is a great next step as we continue expansion of the Williams athletic program," said WBC Athletic Director Jeff Rider. "It is a good fit for our college, and it's a growing sport in the state of Arkansas."
The college credits Little Rock businessman Greg Hatcher with helping WBC establish its wrestling program. Hatcher, a wrestling advocate, is funding mats, uniforms and other equipment to assist in getting the team started. Mike Moyer with the National Wrestling Coaches Association also visited WBC to assist in the launch.
"Wrestling will give Williams exposure to the thousands of high school wrestlers looking for a place to compete. As a result, they will end up getting a liberal arts education at a faith-based school, which will help develop future leaders. Wrestling will bring to Williams students who would have never considered the college without a wrestling program," Hatcher commented.
"Mr. Hatcher has been a huge help in getting a wrestling team started, both with his generosity and his guidance," said WBC President Dr. Tom Jones. "Wrestling is a sport that builds character and discipline, blending perfectly with our mission to provide an excellent, holistically Christian, liberal arts education, while compassionately shaping student lives."
The wrestling program is expected to have more than 25 athletes when in full swing. Home matches will take place in WBC's Southerland-Mabee Center, with another campus facility to be used for team practices. It will become the eighth varsity sport at Williams, which also offers men's basketball, baseball and soccer and women's basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball.
WBC is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. The Eagles compete in the American Midwest Conference of the NAIA.