The Cowley College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Oct. 17 to allow the college’s administration to proceed with adding wrestling as an athletic program in 2017.

Cowley CollegeThe board also approved the recommendation to retain former Arkansas City High School wrestling coach Wayne Jackson as a consultant and advisor to athletic director Shane Larson, if Jackson is willing.

Jackson led the Bulldogs wrestling program from 1979 to 2000 and won a record 13 team state championships during his tenure.

The team’s accomplishments included the success of 150 individual state placers and an incredible 57 individual state champions.

Jackson has remained involved with Ark City wrestling since stepping down in 2000.

During Monday’s regular meeting, Larson provided the board with a feasibility study that showed the benefits of adding a new athletic program at the college. In addition to wrestling, three other sports were taken into consideration.

The study showed there is a large recruiting base in the region to support the addition of a wrestling program at Cowley College.

The National Junior College Athletic Association allows 18 scholarships for wrestling and most intercollegiate programs carry rosters of 30 to 35 student-athletes.

The study also showed the popularity of wrestling in Cowley County could lead to more participation in the Tiger Booster Club and provide an opportunity for increased enrollment.

Along with the study, Larson provided the board with printed emails and letters from individuals supporting the startup of a wrestling program at Cowley College. He said the school has received 70 to 80 letters from the community expressing support for the idea.

Larson said the college will look to hire a head coach to lead the wrestling program in January or February 2017. This will provide the new coach with time to assemble a roster and schedule matches.

The wrestling team could have a roster of 30 to 40 athletes, but competitive recruitment will need to start soon.

Most of this information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications Rama Peroo.