The JJC Board of Trustees approved a pilot program to bring wrestling back to Joliet Junior College at their May 10 meeting.
The proposal approved by the board includes the establishment of a wrestling committee to be chaired by Athletic Director Wayne L. King, Jr., which would oversee the hiring of a coach for the program.
Additionally, community wrestling advocates have committed to raising the necessary funds for the start-up cost of the program, estimated to be between $30,000 and $35,000. If the funds are successfully raised by April 2017, the program would launch at JJC as a NJCAA sport in the fall of 2017.
“This program has the potential to bring more student-athletes to JJC in the future, and I look forward to working with the wrestling advocates in our community to bring back a sport that has a rich history at the college,” said King.
Community advocates, including wrestling coaches from local high schools, have petitioned the college and the Board of Trustees to consider bringing the program back, as a pathway for high school wrestling athletes to pursue higher education and continue their wrestling career at JJC.
“We look forward to introducing wrestling once again to the athletic department at JJC,” said Vice President of Student Development Dr. Yolanda Isaacs. “Our hope is that this program will offer current and future students another opportunity for developing themselves in athletic competition as well as in the classroom.”
Wrestling was a popular sport at JJC throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. Both individual wrestlers and teams earned local, national and even international awards and recognition. Wrestling Coach Henry Pillard, who retired in 1985 after leading the program in the mid-60s then again from 1970 to 1985, was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame and the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Official Hall of Fame.