Marion, AL—The President of Marion Military Institute (MMI), Col. David J. Mollahan, has announced that MMI's wrestling program will end its storied run at the end of the current academic year when fabled wrestling coaches Jim and Dave Hazewinkel, both two-time Olympic wrestlers in 1968 and 1972, retire. A club sport and member of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, MMI wrestling will be replaced by two new sports and four additional teams: men's and women's golf and cross country.
"Reconstituting the wrestling program was not feasible," said Mollahan. "We have the wrestling coaches retiring. Finding coaches with the credentials, background, and experience of the Hazewinkels was going to be unlikely. Whether wrestling remained a club sport or became a varsity sport would require the team to travel great distances—Oklahoma, Kansas, and Indiana. Logistically, that made no sense to us."
According to Mollahan, the sports of cross country and golf were deemed the most compatible athletic programs for MMI because of their "supportability and relevance to our school and military programs."
In essence, then, MMI is trading one sport with no athletic scholarships for four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I sports with athletic scholarships. Men's and women's golf will grant eight athletic scholarships apiece, while men's and women's cross country will each award ten athletic scholarships. An athletic scholarship covers the costs for tuition, fees, and books for the academic year.
The timetable for the implementation of golf and cross country is twofold: 1) hire two coaches by the Fall semester of 2016 and provide them a year to do their recruiting, and 2) field the teams by the Fall semester of 2017.
The men's and women's golf and cross country teams will compete in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC). Currently, Marion Military Institute competes in the ACCC in five sports: men's and women's tennis, men's basketball, baseball, and softball.