Keep Fresno State Wrestling
On October 16th, 2020, Fresno State University President Joseph Castro announced that the wrestling program would be discontinued at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season. This marks the second time in 14 years that the program has faced elimination. After Fresno State wrestling was dropped in 2006, a hard-fought battle ensued for a decade to revive the team. While President Castro answered the rallying cry of the Central Valley’s Wrestling community in 2016, the recent announcement has come with shock, disappointment and frustration. President Castro’s decision to eliminate the wrestling program after only three years since its reinstatement demonstrates an abandonment to the rich wrestling history of the Central Valley and to the taxpayers that support Fresno State University.
In 2017, Fresno State hired NCAA Champion, Troy Steiner to rebuild the legacy of the Bulldog Wrestling program. In short order, Coach Steiner led his team to victories over Top 25 opponents, qualified 12 individuals to the NCAA Championships, led Josh Hokit to the NCAA All-American podium (for the first time in 15 years) and set new attendance records for home matches at the Save Mart Center. In fact, the Bulldogs were ranked among the nation’s Top 10 programs in home attendance. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the wrestling program demonstrated a commitment to its academic pursuits with positive scores on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report (“APR”), one of the NCAA’s most serious mandates for all NCAA sports programs.
The sport of wrestling is synonymous with the values of hard work, dedication and family. These same values are ingrained into the ethos of the Central Valley’s agriculture industry. It is no surprise then, that so many generations of Central Valley families find their children pursuing the sport of wrestling and achieving success. Look no further than the results of the California State Championships where Buchanan and Clovis are in a league of their own and the surrounding communities of Bakersfield, Selma, and Madera are consistently among the state’s top teams. Or take into consideration the sold-out gymnasiums for the annual Buchanan-Clovis dual meet, (where President Castro once flipped the coin to kick off the match) where two of the nation’s best teams compete for Valley bragging rights to showcase some of the best high school wrestling this country has to offer.
After the immense amount of effort and resources it took to revive the Fresno State Wrestling program, we cannot sit idly by and allow its demise. The future aspiring student-athletes that come from so many Central Valley families deserve an opportunity to receive a quality education while pursuing the sport they love.
We are asking Fresno State’s administration to reverse its decision and collaborate with the wrestling program and its alumni, in order to Keep Fresno State Wrestling.
Thank you for your support!