Back in 2006, Fresno State announced that it would be dropping a few sports to help balance the athletic budget and meet Title IX restrictions. Out of all of the sports, wrestling was the one to receive the most backlash for being dropped. So much so in fact, that a number of fans vowed to BarkBoard to never renew season tickets for any sport unless wrestling made its return to Fresno State. Ten years later, the Bulldog faithful will get their wish.
When Joseph I. Castro was appointed as Fresno State’s President on August 1, 2013, he made bringing back wrestling to Fresno State one of his personal goals. After a couple of years of research and fundraising, he’s now in the final stages of bringing that goal to fruition. In the landscape of wrestling, California has more wrestlers than any other state in the nation. The Central Valley is one of the most talented with a very passionate fan base. According to true-wrestling.com, California High School Preps ranked 3rd at the recent NCAA National Championships.
Keeping the local talent at home in Fresno will be essential to Fresno State’s success. With the addition of Fresno State, the number of collegiate programs in the State of California goes from 7 to 8. Fresno State, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal Tech San Luis Obispo, California Baptist University, Menlo College, San Francisco State University, Simpson University, and Stanford University. The Fresno area turns out wrestling stars year after year boasting some of the best wrestling programs in the nation. Keeping that talent home could turn Fresno State from a newcomer to a powerhouse in a short period of time.
As of Friday. 23 applications for head coach have been submitted. Fresno State has reached out to some of the candidates of interest. A hiring committee has been formed. It consists of a mix of CSUB employees and former CSUB wrestlers. They’ll be the ones responsible for researching the candidates and making their recommendations. The application window closes at the end of the month so the number of applications is only sure to increase. Once the application window closes they’ll be performing their phone interviews to dwindle that number down to 3 - 5 viable candidates for the head coaching position. Fresno State’s goal is to have someone hired for the position by the end of April. When the new funding year starts in July, Fresno State will have the money to hire two assistant coaches.
New state of the art locker rooms will be built for the wrestling program and everything else besides mats are in place and ready to go. The wrestling program will start with 4.4 scholarships and grow from there. Which conference Fresno State will be a part of is still up in the air. The most likely candidate is the Pac-12 but the Big XII is also still in play. The Big XII has recently been making a push to increase its wrestling portfolio, adding six teams last year and rumors have been circulating that they’re still looking to add more. Whichever conference it is, Fresno State should be a very attractive candidate with great potential straight out of the gate.