The NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee announced today that Hofstra University has been selected to host the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena, in New York City.
“Hofstra University is excited to be chosen as the host of the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships,” commented Hofstra Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway. “We are proud to partner with Madison Square Garden on this endeavor and thank the NCAA for choosing Hofstra and the World’s Most Famous Arena to host this outstanding event. Coming to New York City and competing for national championships in The Garden will afford these student-athletes with life-long memories. At the same time wrestling fans from across the country will have the opportunity to experience all the sights and sounds of The Big Apple while watching the best of intercollegiate wrestling. The incredible tradition of wrestling at Hofstra is something we are very proud of, as evident by our 29 All-Americans and numerous conference championships. This is an exciting time for Hofstra Wrestling with the announcement of the NCAA Championships and our new affiliation with the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA), one of the nation’s premier conferences.”
“We are thrilled to be serving as both the host institution and host program for the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships,” Hofstra Head Wrestling Coach Rob Anspach said. “Our program has a 67-year history with many outstanding wrestlers during that time. Serving as host is a great tribute to all of our wrestlers throughout the years. In addition, receiving the bid to host the Championships honors the great wrestling communities on Long Island and in the tri-state area including a burgeoning group in New York City.”
The NCAA Committee also awarded future Championship sites in Division I wrestling to the University of Missouri and the St. Louis Sports Commission for the 2015 and 2017 Championships at the Scottrade Center, and to the Mid American Conference and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission for the 2018 Championships at the Quicken Loans Arena. The 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which was selected in June, 2010, will be held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK, with the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association serving as hosts.
“We really want to thank everyone who put in a bid,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. “The competitiveness of the bids made it extremely difficult for the sport committees to select sites as there just weren’t spots for all of the great bids we received. Ultimately the sites that were selected will provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans the best experience possible.”
The new NCAA championship bid process creates the largest host site announcement ever, spanning 82 championships across a four-year cycle. Previously, selection announcements varied by sport. This process now gives the NCAA and host sites more time to plan each championship experience.
Bidding for 82 of 89 NCAA championships began in July and 1,984 bid applications were ultimately submitted. Each sport committee, per division, selected the host sites it believed would provide the ultimate experience for the respective student-athletes, resulting in 523 total championship event sites awarded.
The 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Madison Square Garden will mark the fourth time that the national championship will be held in New York State. Cornell University in Ithaca hosted the Championships in 1955 and 1964 while the 2002 Championships was held in Albany. The 2016 NCAA Championships will mark the second national wrestling tournament on the east coast since 2011 when Rider University and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hosted at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships has not been a stranger in the east. The University of Maryland has hosted the Championships six times between 1960 and 1990, Penn State University hosted it five times from 1930 through 1999 and Lehigh University served as host five times between 1933 and 1951. More recently, Princeton University hosted the national championships in 1975 and 1981 and the University of North Carolina hosted in 1994. The NCAA Division I Championships has been held in St. Louis, MO six times since 2000.
The 2016 NCAA Championships will mark the conclusion of Hofstra University’s 69th season of intercollegiate wrestling competition. From 1948 through 2013, Hofstra has sent 192 student-athletes to 48 NCAA Championships tournaments with 29 earning All-America honors. In 1976 Nick Gallo became Hofstra’s first and only NCAA champion at 126 pounds. The University also had two more finalists in Marty Willigan at 137 pounds in 1969 and Pete Capone at 167 pounds in 1985, and five third-place finishers in Joel Kislin at heavyweight in 1973, Jon Masa at 149 in 2005, Charles Griffin twice at 141 in 2007 and 2008 and current UFC champion Chris Weidman at 197 in 2007. Masa is Hofstra’s only three-time All-American while Willigan, Gallo, Capone, Griffin, Weidman, Roman Fleszar, Eric Schmiesing, Chris Skretkowicz and Mike Patrovich each earned two All-America awards.