Wrestling Returns to Amherst as Club Sport

AMHERST, MA – Amherst College hired head coach Eddy Augustin this past summer to revive the school’s wrestling program. Despite being in its earliest stages, 27 student-athletes have already signed up to help get the club program off the ground.

Augustin is well into his debut season with the Amherst football team, as his duties with the Lord Jeff defensive line will keep him busy throughout the fall season. While working with the football staff, Augustin will meet with interested wrestlers, organize the team’s preseason program, order equipment and handle any other wrestling-related duties.

A native of Malvern, Pa., Augustin majored in psychology at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the football and wrestling teams. Augustin’s football coaching résumé includes stints at Las Lomas High School in California, Norwich University, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, and at his college alma mater.

Head coach Eddy Augustin will help to rebuild Amherst's wrestling program.
Off the field, Augustin spent time as an Academic Athletic Advising and Compliance Intern at Sonoma State University and as an Academic Athletic Advising and Recruiting Intern at University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a master’s degree in sports psychology at John F. Kennedy University in California. Augustin and his wife of five years, Georgina, reside in nearby Northampton, Mass.

“Eddy is a great fit for Amherst, and particularly for our club wrestling program,” says Amherst Athletic Director Suzanne Coffey. “He brings a blend of experience as a very successful collegiate wrestler and a passion and contagious energy for teaching.”

While Augustin will be building the program from the ground up, a wrestling team will not be completely foreign to Amherst, which began featuring a varsity wrestling team in the late 1920s and stopped after the 1989-90 academic year. “Wrestling has been a very important part of my life, so I’m excited to reunite the program with Amherst,” says Augustin. “Walking around Alumni Gymnasium, I see pictures dating back to the early 1900s and it’s obvious that wrestling was a big part of the Amherst tradition.”

Augustin has already helped to get prospective wrestlers moving in the right direction by introducing a strength and conditioning program in an effort to create more discipline in the weight room. He expects a wrestling mat to arrive before Thanksgiving, which will allow the team to dive into drills and practices before the winter season’s open tournaments.

Augustin will organize practices in at least two groups based on an experience continuum. “I want to cater to those who have competed before and who want to continue to compete and get better,” says Augustin. “I also want to create an environment where student-athletes feel comfortable starting from scratch, learning about the sport and giving it a shot.”

Even as a club sport, Amherst wrestling will give student-athletes the opportunity to compete at the national level thanks to the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA). The NCWA is comprised of non-paid volunteers, and its official Website states that it is “committed to a vision that has at its core increased athletic opportunity for all students” and hopes to “provide a spawning ground for new wrestling teams.”

The NCWA Website continues, “Many wrestlers are left to choose between continuing the sport they love and their first academic choice for schooling. The NCWA is designed to help solve this challenge.”

“I look forward to the first few days of wrestling practice in Alumni Gymnasium,” says Coffey. “I imagine the activity and its visibility on center stage in the gym will generate additional interest, never mind that it will help us recruit more experienced wrestlers in the future. All in all I am very pleased with where we stand in rebuilding wrestling at Amherst.”