Ouachita Baptist University officials unveiled the Hatcher Wrestling Complex, the new home of the Ouachita Tiger Wrestling Program, during an Oct. 27 dedication and open house. Tiger Wrestling, which debuted last year as the first collegiate wrestling program in the state, includes 26 wrestlers from nine states.
Hatcher Wrestling Complex was named in honor of Greg Hatcher, president of the Arkansas Wrestling Association and founder and owner of the Hatcher Agency. Hatcher has been instrumental in helping establish and fund Tiger Wrestling, including providing funds for the wrestling complex.
The 8,200-square-foot practice facility features a large wrestling room with two regulation wrestling mats as well as a spacious locker room, cardio and weight area, computer lab, office and other amenities.
Kevin Ward, head coach of Ouachita’s NCAA Division II wrestling program, described the complex as “one of the finest wrestling facilities in the country.”
“I hope we are able to use this facility to add to the already rich tradition of OBU athletics,” said Ward, a 2005 Big XII wrestling champion at Oklahoma State University. “This building means a lot to our wrestling team, and we are very thankful for the efforts of everyone who made this possible.”
Ward affirmed the opportunity “to honor the man who made this possible.” Noting that “it took a lot of hard work by many people here on campus,” he said the facility “wouldn’t have been possible if not for the generosity and commitment of Greg Hatcher.”
A crowd of approximately 200 students, faculty, staff and other supporters gathered for the dedication, reception and open house.
Introducing Coach Ward to the crowd, Ouachita President Rex Horne said, “The thing that we’re so excited about is that he is the first coach of the first collegiate wrestling program in the state of Arkansas. We have a fine man to lead us in this way and fine athletes who have come to wrestle under his guidance.”
“The type of support we have been getting since we started the program at this school has really been encouraging,” Ward responded. “I feel very lucky to be able to use this facility and hope we can build a program that can make all of us proud here. I think it really goes back to Greg Hatcher and his vision for growing wrestling in the state of Arkansas and his commitment to see that vision through.”
Acknowledging the 26 wrestlers lined up behind him, Ward said, “We’ve been able to give opportunities to these guys from all the way across the United States to come to Ouachita to receive an education and compete at the college level. … This building really contains everything we need to build the type of program that will make us and the whole Ouachita community proud. We’re looking to build a team that’s really going to compete for regional and national titles here at this school.”
Describing Hatcher as a difference maker who is a devoted husband, father, coach and mentor, President Horne presented him with a plaque that reads: “In grateful appreciation to Greg Hatcher for visionary and generous support of the Ouachita Baptist University Tiger Wrestling Program and Hatcher Wrestling Complex.”
Noting that the wrestling complex previously served as the university’s facilities management building prior to extensive renovation and remodeling, Hatcher said, “Speaking of vision, you guys saw this thing before, right? … It gives me chills looking at what it’s like today.”
Addressing the wrestlers, Hatcher added, “When you get through at Ouachita, make sure you always give back and do something for your college, for your communities. … I’m very proud of Ouachita. This is a business of changing people’s lives.”
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications