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University of Wyoming Foundation

Wrestling Success

wrestling room renovationWrestling is more than a sport—it’s a way of life. It teaches discipline, commitment, integrity, camaraderie, and loyalty, qualities we all strive for. These are specifically taught to University of Wyoming wrestling student-athletes. That’s why the wrestling room is being renovated through the support of private donations to attract new athletes and to give current ones the best facilities possible—to ensure we pass on these qualities. 

Renovations include an additional 800 square feet of wrestling space in the current wrestling room, a private coaches’ locker/meeting room, a team lounge, an academic and study area, a film room, a separate cardio and weight room, a full kitchen for pre-dual team meals, and additional improvements to the existing locker room and practice area.

Donors who have contributed to the wrestling room renovation know how important it is for students to be given every opportunity to meet their full potential. By supporting the wrestling room renovation and the program, they are giving students the ability to become capable leaders in their careers and in life.

“Wrestling prepares you for a lot of things in life,” says Ron Hornig, former UW wrestler. “Whether it’s personal relationships or business or anything else, it teaches you not to give up. Wrestling, practice, and commitment teach you how to go out into the world and persevere.”

Hornig graduated from the UW College of Business in 1969. He wrestled from 1966 to 1969, and it taught him the skills he needed to succeed in life. When the opportunity arose to donate to the program that meant so much to him, he was more than happy to do so. He wanted to give back to the program that put him on the path that helped him in his personal life and his business life. More importantly, he wanted to make sure that the program had everything it needed to be successful so that it could impact other students’ lives.

“Mark Branch can take the Wyoming wrestling program to a level that it’s never ever been since the 60s,” says Hornig. “It’s hard to get good coaches to come to places like Laramie. Kids will want to come to Wyoming because of Mark Branch, and if Mark thinks he needs a facility that is similar to or even better than other places, then we should try to get that for him. Mark can put Wyoming on the map as far as wrestling.”

Brothers Hugh and Paul Lowham are both huge wrestling fans. They make it to a couple of matches in Laramie every year to support the team. In addition, they also donated funds to the wrestling room renovation and the program to give students the skills they need to be successful.

“Wrestling is a great sport,” explains Hugh. “It’s an individual sport where you need to have drive, determination, responsibility, clean living, and conditioning to be able to have success at it—some of the same things that give you the opportunities to have some success in career, family, and life.”

Paul graduated in 1962 with a degree in animal husbandry, and then in 1963 with a degree in business administration. He has always been one of Hugh’s biggest fans and greatest supporter. Hugh graduated from UW in 1965 with a degree in agricultural engineering, and he wrestled for UW. He had been the first state champion from Evanston High School. While wrestling for UW, Hugh won three conference championships in various weights. After graduating with his agricultural engineering degree, he worked for the U.S. Geological Society before opening his own firm, Lowham Engineering.

For him, the sport was always a family affair—they were always there to support and encourage him. The perseverance and determination he exhibited in his life and career were the result of skills he learned while wrestling. When the opportunity to give back to UW arose, Hugh and Paul were more than happy to contribute. Their donation will fund the Lowham Family Team Room.

“When this opportunity came up, we just thought it was a way to give a payback to the university, both for our education and for the opportunity I had to wrestle,” says Hugh. “Any success I had in my life was both due to the education and also the opportunity to wrestle.”

The renovation process will occur in two phases. The first includes the addition of 800 square feet of wrestling space, the coaches’ locker/meeting room, the team lounge, the academic and study area, the film room, the cardio and weight room, kitchen, and additional improvements to the existing locker room and practice area. The second will include further expansion of the practice room to include one to two additional mats.

“This is going to put us in a position where we have facilities as good as or better than anybody out there,” say Mark Branch, Wyoming wrestling head coach. “It’s definitely going to help us stay competitive.”

The advantages to renovating the facilities include recruiting capabilities. With state-of-the-art practice equipment, it will entice wrestlers to come to the University of Wyoming. It also allows the team to get together for important activities—currently, they don’t have a dedicated place to watch film and they often have to borrow other sport’s facilities or go to Coach Branch’s house. This new space will give them the ability to learn from film and to have meals together before a match. This will strengthen the team spirit and connections between the athletes and coaching staff.

The renovated area will also allow the wrestlers to train smarter and better. It will give them more space and reduce the chance of injury while practicing on the mat. In addition, it will give the wrestling program a place that allows them to connect with alumni.

Building a successful program in either sports or academics requires the proper tools. The wrestling program wants to give their best to their student-athletes so that they can train and educate them to their full potential. With the support of private donations, Coach Branch and Wyoming wrestling will be able to accomplish those goals.

“Most of the people that we’ve talked to and dealt with have a lot of pride and personal joy in seeing this program succeed,” says Coach Branch. “This is going to help us be successful, it’s going to help us be more successful than we have been, it’s going to help us become a top-ten program.”

If you are interested in supporting the wrestling room renovation, please contact Jack Tennant at jtennant@uwyo.edu.

Photo:
The various features of the wrestling room renovation. 

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