Three former wrestlers, former softball assistant impacted by EMU athletic cuts


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Cleveland, Ohio senior Colin Heffernan wrestles Eastern's J.J. Wolfe during the match against Eastern on Feb. 9 in McGuirk Arena.

Former Central Michigan wrestlers David Bolyard, Scott Mattingly and Luke Smith and former softball assistant Melissa Gentile will need to find new jobs this summer. 

Eastern Michigan University announced March 20 softball, women’s tennis, men’s swimming and diving and wrestling will be eliminated following the 2018 spring season.

The move affects 58 male student-athletes and 25 female student-athletes, with the school saving roughly $2.4 million.

Eight full-time coaches, one graduate assistant and one part-time assistant coach will be eliminated.

Now, the Eagles will have 17 varsity sports, which is down from a Mid-American-Conference high 21.

EMU’s Athletic Director Scott Wetherbee called the decision “extremely tough” and “a very sad day” for the school.

"As a former college student-athlete who went through this process when my sport was eliminated, I empathize with how difficult this is for our impacted student-athletes,” Wetherbee said. "Each of the sports involved has a strong network of student-athletes, alumni and powerful traditions of success on and off the field. This makes the decision even more difficult, but there is no easy way to do this without having significant impact. It is a painful step for all parties involved, but it is necessary given the university's need to realign university resources."

EMU President James Smith is also upset with the move.

"We are very saddened by having to make this move, which is necessary as we continue to align the university budget with enrollment and state funding trends," said EMU President James Smith. "This aligns us with our Mid-American Conference peers in total number of sports, and is part of our ongoing effort to realign resources to ensure that we continue to invest in high-demand high-quality academic programs and world-class facilities."
 
James said the school will honor all athletics scholarships if the student-athletes decide to remain at EMU to complete their degrees.
 
"We understand that some may leave Eastern to continue their sport at another university, and we have committed to offering them our full support in that process. We have wonderful student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff here at Eastern who make a tremendous contribution to campus life – in competition, in class and in our greater community. This is a difficult day for all of them, and for all of us."

Bolyard wrestled for CMU from 2002-2005 as part of four MAC Championship squads while earning the MAC title at 165 pounds his senior season and All-American honors during his junior campaign in 2004.

Luke Smith competed for the Chippewas from 2004-2008, earning the MAC title at 125 pounds in 2005 and 2006.

Mattingly wrestled from 2011-2014 at 149 pounds, earning one birth to the NCAA tournament.

Gentile served as an assistant coach with CMU softball from 2000-2002. The team went 109-49 with three MAC Tournament Championships during Gentile’s time with the program. 

EMU wrestling finished the 2017-18 wrestling season with an 8-8 overall record (3-4 MAC). 

CMU wrestling head coach Tom Borrelli said the decision was “devastating to the wrestling community.”

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