Wheeling Jesuit University unveiled a brilliant move Friday.
The Cardinals' hierarchy announced plans to add a wrestling program at the NCAA Division II institution. Such a move reflects the university is being aggressive and proactive, looking for expansion rather than contraction.
Such is not easy in financially tough times for higher education, especially when you are a private institution.
Football would never work at WJU. It is simply too cost prohibitive. A grid program would be a money drain at this level. Wrestling has no such monetary-encumbering issues.
Facilities and equipment are much less expensive than football. The Cardinals will only have neighboring West Liberty University to grapple with for a gold-mine of OVAC mat recruits. Their is plenty of talent for both schools.
WJU put icing on the sweet addition by naming a dynamic and local mat great to head the program. Sean Doyle of Buckeye Local, Cornell and Wheeling Park fame is the ideal fit to make it work, and it will.
Doyle will have no problems recruiting. He is wired into the OVAC. The Cardinal mat program will hit the ground running in 2013-14 as members of the newly formed Mountain East Conference.
West Liberty has been making aggressive development moves in recent years. It is refreshing to see Wheeling Jesuit is following suit.
THE OHIO Valley high school football coaches annually put on a college recruiting night. It is a great way for prep coaches to connect some of their prospects with Division II and Division III coaches.
This year's recruiting night was held earlier this month at Generation's. There are 48 football-playing schools in the OVAC. However, only 25 schools thought it was important enough to show up and promote their players.
Helping players get to the next level is one of the responsibilities of coaches. It would seem to me all 48 schools should have been in attendance.
These schools DID participate: Weirton Madonna, John Marshall, Martins Ferry, Parkersburg South, Brooke, Steubenville, St. Clairsville, Wheeling Central, Bishop Donahue, Barnesville, Morgantown, Buckeye Local, Shadyside, Magnolia, Monroe Central, Indian Creek, Edison, St. John Central, Linsly, Weir, Harrison Central, Bellaire, Wheeling Park, East Liverpool and Cambridge.
POLICE OFFICERS never know what each day may hold. The Bellaire police had a unique task Tuesday evening. Lt. William Shallcross and Senior Patrol Officer JJ Watson received a call that night of a pig running loose near 48th & Jefferson streets. When they arrived, Shallcross and Watson discovered that was indeed the case. The officers were assisted by an individual who helped apprehend the pig without incident and place him in the back of the cruiser. Eventually the owner of the pig made contact with police and the pig was taken to a farm of Officer Greg Clark.
THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber of Commerce held its final monthly luncheon meeting for 2012 on Tuesday.
One of the bright spots of the meeting was the room itself at the recreation center, which was recently renovated.
Executive Director Dorothy Powell said the Koeze Nut Sale went well.
Councilman Chris Cleary, liaison to the chamber, said the city will be receiving a new fire truck and a new Dodge Charger police cruiser soon. He also thanked city businesses and the chamber for their great support to city endeavors.
Martins Ferry School Superintendent Dirk Fitch noted that students finished up classed Wednesday for the holiday season and will return Jan. 3. He said district officials are working on next year's budget.
THE ANNUAL Hoops for Ho Ho basketball clinic at Ohio University Eastern again proved a big success. Last Saturday, more than 50 young hoopsters took part under the direction of OUE Athletic Director E.J. Schodzinski. There was no fee for the camp but everyone taking part was asked to bring a new toy for distribution to the needy for Christmas.
FORMER ST. JOHN Central athlete Justin Hepe is assistant wrestling coach at Columbus Bishop Hartley. He helped his Hawks to a fine performance in last weekend's Barnesville Invitational. Justin is son of ex-Belmont County Commissioner Jim Hepe.
YOU HAVE to love the work of The Belmont County Drug Task Force. Three major busts in one week is a tremendous achievement.
THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce put the wraps on 2012 with its December luncheon meeting Thursday at the Country Club Retirement Center.
Much of the discussion centered on the recent village Christmas parade. It was deemed a rousing success. More than 50 units took part.
Also, a few village calendars remain available for sale. They make great Christmas gifts. They can be purchased at the chamber or the city building.
OUR PRAYERS and thoughts go out to River High boys' basketball coach Mark Romick following the death of his father this past week. Lloyd Romick was 85 and an avid sports enthusiast who coached local baseball for three decades.
KUDOS TO the Talented and Gifted Class at Bridgeport Middle School. Those students donated 316 pair of brand new socks to residents at Heartland Nursing Home. It is refreshing to see our youth stepping up to help those in their golden years. Those Bulldog students are talented and gifted as well as very caring.
OHIO GOV. John Kasich has a soft side. For the second year in a row Kasich has authorized an additional appropriation of $1 million for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. Kasich's action will benefit 3,300 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. We commend Kasich for his holiday heartwarming generosity.
We at the Times Leader wish all our readers a most blessed, safe and joyous Christmas.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com