Oct. 25, 2004
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Harvard University has announced the establishment of its sixth endowed varsity head coaching position, thanks to a gift from David G. Bunning '88. The official title of Harvard's head wrestling coaching position, effective immediately, will be the David G. Bunning Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling.
Jay Weiss, who has been the Crimson's head coach for the last 10 years, is the first to assume the new title.
The announcement was made Saturday night as part of the Friends of Harvard Wrestling Kickoff Dinner at the Harvard Club in Boston. Beyond its direct impact on the wrestling program, the gift releases unrestricted funds that can be applied to other athletic and academic endeavors.
"A dedicated Harvard wrestler who remains committed in the classroom will prepare successfully to capitalize on the challenges encountered in his future," said Bunning in making the presentation. "I hope this gift will influence the lives of many generations of Harvard wrestlers." "David Bunning's contribution to wrestling at Harvard clearly will go a long way toward the advancement of the sport," said Harvard's Nichols Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise. "But it also provides our university with the ability to strengthen our women's programs as well, demonstrating to the country that one need not thrive at the expense of the other."
"This gift highlights the importance of wrestling as a collegiate sport," said Weiss. "Coaching at Harvard is a humbling experience. We attract individuals who have a passion to succeed both in and out of the athletic arena. David Bunning's support shows that he, too, believes in the potential of our students. I am truly honored to be the first to be named the David G. Bunning Wrestling Coach here at Harvard."
The sport of organized wrestling traces its origin at Harvard to the late 1700s, when sophomore wrestlers would issue an annual challenge to members of the freshman class. Since then, Harvard has seen 12 different wrestlers achieve All-America status a total of 16 times and has produced two NCAA individual champions in John Harkness '38 and Jesse Jantzen '04.
Jantzen won the national championship at 149 pounds last season and was named the outstanding wrestler of the 2004 NCAA tournament.
Harvard's other endowed coaching positions are gifts of Thomas F. Stephenson '64 for football; Robert D. Ziff '88 for men's ice hockey; Joseph J. O'Donnell '67, MBA '71 for baseball; Robert G. Stone Jr. '45 and family for men's crew; and Virginia B. and James O. Welch Jr. '52 for men's soccer. Harvard's director of athletics position has been endowed by John D. Nichols Jr. '53, MBA '55.