Former A.D. John Harper Honored Again
Former Bridgewater State University Director of Athletics, John Harper, has been selected as the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Administrator of the Year.
The announcement of the NEWA Administrator of the Year award was made earlier this week by Joseph Pistone, Head Wrestling Coach at the University of Southern Maine and current NEWA President.
Harper, who retired this past summer after serving 21 years as the Bears' AD, will be presented with the award on January 27th at the NEWA Hall of Fame ceremonies which will be held on the campus of Johnson and Wales University.
Last December, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame presented Harper with an award in recognition of his dedication and leadership as well as his perseverance in promoting wrestling in Massachusetts and New England. Current BSU assistant wrestling coach Tom Bartosek, representing the Massachusetts Chapter, presented Harper with the award in a brief ceremony prior to a match with Johnson & Wales.
Bartosek noted at the presentation, "I have known John since he first arrived in 1991 as I was a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Bridgewater at the time. When many colleges dropped wrestling, John supported the wrestling team at Bridgewater."
"When John arrived in Bridgewater in 1991 from Wichita State University, he began by evaluating the entire athletic department," Bartosek added. "John understood the importance of wrestling in a well-rounded athletic program and he continues to support the mission of wrestling today."
Over the past thirty-five years, the number of Massachusetts Colleges and Universities offering wrestling has declined from 23 colleges to ten. Three of the four state universities which offered wrestling as an intercollegiate sport have dropped the program.
"Because of the leadership of Mr. Harper," Bartosek said, "the Bears' wrestling program currently thrives as the only Massachusetts state university to field a wrestling team."
During Harper's tenure as Director of Athletics at Bridgewater State, the wrestling program produced two All-Americans, a Women's All-American and five Scholar All-Americans. The Bears have been represented at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships by at least one student-athlete in each of the past six seasons and nine of the last 11. (Story by BSU Athletics)