Editorial Page

Tradition Rich Cumberlands, A Program On the Rise

Trying to uphold a proud tradition can be a wonderful inheritance and a challenging one.

The positive view is that it can stabilize the present and enhance the future. The other thought expressed by famous East Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895/1896 – February 17, 1986) groomed to be a world teacher, which he rejected; seemed to hold a different view. He was quoted to say “Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”

No matter what your view, when you are a newer coach at a tradition rich school, your fan base expects you to either uphold or enhance it.

The Cumberland’s women’s wrestling program has a long rich history of annually competing at or near the top of the WCWA.[adToAppearHere]

Here are the type of headlines that championed from the past.

On March 12, 2007 the sports and information site teamusa.org reported “For the second year in a row, the University of the Cumberlands proved to be a runaway winner on the national stage, collecting four individual titles to win their second straight National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship Saturday at the Pacific Athletic Center.”

This was reported on Thursday, February 21, 2008. “The University of the Cumberland’s Women’s Wrestling Team has been named as the best team in the country by TheMat.com for the February rankings of the U.S. Women’s College Wrestling Poll.”

Coach Donnie Stephens enters his second season as Head Coach of the Women’s wrestling team and has been presented with the supreme challenge to restore the tradition that vaulted the program to championship status.

fciwomenswreslting.com article, cumberlandspatriots.com photo credit
fciwomenswreslting.com article, cumberlandspatriots.com photo credit

With a history of being a leader who wins at the highest level, on the school’s website cumberlandspatriots.com, Coach Stephens states, “UC has a lot to offer with its support of the school and its physical beauty.  I have aspirations and visions that we can bring home a national championship within the next couple years.”

Mr. Stephen’s powerful resume infuses confidence that those high aspirations can be met.[adToAppearHere]

The University Athletic Department shares that Mr. Stephens hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He began his high school career at Pueblo East High School in Pueblo, Colorado before moving to West Covina, California where he completed his high school career at West Covina High School.  During his high school career, he was a California High School State Place winner and the FILA Junior California State Champion.  He went on to receive a scholarship to wrestle at Cal State Bakersfield (CSU).

While at CSU, Mr. Stephens earned his B.S. in Social Science.  After his time on the mat was finished, he became the head coach of both the men and women’s wrestling teams at his alma mater, West Covina High School, where he remained for 19 years.  During his time there, Mr. Stephens accumulated 11 league championships, 5 CIF (regionals) championships, and 3 California State Women’s Championships.

Coach Stephens recently has been selected to coach the Cadet Women’s World team by USA Wrestling.

What provides the foundation for a program to excel is the village that supports it.

At the school’s website, the University’s Athletic Director, Mr. Randy Vernon expresses what he has to offer. “As athletic director it is my responsibility to provide each student-athlete the best experience possible. We strive to provide the best coaching and support staff available to you. In return, we hope that you will benefit from the quality of sportsmanship and dedication that will help you to grow not only on the field but off as well.”

Extending even greater support is the University of Cumberland’s leadership.

fciwomenswreslting.com article, Wikimedia photo
fciwomenswreslting.com article, Wikimedia photo

The sound information site Wikipedia shares, the University of the Cumberlands is a private, liberal arts college located in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

The university commits itself to and recognizes the value of community service through its Hutton Center for Leadership Studies. 100% of undergraduate students participate in community service before they graduate, developing a 40-hour community service project through their “Lead 101” class. UC provides recognition for those students willing to go the extra mile in service.

The school also offers an exceptional program that allows students to study abroad in such countries as Spain, France, England and China.

The respected news and information site usnews.com recites the University’s commitment to its students. “For more than 100 years, University of the Cumberlands has been committed to challenging students with an innovative education while remaining keenly aware of the importance of traditional liberal arts education.”

Success is always the culmination of a larger group effort.

Cumberlands is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. The official city website williamsburgky.com explains with excitement, “Nestled between the Cumberland River and the Daniel Boone National Forest, Williamsburg is a town rich in cultural heritage and modern amenities that offers a little something for every taste and season. Home to 5,200 proud residents, this “Gateway to the Cumberlands” offers a land of contrasts from natural wonders, such as Cumberland Falls, to a multi-million dollar waterpark and a nearly 19 million dollar justice center in the heart of downtown.”

J.B._Gatliff_House

fciwomenswreslting.com article, Wikimedia photo
fciwomenswreslting.com article, Wikimedia photo

Demonstrating the community’s exceptional partnership with the university the city site continues, “Located in the center of Williamsburg, the University of the Cumberlands is one of the largest private colleges in the state of Kentucky with over 1,800 students from 26 states and 18 foreign countries.”

This ground swell of support has produced a women’s wrestling program that continues to grow and excel. Cumberland’s Athletic Department explains, “The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Women’s Wrestling program has continued to grow over the years as they have had numerous athletes come to UC to compete among the nation’s most elite.”

With a plethora of young women who are nationally ranked coming into the program, as well as other standout recruits, this group is sure to have stellar success.

This portrait is consistent with the thinking of the late, dynamic American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar who was quoted as expressing, “The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.

The University of Cumberlands Patriots Women’s Wrestling team continues to surge towards the top of the WCWA. With the combination of the dynamic leadership from a stellar coach, a committed University and an excited supportive city, this is one program where tradition is not only an enhancement but a beacon for future success as well.

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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, teamusa.org, TheMat.com, cumberlandspatriots.com, usnews.com, williamsburgky.com, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you University of The Cumberland’s Athletic Department and Wikimedia Commons.

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