ADRIAN, Mich.--Adrian College athletics director Michael Duffy has announced that Cliff Cushard has been promoted to head coach for the women's wrestling program, after serving as an assistant for both the women's and men's programs for the Bulldogs since 2015.
"Coach Cushard is very knowledgeable of the unique sport of women's wrestling and more specifically, our program here at Adrian College," said Duffy. "With that experience, coupled with his strong recruiting ties within club, academy and state circuits, I look forward to seeing him take our program to new heights.
"I would also like to express our gratitude to the MYWAY/NUWAY organization for providing a monetary grant to help make this move possible of having separate head coaches for our men's and women's wrestling programs. This is a win-win situation for our institution and more importantly for our student-athletes."
At the beginning of this season, Cushard stepped away from his day-to-day duties with his architecture firm that he founded 20 years ago to assume leadership of the Adrian women's program by conducting daily practices and overseeing recruiting, compliance, eligibility, scheduling, administrative duties, tournaments, camps, clinics and travel.
Cushard has helped build the culture and success of both Bulldogs programs for the past three seasons since the men's team was revived for the first time since the 1984 season and the women's side was introduced as a new varsity sport in 2015. He developed and coached the first Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association All-American in school history in its very first season.
"Architecture design is my job, but coaching the sport of wresting is my labor of love," Cushard stated. "I have been involved with women's wrestling since 2002. This long experience has developed connections with many of the organizations and people involved in the women's wrestling world in this country.
"We have the facilities and a strong academic curriculum to compete at a high level. And I look forward to helping us achieve our goals for success at the national and international levels," he concluded.
Before Adrian, Cushard served as an assistant and then head coach at Grass Lake High School from 2010 to 2016.
Cushard has coached Michigan women's national teams since 2010, developed over 20 wrestlers who have competed at the college level and/or represented the USA in international competitions; and mentored several All-Americans who have won national titles.
"On behalf of the NWCA Board of Directors, I want to congratulate the Adrian College administration for their extraordinary hire of Coach Cushard as their full-time women's wrestling coach," said Mike Moyer, who is the NWCA Executive Director. "Coach Cushard has been a strong advocate for women's wrestling for many years. He is a graduate of the NWCA CEO Leadership Academy and he represents the gold standard in coaching."
Dave Dean, MYWAY President, added: "On behalf of the MYWAY/NUWAY organization, I want to congratulate the Adrian College administration for having the vision to create a full-time position for women's wrestling. Their pioneering efforts to establish the first women's intercollegiate wrestling program in Michigan will bring tremendous service to future generations of young women who want to pursue their academic and wrestling careers in college."
An experienced clinician, Cushard also has coached at the club and middle school levels.
Cushard received a bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Detroit in 1992, graduating magna cum laude.
Cushard lives in Grass Lake with his wife, Sarah, their three daughters Samantha, Deven and Kaelyn, and his granddaughter, Marceline. All of his daughters wrestle, including the two oldest having placed numerous times as All-Americans. Samantha was the first-ever female All-American for Adrian College at the 2016 Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association national tournament.
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