Wrestling Program Earns Recognition and Respect

Thursday, March 6, 2014
The HFCC Wrestling Club, left to right: Coach MacKenzie, Trey Berry of Plymouth (125 lb. class), Jesse O’Neal of Westland (133 lb. weight class), Ali Saad of Dearborn (141 lb. weight class), Jeremy Stankewitz of Plymouth (157 lb. weight class), Hass Doueik of Dearborn Heights (285 lb. weight class), and Dave Velez of Southgate (285 lb. weight class).

HFCC's National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) wrestling program has earned a great deal of respect and recognition during their inaugural season of 2013-2014.

All six wrestlers on the HFCC team have qualified for the NCWA National Championships, where they will compete in Dallas March 11-15. In addition, HFCC Coach Grant MacKenzie was recently named by the Great Lakes Region as Coach of the Year.

“It’s just nice when hard works pays off. It’s amazing. I’m proud of my wrestlers. Many tried out at the beginning of the year, but only six remained and they were willing to pay-to-play,” said MacKenzie.

The grandson and namesake of the MacKenzie Fine Arts Building on the main campus, Coach Grant MacKenzie, of Dearborn, has taught physical education at Allen Park Middle School for 16 years. A 1992 alumnus of Edsel Ford High School, MacKenzie attended Olivet College in Olivet, Mich., where he was a Division III wrestler. He graduated from Olivet in 1996 with dual undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Physical Education. In 2003, he earned his master’s of Public Administration from The University of Michigan-Dearborn (U-M Dearborn). Additionally, MacKenzie is a graduate of the NWCA/Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Academy.

MacKenzie, who has wrestled since high school, has coached since 1998. For 12 years, he served as the assistant wrestling coach at Allen Park High School. For some time he believed there was a need for collegiate wrestling in southeast Michigan. As a result, he founded the NCWA wrestling program at U-M Dearborn in 2010. He founded the NCWA wrestling program at HFCC at the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year.

“The reason why I went to the west side of the state to wrestle during college was because of the absence of college wrestling teams in Wayne County. I wanted to change that,” he said, adding “there are approximately 38 high schools in Wayne County with wrestling teams. There will be some kids who may want to continue competing after high school, but do not have the grades nor the money for an NCAA school. The wrestling clubs at HFCC and U-M Dearborn have filled a void. I’m very honored to have been named Coach of the Year in the Great Lakes Conference. I received compliments from wrestling clubs in Ann Arbor and Bowling Green, OH. It’s been a wild year, but I’m looking forward to next year even more,” said MacKenzie.

To learn more about the HFCC Wrestling Club, please contact Coach Grant MacKenzie at 313. 318.4022.