|John Welch elected president of the Metropolitan Wrestling Association|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
John Welch of Seaside Park, N.J. has been named the new president of the Metropolitan Wrestling Association (MWA).
Set Agonian of Woodside, N.Y., who served as the MWA President for 22 years, did not seek the position. Welch was elected by the Board of the MWA to serve as its president during its meeting on January 9.
The Metropolitan Wrestling Association is an Allied Member of USA Wrestling and a leader in the promotion and development of the sport in the New York metropolitan region.
"I am very pleased and proud that John Welch has accepted this position," said Agonian. "He is very organized and well respected by our Board. This position is a difficult challenge. I believe John Welch will help the MWA to grow and thrive. Our Board is very devoted to the cause of helping wrestling in the New York area."
Welch is currently an at large member of the USA Wrestling Board of Directors. He previously served as state chairman for USA Wrestling New Jersey for 20 years. He is a past chairman of the State Chairperson Committee for USA Wrestling, and has served in a variety of other leadership positions within the organization on the national and regional levels. Welch was named USA Wrestling State Chairperson of the Year in 1990.
He is a mat official, with a National 1 rating, and has been active with the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association. Welch has also been as a member of USA Wrestling's National Coaches Pool.
Welch also served as a successful high school wrestling coach for 20 years. Among the achievements which he is proud of was coaching two of his sons to three New Jersey High School state championships.
"The biggest challenge is to unite the many different wrestling factions in the metropolitan area to make wrestling grow," said Welch. "We need to help build inner-city wrestling, support our college programs and work with local clubs to strengthen international wrestling in our area. It is our goal to be a model for the nation about how to build inner-city wrestling programs."
Agonian provided leadership for this organization for two decades. In 2003, Agonian was named USA Wrestling's Man of the Year. During his years as MWA president, the organization hosted numerous major international wrestling competitions in New York City, as well as providing expanded opportunities for young people to participate in the sport.
"Set is well known in New York, national and international wrestling circles," said Welch. "Much credit goes to Set for leadership in the United States serving as host of the 2003 World Championships of Wrestling in the most prestigious venue in the world, Madison Square Garden. He will remain on the board as Past President, and will insure an effective transition."
Ed Gould of Merrick, N.Y., the current State Chairperson for USA Wrestling New York, was elected as First Vice President. Sonny Greenhalgh of West Patterson, N.Y., the wrestling chairman for the New York Athletic Club, was elected Second Vice President. Marcia Haise of Babylon, N.Y., a top international wrestling referee, was elected as treasurer. Neil Duncan of Patchogue, N.Y. and John Rodin of New Jersey were elected as new members of the MWA Board.