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BATESVILLE — Lyon College is kicking off 2014 by adding a new staff member and a new program for student athletes. The university hired Kevin Carter to start a wrestling program for men and women that will begin at the end of August.

This will be his 19th year of coaching wrestling, 15 of which were spent as a head coach.

Carter was a Nevada state champion in wrestling in high school and a four-year starter in college. It was during college that he started coaching at 20 years old, Carter said.

“I started as a middle school coach while I was in college competing as a wrestler,” he said.

“My first [post-college] position was with the University of Nevada, Reno.”

He graduated from Southern Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, and while coaching at UNR, Carter said, he wanted to get his teaching credentials.

He received a master’s degree in educational administration from UNR in 2003. He also started the wrestling program at UNR, along with most of the other programs with which he has worked.

“I specialize in start-ups,” Carter said. “This is my fourth start-up program.”

Before taking the job at Lyon, Carter coached wrestling at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas. Carter said 2014 will be a recruiting year for him.

“We’re focusing on building our teams and rosters,” he said. “Next [school] year, we’ll start practice in October, and we’ll end in March.”

Carter said he will have his first full team in August this year.

“The college’s goal is to have 20 males and 10 to 15 women on the team,” Carter said. “My personal goal is to get it to 60 male and 40 female members.”

Lyon will be the fifth college in the state to offer a wrestling program. Ouachita Baptist University, Central Baptist College, Arkansas Baptist College and Williams Baptist College also offer wrestling, a Lyon College news release states.

Carter said women’s wrestling is still relatively new — it’s been around for about 15 years. Lyon College will be the first college in the state to offer women’s wrestling.

“I’ve coached men’s and women’s programs,” he said. “Men and women can do the exact same things. Some of the men are more physically capable than women, and wrestling can get more physical at times. I think the intensity is just the same, and the level they compete at is the same. Women are more flexible, and that comes in handy.”

Carter said he looks forward to being part of starting the wrestling program at Lyon.

“I’m excited about having a shot at being able to come back and be a college coach again. It’s a tremendous opportunity,” he said.

When it comes to recruiting, Carter said, he’s doing what he can to stay current and use social media.

“We want to be modern recruiters,” he said. “We want to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to our advantage to build relationships with those kids.”

Carter said he’s not only looking for wrestlers who can perform on the mat; he’s also looking for team members who can perform in the classroom.

“We’re looking for kids who can wrestle and also want to earn a college degree,” he said.

Carter has already talked to about 200 kids in 15 states, he said.

“When you’ve coached for 19 years, you’ve got buddies all across the nation,” he said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or

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