On Thursday, York University President Sam Smith announced plans for the construction
of the Tyler Phipps Wrestling Center to house the men’s and women’s wrestling programs.
“When York launched its men’s wrestling program almost two decades ago, we had a limited practice facility that could serve a small number of wrestlers,” said Smith. “Since that time, our men’s program has tripled in size and we have added a women’s wrestling program; both have garnered national attention and continue to grow their rosters, further stressing our original wrestling facility. I want to thank the Phipps family for providing a generous lead donation ensuring our wrestlers have an updated facility that is a grand improvement than the current space, and for believing in the mission of York University to transform lives for Christ.”
The center will be named in honor of former York wrestling student-athlete, Tyler Phipps (‘08). Tyler was a bright light on campus, a faithful Christian witness who could be counted on for a friendly smile and a gentle laugh. Although a physically intimidating wrestler and a two-time NAIA Championship qualifier (‘07 and ‘08) from Ozark, Mo., Tyler was full of kindness and endeared himself to all faculty, staff and students. Tyler finished a degree in business and was working with his father’s company in Missouri when he tragically passed away on September 26, 2015 in a hunting accident.
Steve Phipps had this to say in honor of Tyler, “No father could be more proud of his son than I was of mine. When at times I was a weak leader he was patient, kind, and long-suffering. In the 30 years my son was on this earth I never once hung my head in shame but rather stood amazed that I could have a son like him. While at times I thought I was coaching/mentoring him to become a great leader, the reversal happened and he shaped the character of this far below-average CEO. Words can’t describe the pain of my loss but also the pride of saying ‘“Tyler Phipps was my son!’"
The 9,000-square-foot facility is being built adjacent to the University’s Holthus Field House, which sits a block off the main campus. It will come equipped with space large enough for 2.5 wrestling mats and separate locker rooms for both the men’s and women’s programs. Additional fundraising to finish the project will begin this summer. Donations for the project can be made out to York University with a note directing them to the “Tyler Phipps Wrestling Center" or by donating to The Tyler Phipps Memorial Fund.
Jeff Albers, who serves as head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs said, “I am honored that the Phipps family is helping with this and that we will have a place to honor their son Tyler. The new space will help with recruiting and give our athletes something to get excited about. Our entire coaching staff is thrilled about what the future holds for Panther wrestling.”
Plans are to break ground in July with an intended completion date before the Spring
2024 semester. Future and current YU wrestlers couldn’t be more excited. Hector Holguin,
a junior from El Paso, Texas, said, “A new wrestling facility means more than words can explain. This will change our team
for the better, encouraging all wrestlers to become more dedicated to the sport we
love. We are constantly looking to improve and become better and this is a major step.
Both teams can’t wait.”
In addition to the lead gift for this facility, the Phipps family has donated scholarships for wrestlers in Tyler’s honor. Previous winners such as Pierce Medeiros were awarded for their outstanding character combined with athletic achievement.