CU Wresting Breaks Ground on Facility
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
After a long patient wait Cumberland University wrestling has broken ground on a 4800 square foot wrestling facility. The program was pledged $120,000 two years ago from Ron Magruder. Magruder gave $60,000 in the first year and the other $60000 was given in November when the University made a commitment to the project. Magruder has now pledged another $20000 in January 2007 to enable the program to complete the project. The wrestling program will use fundraising money to cover an additional $6935 to complete phase one of the project.

Ron Magruder, is Group President of an Ontario-based company. In 1997 Magruder also helped  the wrestling program get on its feet by buying mats and getting an endowment started at $100,000. Each year 80% of the interest earned is available to take care of maintenance and enhancements to the wrestling program. The additional 20% earned annually is added back to the principal to insure future growth of the corpus.

Magruder was a Conference champion in wrestling at Central high school in Wheaton, Illinois then entered business without attending college. Magruder joined General Mills in 1972 as part of the Red Lobster operating team and advanced rapidly through various management positions. In 1981, he was named vice president for International Growth and Development, responsible for the expansion of Red Lobster in Japan and Canada . He became president of Casa Gallardo Mexican Restaurants in 1982 and president of York Steakhouse a year later.
In 1987, Magruder was named executive vice president of General Mills Restaurants and president of The Olive Garden, and became senior vice president of General Mills two years later. He was named Restaurant Operator of the Year in 1991, and received the Gold Chain Award that year and the Silver Plate Award in 1993. He is a frequent keynote speaker for hotel and restaurant conferences, and serves on business school advisory boards at three universities.

Magruder was general chairman of the United Negro College Fund Campaign in 1994, and chairman of Scouting for Food, a Boy Scouts of America project. He endowed a chair in restaurant management at the University of Central Florida . In 1994 Magruder was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Stillwater, Oklahoma. In August 2001 he was named Chief Executive of Hops Restaurant Bar and Brewery, after building Orlando, Olive Garden and the Lebanon, Cracker Barrel into nationally prominent brands. He then moved to Buffalo, New York with his current company.

The wrestling facility is a three phase project. The first phase of the project will include a 60’x80’x16’ eave height multi-purpose facility located at 317 S. Greenwood in Lebanon as approved by City commission and Engineering. This building is designed for future expansion to 180’x80’x16’. The building is a pre-engineered building system. Within the next two years the wrestling program will brick the exterior of the building.
Jarad Swint Head Wrestling Coach said “It’s relief and excitement at the same time. It is a relief to finally get the project started and exciting that we will finally be able to have a proper training facility. It is actually a blessing for the entire athletic department. Now there will be on less team sharing gym time. I am eternally grateful to Ron.”

Swint also said “The next part of our fundraising will include items for the interior for this phase like additional padding for the walls/floor, exercise equipment, pull-up bars, an All-American/national champ board, a score/time clock, weight equipment, athletic training table, ice machine, a curtain wall system for our scale area, and a stereo system. Our fundraising money from this season should cover the basics but to get this extra stuff we have some work to do. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank some additional people for their help! First Cumberland University for letting us build, Lochinvar Corporation for donating a hot water heater, Terry Grindstaff for offering to do the electrical labor for free, Head Wrestling coaches Don Elia at Carson Newman and Steve Costanzo at St. Cloud(former Dana College coach) for writing a letter of support, and all of the other help that I have received in this process. It has been a lot more work than I ever realized but finally breaking ground has made it all worth while.”