Daemen College in Amherst, New York has added men’s volleyball to its varsity sport offerings, planning to launch its team for the 2018-2019 academic year. The decision was supported by a $60,000 grant from the MotorMVB Foundation that will be spread out over the program’s first 3 seasons. The non-profit organization exists to stimulate the growth of boys’ and men’s volleyball at all levels in the United States, and is striving to increase the number of collegiate programs from 188 to 380 over the next decade.
When Daemen College launches its program, they will become the first D1/D2 men’s program in the state and the first to offer scholarships. The New York State Public High School Athletics Association (NYSPHSAA) sponsors boys’ volleyball. The most recent data from the NFHS from the 2014-2015 season showed 183 schools sponsoring boys’ volleyball in the state with 4,092 participating athletes. That makes the state’s participation numbers in boys’ volleyball higher than in boys’ hockey, and the state has 10 Division I men’s hockey teams in college.
Current women’s team assistant Don Gleason has been announced as the men’s programs first head coach. Last year, with the women’s team, he assisted head coach Stephanie Albano on her team’s run to the Division II Sweet 16 last year.
Gleason has previously spent time as an assistant coach with the women’s teams at Stony Brook, Buffalo, Yale, Medaille College, and for a season as a volunteer assistant at USC.
“We are beyond excited to be adding men’s volleyball to the sports offered here at Daemen College,” said director of athletics Bridget Niland. “In researching ways that Daemen Athletics can continue to have a positive impact on the college’s enrollment, it became evident that establishing a men’s volleyball program is an avenue worth pursuing. With that being said, I don’t think we could have acted this quickly without the great partnership we’ve built with MotorMVB. I want to thank them for their ongoing guidance and support as we work to bring another quality NCAA Division II program into our coffers.”
The announcement by Daemen came days before the news earlier this week that Cal Baptist was cutting its men’s volleyball program. That means that after one year at 42 teams, the Division I-II section of the NCAA will get a boost back to its 43 total teams this week
“Thanks to the generosity of passionate volleyball donors, we are pleased to provide support to Daemen College. The leadership at Daemen has really impressed us and we are convinced that Bridget Niland and Coach Gleason will guide a thriving men’s volleyball program for many years to come,” said Wade Garard, CEO of MotorMVB Foundation. “Our foundation board chairman John Speraw always says there is nothing more important than providing opportunities for the young people of this country. We are pleased to be able to help do this for boys in Western New York and from across the country who will come to Daemen and enjoy a meaningful student-athlete experience.”
The school will begin as an Independent, but say they hope to join “a conference like the (EIVA) somewhere down the line.”
Daemen College is a private non-sectarian four-year liberal arts college with 2,156 undergraduates and 846 post-graduates in business, healthcare and education. Men’s volleyball will be the school’s 8th men’s program and 17th varsity team overall.
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