Northern Alabama is spending $100,000 to build a beach volleyball facility at Cox Creek Park in Florence, near the school’s softball stadium. Construction is underway on the facility ahead of the Lions’ first season of NCAA beach volleyball in 2019, which coincides with their announcement of a move to NCAA Division I athletics and joining the ASUN Co.ference in all sports but football. The ASUN sponsors beach volleyball.
The sport was needed to meet requirements to join Division I of the NCAA, with almost $300,000 being spent on the sport of volleyball altogether. The school will also spend between $130,000 and $160,000 on renovations to its volleyball facilities, including updating the locker room and adding a film room with theater seating.
Total upgrades to the school’s athletics facilities will run as much as $40,000 according to a report in the Times Daily, in addition to the school’s $1.6 million Division I application fee. Those costs are expected to be offset by game guarantees in basketball and football, where larger opponents will essentially pay Northern Alabama to play (probably) lopsided games.
The school has also committed to hit Academic Progress Rate targets that beginning in the 2019-2020 season will result in huge financial windfalls for top performing academic programs.
The school also brought all sports to maximum Division I scholarship loads, meaning 12 for the indoor volleyball team and an additional 8 for beach volleyball.
North Alabama also announced the hiring of Haley Doerfler to the school’s volleyball staff. She comes to the team after working with Durham University in England, and she’ll serve as the blocking coordinator for the indoor team, coaching opposites and middles, and for the beach team will serve as recruiting coordinator and oversee operations.
As an athlete at Hawaii Pacific, the four-year letterman totaled 765 career kills, including 208 as a senior in the 2014 season. She led the team in blocking in three of her four seasons, totaling 394. She posted a team-high 117 total blocks and hit .309 in 2013 and was a third team All-PacWest selection.