Men’s volleyball makes varsity
4 years ago Triangle 0
By Ashley Coker
After spending two years as a club team, men’s volleyball is making the move to become a varsity sport.
Men’s Volleyball Coach David Shumaker told the club players during practice earlier this season that he would be proposing the shift to Athletic Director Taylor Hasty, who would then take it before President Livesay, according to junior defensive specialist Matthew Dunlap.
Livesay has officially approved the varsity team.
“We had very little say in whether or not the team would go varsity. For us it was a matter of waiting and seeing where the college decided to take us,” Dunlap said.
Shumaker, who also coaches women’s volleyball, has been coaching the men’s club team since last summer, when former coach Alison Williams accepted a coaching job at Martin Methodist University (Pulaski, Tennessee). According to Shumaker, he was the initial push behind moving the team to varsity.
He said men’s volleyball is becoming more popular across the nation, so adding a varsity team early will make Bryan College more appealing to men interested in the sport.
Dunlap agrees that the varsity team will make Bryan a more realistic option for male volleyball players.
“The pros definitely include a more competitive option for interested players. A club team isn’t as appealing to a volleyball player if any school that has a varsity team is making an offer. It also means we are more competitive with other schools, not just in the NAIA, but the NCAA,” Dunlap said.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) lists men’s volleyball as an “emerging sport.” Currently, 26 NAIA member schools have men’s volleyball teams, as compared to 221 member schools with women’s volleyball teams.
The club team has seven players, which is enough to put a team on the court with one sub. The number of men on the team has decreased significantly since the first season. Several players said this was due to coaching changes, as well other reasons, like heavy school loads.
While athletes may appear less interested, the last two home games have seen solid fan turnout, despite the team’s meager promotional efforts, according to Dunlap.
“Anyone who likes watching women’s volleyball will probably enjoy men’s volleyball. It’s less finesse, more power,” said Shumaker.
He said adding a new varsity sport will undoubtedly stress Bryan’s athletic facilities, particularly when it comes to space and practice time, but the coaches and the entire athletic department are willing to work together to make things run smoothly.
While coaching both the men’s and women’s teams will almost double his workload, Shumaker said he is excited to give the men on the club team, as well as new recruits, the chance to play varsity volleyball.
Recruiting is underway for next year’s team. Any current Bryan student interested in playing for the varsity teams should contact Shumaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.