Fort Valley, GA – Fort Valley State University (FVSU) today announced the establishment of men’s volleyball as one of its NCAA Division II-sponsored sports, beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year. To support the new program, FVSU has received a $150,000 gift from First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball. FVSU will immediately begin a national search for the new men’s volleyball head coach.
“We are proud to be on the leading edge of the establishment of men’s volleyball at the NCAA Division II level nationally,” said FVSU President Dr. Paul Jones. “Men’s volleyball will help FVSU further distinguish itself as a unique institution where talented students are exposed to opportunities they can find at few other institutions of higher learning, including in the area of athletics. We look forward to bringing a diversity of talent to FVSU to take advantage of this dynamic sports program.”
Anthony Holloman, FVSU’s vice president of advancement and interim athletics director, chaired a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) ad hoc committee which helped solidify the addition of the sport at six historically black colleges which are part of the SIAC, including Kentucky State University, Central State University, Morehouse College, Paine College, and Benedict College. A total of $1 million ¾ $600,000 from First Point Volleyball Foundation and $400,000 from USA Volleyball ¾ has been invested in the initiative.
“Men’s volleyball players are extraordinary athletes who approach the sport with power and skill,” said Holloman. “We fully intend to attract elite performers who will be intense competitors and scholars, and go on to compete at higher levels such as the Olympics.”
Men’s volleyball is experiencing rapid growth in the United States, with new programs initiated at 80 universities over the past five years. It is the fastest growing team sport in the United States for high school boys, growing by 22% over the past five years. Participation in other sports is slowing or decreasing, such as football, which saw a 9% decrease in participation over the same five-year period. Growing from approximately 63,563 high school players today to a projected 100,000 players by 2026, men’s volleyball is the focus of initiatives in dozens of states across the nation.
“It has been terrific working with President Jones and Vice President Holloman,” said Wade Garard, CEO of First Point. “We are so pleased to make a gift to Fort Valley State University through support from donors from all over the country who made this grant possible. FVSU is clearly committed to providing an excellent experience for student-athletes. We could not be more excited that soon, young men will enjoy a Wildcat volleyball experience in Fort Valley.”
“We all want more opportunities for young people in this country to compete in collegiate athletics,” added John Speraw, head coach of USA Men’s national team and UCLA’s head men’s volleyball coach. “When we founded First Point Volleyball Foundation, we envisioned supporting growth in NCAA D-II. FVSU has been terrific in helping to bring about this opportunity. It is exciting for us to see men’s volleyball becoming a reality at Fort Valley State University.”
About Fort Valley State University
Founded in 1895, Fort Valley State University, a University System of Georgia institution, is one of the nation’s most innovative and affordable academic institutions. Leveraging its unique role as Georgia’s only 1890 land-grant institution, the college conducts more science, technology, engineering and math federal research than any other public teaching college in the state, making curriculum-enhancing research opportunities available to students learning to be leaders in innovation. The university’s undergraduate and graduate traditional and online degree programs enroll almost 3,000 students from all over the world. The university was recently named the most affordable online school in the nation for student economic mobility by SR Education Group and the #1 public HBCU in Georgia by US News and World Report. FVSU students participate in more than 80 academic and civic organizations, honor societies and study abroad programs. The university is a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division II League. Learn more by visiting www.fvsu.edu.
About the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
The SIAC is an NCAA athletic conference consisting primarily of historically black colleges and universities. With headquarters in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, the SIAC includes 14 member institutions (Albany State University, Benedict College, Central State University, Clark Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Paine College, Savannah State University, Spring Hill College, and Tuskegee University), which are located within a contiguous six-state footprint (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio). The SIAC sponsors seven men’s and six women’s sports and is a proud member of NCAA Division II. For more information, visit www.thesiac.com.
About First Point Volleyball Foundation
Founded in 2016 by John Speraw, head coach of the USA Men’s National Team and UCLA Men’s Volleyball, First Point Volleyball Foundation exists to provide opportunities for young people to mature and develop through volleyball. Specifically focused on growing boys’ and men’s volleyball in the United States, First Point Volleyball Foundation initiates and celebrates FIRST POINTS ¾ whether that is a first point scored on a new NCAA team, new high school team, or during competitive volleyball played by a 12 year-old. First Point Volleyball has raised $3 million in less than three years and has helped start 16 new collegiate men’s volleyball programs. The Foundation has three strategic initiatives: (1) growing collegiate opportunities; (2) growing high school boys’ opportunities; and (3) extending our Reach Diversity Initiative – expanding volleyball opportunities to boys and men of color. For more information, visit www.firstpointvolleyball.com.
About USA Volleyball
Founded in 1928, USA Volleyball is a non-profit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) as the national governing body for the volleyball disciplines of beach, indoor, sitting, snow, and beach ParaVolley in the United States. With more than 370,000 registered members, USA Volleyball conducts national championship events, coaching, and referee certification programs, and coordinates grassroots development across all disciplines in a lifetime sport in which all can participate. USA Volleyball’s teams have won an Olympic medal in every Olympic Games since 1984, four Paralympic medals since 2004, and numerous World Cup, World Championship, and Continental Championship titles. For more information on USA Volleyball, visit www.usavolleyball.org. #PathtothePodium
Teresa Southern, Fort Valley State University Media Relations Coordinator
Phone: (478) 320-7753
Tyler Williams, SIAC Director of Communications
Phone: (404) 221-1041
Wade Garard, First Point Volleyball Foundation
Phone: (317) 418-8967
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