APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University will add beach volleyball to its intercollegiate athletics program for Spring 2017, the university announced Thursday, May 5th. The addition will be the 16th Governors athletic team – and 10th team in its women’s portfolio – competing at the Division I level.
“Austin Peay State University is committed to providing opportunities for female student-athletes,” APSU President Alisa White said. “Beach volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports among NCAA schools, and I know students and fans alike will enjoy watching coach Taylor Mott‘s team compete.”Austin Peay’s program will begin play during Spring 2017 and will be coached by current Governors volleyball staff, led by head coach Taylor Mott and assistant Brian Netzler.
“This is an exciting time to be a Governor,” said APSU Athletics Director Ryan Ivey. “I believe this is an important addition to our athletics offerings and expect it will be a popular sport, both for our student-athletes to compete in and for our community to watch. I want to thank coach Mott for all the research and planning she has done to prepare us for this decision.”
The Governors beach volleyball team will be the first Division I program in Tennessee. In addition, it will be third at any level in the state, joining Division II members Carson-Newman and Lincoln Memorial.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to add beach volleyball,” said Mott. “Beach volleyball has been a part of my life before I knew what indoor volleyball was. I was ecstatic when our president, Dr. White, and athletics director, Ryan Ivey, were in support of adding beach volleyball to provide more opportunities for women to become student-athletes at Austin Peay.”
The beach volleyball development has been rapid within the NCAA ranks. First approved as an emerging sport for women – then as sand volleyball – in 2009, the sport quickly has ascended. By start of the 2015-16 season 58 NCAA universities added beach volleyball to their intercollegiate athletics offerings. That surge prompted the NCAA to approve beach volleyball as its 90th championship during September’s NCAA Convention.
Beach volleyball teams consist of five pairs of players, playing each match in a best-of-three format. Each competition then is a best-of-five competition with the first team to win three of the five matches, similar to how team champions are decided in men and women’s tennis. With a season beginning in March, the first National Collegiate Championship – involving teams from all three NCAA Divisions – will take place May 6th-8th at Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Further thoughts on the beach volleyball addition
Brian Netzler, Austin Peay assistant volleyball coach: “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of adding the fastest growing NCAA sport in the country here at Austin Peay. It’s a great time for the sport of beach volleyball with the 2016 Rio Olympics right around the corner as well as an incredible experience to be a part of the Austin Peay Athletics department and its commitment to student-athletes.”
Kathy DeBoer, American Volleyball Coaches Association Executive Director: “The growth of college beach volleyball has been nothing short of amazing. Transitioning from an emerging sport to an NCAA Championship sport in just five years in unprecedented. Austin Peay is wise to add beach volleyball now when student-athletes are plentiful and eager for an opportunity to compete; also, a beach team is a great way to distinguish your university and add appeal to the campus.”
TJ Meagher, AVCA Board Member and Legislative Representative: “This is a commendable direction from Dr. White, Ryan Ivey and Coach Mott, in adding a program that creates and encourages true opportunities for young women. The sponsorship of a NCAA sanctioned sport will drive high school and clubs in Tennessee and the region to organize and support teams that unquestionably develop chances for females to participate in athletics. For Austin Peay to be the first Division I Program in Tennessee to add beach volleyball affirms the extraordinary vision leading the university.”