What's Up UA? - Arizona Adds Women's Sand Volleyball - The Explorer: University Of Arizona

What's Up UA? - Arizona Adds Women's Sand Volleyball

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:07 am

 

Competition will begin in 2014 for the UA's 20th varsity sport. Steve Walker, the UA's indoor volleyball associate head coach, will be the new program's first head coach.

 
 

University of Arizona Director of Athletics Greg Byrne has announced that his department has added women's sand volleyball as a varsity sport.

The sport, which enjoys a spring competition schedule, will be the 20th varsity sport sponsored by the department. Steve Walker has been named the new program's first head coach. Official competition will begin in spring 2014.

"This is an exciting day for the University of Arizona and our volleyball program," said Byrne. "With our strengths as an athletics department – including strong indoor volleyball, great interest from our fans and weather that is very conducive to outdoor activity – it's a natural fit for us."

Walker, currently the UA's indoor volleyball associate head coach, will serve as the program's first leader. He served as an assistant coach with the Wildcats for three seasons from 2003-05, helping to lead the program to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2005. He left Arizona after the 2005 season to become the women's volleyball head coach at the UC Davis, where he has coached for two seasons before returning to Arizona in 2007.

"I would like to thank Greg and all involved for this opportunity to be the first-ever head sand volleyball coach here at the University of Arizona," said Walker. "Throughout this hiring process, it is evident that this athletics department is excited about bringing an emerging sport like sand volleyball to this campus and community and plan to grow with it in the coming years."

"Sand volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country," said Deputy Director of Athletics Rocky LaRose. "With growing national interest, and in particular within the high school ranks in the state of Arizona, this was a natural fit. In fact, Arizona is the first high school interscholastic association to add sand volleyball as an official varsity sport. I'm excited for the new opportunities for our women, and thrilled to continue to grow our women's programs."

At UC Davis, Walker became the Aggies' eighth head volleyball coach, guiding the program through its final year of reclassification to NCAA Division I status in 2006, and during its first year of membership in the Big West Conference. During his tenure at UC Davis, Walker was selected to coach the Northern California Volleyball Association Youth Division team at the Global Challenge in Maribor, Slovenia, during July of 2006. In 2010, he was invited back to coach the NCVA Youth team at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Walker received his "AAA" rating, the highest level pro/am rating as a player in the California Beach Volleyball Association series from 1997-99, and multiple times he was an Arizona Beach Volleyball Association tournament winner from 2003-06.

A collegiate volleyball player at Long Beach State, Walker finished his career as the school's all-time leader in assists per game. The starting setter for two seasons, he was named AVCA All-America and All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in 1995, after leading the NCAA in assists and assists per game.

"We're fortunate to have Steve as our first head coach," said David Rubio, Arizona's indoor volleyball head coach. "He has a strong background in sand volleyball and will put us a step ahead of many programs right from the start."

Women's sand volleyball is an emerging sport worldwide – as witnessed by its success at recent Olympic Games – and within NCAA circles. Fifteen universities sponsored the sport in 2011-12, its inaugural year, and 29 will compete in 2012-13. Further, 47 schools are considering sponsorship in 2013-14.

In order to be an officially sponsored NCAA championship sport, there must be 40 competing institutions in two consecutive seasons. Within the Pac-12 Conference, four schools presently sponsor the sport (California, Stanford, UCLA, USC) with at least one other member considering adding the sport.

Additionally, Arizona was the first state in the nation to add sand volleyball as a high school varsity sport in 2011-12, with California following in 2012-13. Currently, there are more than 350 youth club participants in the sport in the Arizona region.

Sand volleyball was added by the NCAA in August 2011 for Division I competition. The roster size in this sport will grow as the number of scholarships increase and will have a maximum roster size of 14 student-athletes by 2014-15.

Sand volleyball features five two-woman teams ranked by ability, and each duo plays against the corresponding team or teams from other schools. In a dual meet, the winning team is the school winning three of five matches. Individual matches are two sets played to 21 points, with a tiebreaker set to 15, if needed. All sets are rally scoring and must be won by two points.

The sport is the first added by the UA since women's indoor track and field in 1998. Previously, Arizona added women's soccer in 1994.

Arizona currently sponsors 11 women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball) and eight men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis and outdoor track and field).

Arizona has won 21 national championships and 118 conference titles in its athletic history.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Country Thunder Day 4

Country Thunder Day 4

Thursday 04/10/2014

What's Up UA? - Spring Fling Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Return to UA Mall

Monday 04/07/2014

Mauga’s Walkoff Sweeps Stanford

Thursday 04/03/2014

What's Up UA? - 4-H Programs Bring Enrichment and Learning to Thousands in Arizona

Monday 03/31/2014

What's Up UA? - The Viruses You Don't Know About (Yet)

Tuesday 03/25/2014

What's Up UA? - Twice Torn Apart: A UA Alumna's Road to the Paralympic Games

Tuesday 03/18/2014

What's Up UA? - Tucson Village Farm Honored as Model Program for the Nation

Friday 03/14/2014

What's Up UA? - Several UA Graduate Programs Reach New Heights

Tuesday 03/11/2014

What's Up UA? - Olympics Interns Share Sochi Experiences

Friday 03/07/2014

What's Up UA? - Seeing Cancer Differently

Wednesday 03/05/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Offers Accelerated Bachelor's to Master’s Program in Environmental Health Sciences

Tuesday 03/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Third-Ranked Men's Basketball Heads to Corvallis to Face OSU

Friday 02/28/2014

What's Up UA? - UA College of Optical Sciences to Celebrate 50th Anniversary With Laser Fun Day

Thursday 02/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Obesity-Related Gut Bacteria Higher in People in Northern Climes

Monday 02/24/2014

Wildcats Sweep Sunday Doubleheader, Series From Alcorn State

Thursday 02/20/2014

What's Up UA? - First-Year UA Minority Student Retention Rate Highest Ever

Monday 02/17/2014

What's Up UA? - The Flu and You

Friday 02/14/2014

What's Up UA? - Miller to Add to Arizona’s USA Basketball Legacy

Wednesday 02/12/2014

What's Up UA? - $10M Gift to Optical Sciences is Largest Gift for Scholarships in UA History

Monday 02/10/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Study Shows Aggressive Management of Gunshot Wounds to Brain Significantly Increases Survival

Thursday 02/06/2014

Arizona Football Announces 2014 NLI Class

Tuesday 02/04/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Wind Quintet is Finalist in National Competition

Thursday 01/30/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergraduate Researcher Earns Prestigious National Award

Tuesday 01/28/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Renewed as a Tillman Foundation Partner

Thursday 01/23/2014

What's Up UA? - Thousands to Celebrate Chinese New Year at UA

Tuesday 01/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Mathematician Earns Presidential Early Career Award

Friday 01/17/2014

What's Up UA? - Prefer dry heat to arctic chill? Genetics might be the reason

Thursday 01/16/2014

Four Players Added to January Enrollee Group

Wednesday 01/15/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Study Shows Intensive Exercise Training Program for Dementia Patients Improves Care in Clinical Setting

Monday 01/13/2014

What's Up UA? - UA-Developed Avatar is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport

Friday 01/10/2014

What's Up UA? - The First and the Best in More Than Basketball

Wednesday 01/08/2014

UA Approved for Funding Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute What's Up UA? - The Virus That Makes a Disposable Syringe

Tuesday 01/07/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Medical Center’s Dr. Andreas Theodorou Elected Chair-Elect of ‘AAMC Chief Medical Officer Group’s’ Steering Committee

Friday 01/03/2014

What's Up UA? - How to Find the Rarest of the Rare in Southern Skies

Monday 12/30/2013

What's Up UA? - Hagens Takes Leap of Faith

Thursday 12/26/2013

What's Up UA? - No Matter the Continent, the World's Frogs Have a Lot in Common, UA Biologist Finds

Monday 12/23/2013

What's Up UA? - The Sound of Destruction

Friday 12/20/2013

What's Up UA? - Davis Family Commits Leadership Gift for McKale Renovation

Wednesday 12/18/2013

What's Up UA? - UA to Celebrate 149th Commencement on Saturday

Monday 12/16/2013

What's Up UA? - UA Astronomers Discover Planet That Shouldn't Be There

Wednesday 12/11/2013

What's Up UA? - Growing Hydroponic Strawberries in the Desert

Monday 12/09/2013

What's Up UA? - Carey Earns Pac-12 Player of the Year Award

Friday 12/06/2013

UA Named a Top University for Student Veterans

Monday 12/02/2013

Cats Close Regular Season with 3-1 Thriller Over ASU

Tuesday 11/26/2013

What's Up UA? - Three UA Faculty Members Inducted as Regents' Professors, Two as Distinguished Professors

Monday 11/25/2013

What's Up UA? - Cats Shock Fifth-Ranked Ducks, 42-16

Wednesday 11/20/2013

What's Up UA? - UA McGuire Center Named Innovator of the Year

Monday 11/18/2013

What's Up UA? - UA Theater Alumni, Tucson Filmmakers Unite for Sony Challenge

Wednesday 11/13/2013

What's Up UA? - Breakthrough in Retinal Implants Expected to Restore Sight to the Blind

Monday 11/11/2013

What's Up UA? - Restoring Old Main, the Project of a Lifetime
Spacer4px

Follow us on Facebook

Online poll

Loading…