This past November, the Goshen College athletic department announced that it will become the fifth four-year school in Indiana to offer intercollegiate men’s varsity volleyball, starting in the 2018-2019 academic year.
The announcement came as part of an ongoing plan by GC to boost enrollment and revenue. The plan has already begun to increase investment in facilities and staffing along with the expansion of roster sizes in all offered sports.
“An enormous factor in a student’s college choice is the opportunity to continue to compete in the sports they love and have invested so much time and effort into,” said Josh Gleason, GC athletic director. “Goshen College strives to develop the many facets of people prepared to affect change in the world around them. We are excited to be offering more ways for students to combine their passion for their sport with the life-changing education we offer.”
Men’s volleyball is currently the second fastest growing men’s high school sport in the country. In Indiana alone, there are 70 high school programs with only five varsity programs at the collegiate level, with three being NCAA Division I.
The men will be coached by current women’s volleyball assistant coach, Jim Daugherty. Daugherty is coming off his third year as part of Jim Routhier’s staff and has experience at all levels of the volleyball world.
“I am very excited and looking forward to start and build the men’s volleyball team,” said Daugherty. “Men’s volleyball is exciting to watch, and I think the power and speed of game will excite fans.”
Recruiting for the newly acquired program is off and running for Daugherty.
“We have travelled around to volleyball clubs in the Midwest and have found a lot of excitement and interest from players and coaches,” said Daugherty. “We hope to recruit 3 to 4 athletes for this fall and we are planning on having a men’s demonstration match during Homecoming Weekend next year.”
The current plan in place as mentioned by Daugherty is to bring in as many recruits as possible to mix with an assortment of interested current GC students to begin training and potentially play a few contests as part of a club schedule in the 2017-2018 academic year.
Thirty-two other NAIA programs have also expressed interest in the men’s volleyball craze and will begin varsity play in 2017-2018. Due to too few of programs in the Crossroads League, the men will be forced to find other competition.
“Late this spring or summer we will determine which league we will compete in,” Gleason said. “We will be part of a growing NAIA field, which is in year two of National Invitational status. There are two NAIA conferences in the region: one out of Chicago, one in Southern Michigan and one in Western Ohio. We plan to join one of those as an associate member with large non-conference possibilities in the other as well as Midwest tournaments.”