Island University Scores Sand Volleyball as New Sport

Published: May 26, 2015

Island University Scores Sand Volleyball as New Sport

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas  – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will add sand volleyball to its intercollegiate athletics program for the spring 2016 season, University officials announced today.

“Sand volleyball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation and we are positioned perfectly to compete in this arena,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President/CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Our volleyball team is already very strong and the addition of sand volleyball allows our female athletes to expand their skills by playing throughout the year.”

The addition gives Islanders Athletics 16 sports competing at the Division I level.

“Sand volleyball is a growing sport within the intercollegiate athletics community, and with its popularity on the many beaches of Corpus Christi, it seems a logical fit for our athletics department,” said Director of Athletics Scott Lazenby. “We feel it will be a popular addition for our community, and it provides us another avenue to build the Islanders Athletics brand, both regionally and nationally.”

The team will play its contests at newly created courts on the Momentum Campus inside the Dr. Jack Dugan Family Soccer and Track Stadium. Construction on these courts is underway. The University will hold a dedication ceremony on June 12.

The program will be coached by the current Islanders Volleyball staff, under the direction of head coach Tony Graystone. The sand volleyball season runs during the spring, with the championships held in early May. The sport has not held an official NCAA championship to this point, but is slated to host its first official collegiate championship in the spring of 2016. It will become the 90th sport to hold an NCAA Championship.

“Watching the growth of sand volleyball in the high school and prep ranks, it’s obvious that it is quickly becoming a mainstream sport around the nation,” Graystone said. “Adding the sport to our intercollegiate program will help both the athletics department and our volleyball program as a whole. We have heard from a number of top recruits who have told us they would really have interest in playing both indoor and sand volleyball, and I think it will be a big boost to the caliber of student-athletes we can bring in here.

“I’ve also seen the excitement of the Corpus Christi community around the sport with our annual Beach Slam,” he added. “I truly believe this is a sport that will draw great interest from around the Coastal Bend.”

More than 50 institutions sponsored sand volleyball this past year, with several on the horizon expected to add the sport. Sand volleyball is not currently organized in conferences, though Southland members Houston Baptist and New Orleans also sponsor the sport.

In NCAA sand volleyball, two schools play five best two-out-of-three set doubles matches against one another, with the winner being the first to claim at least three of the contests. Teams are required to take part in a minimum of eight matches on a maximum of 16 playing dates. The majority of teams play 4-5 matches per weekend over a span of four weekend tournaments.