MACON, Ga. – The Atlantic Sun Conference announced Coastal Carolina University as its newest affiliate member for beach volleyball, expanding the league to six programs beginning for the 2016 season. The Chanticleers will participate in the 2016 A-Sun Beach Volleyball Championship and will begin regular season play in 2017.
"We are very pleased to welcome Coastal Carolina University as the sixth member for A-Sun Beach Volleyball and look forward to providing the Chants and the rest of our A-Sun teams a continually enhanced experience for all the student-athletes," remarked A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart.
The A-Sun is entering its fifth season of competition in beach volleyball after becoming the first conference to sponsor the sport in 2012 with Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Mercer University, University of North Florida & Stetson University as founding programs.
"Four years ago, the A-Sun became the first conference to sponsor an official conference championship in beach volleyball," Gumbart added. "Since then, the A-Sun has continued to demonstrate leadership in the sport. We are proud to continue our participation in the growth of this popular sport and that Coastal Carolina will initiate its beach program in the Atlantic Sun Conference."
Beach volleyball is one of the fastest-growing NCAA sports with 60 schools now sponsoring. Programs will play in one comprehensive NCAA division – including schools from Divisions I, II and III. Beach volleyball will be the 19th program sponsored by Coastal Carolina.
"We received approval from our university Board of Trustees earlier this year to pursue the addition of beach volleyball and now that the NCAA has fully sanctioned the sport including a planned championship, the time was right to move forward," Director of Athletics Matt Hogue said. "Given our location adjacent to the beautiful beaches of the Grand Strand, it makes sense to field this sport, however we wanted to complete our due diligence and planning prior to implementation. Additionally, this will strategically align with our upcoming move to FBS football and the Sun Belt Conference."
The 2016 A-Sun Beach Volleyball Championship will be held at LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson, Ga. on the Rally Volleyball Courts. Stetson enters as the two-time defending champions, while North Florida claimed the first two tournaments.
For more information – including rules, teams that sponsor beach volleyball and more:
American Volleyball Coaches Association http://avca.org/beach