(Aurora, N.Y.) - The Wells College Athletic Department is pleased to announce that Men's and Women's Volleyball has been added as a varsity sport for the 2011-2012 academic year, increasing the total number of varsity athletic offerings to 16. In addition, Betsy Hayden has been named the head coach for both teams and will spend the 2010-2011 season actively recruiting and preparing the Express for their debut next year.
Hayden comes to Wells with over 20 years of Volleyball coaching experience; having most recently coached at NCAA Division II Millersville University where her women's volleyball team consistently earned All-Academic Team Honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Hayden has also coached at NCAA Division III Wesley College, earning the most wins in program history, and spent five years at Onondaga Community College accumulating over 140 wins, making an appearance in the regional and conference playoffs all five years, including one National Championship Tournament appearance.
Hayden currently holds a Certificate of Advanced Studies and a Master's of Science in Health Education from SUNY Cortland, Bachelors of Science in Physical Education from Syracuse University and an Associate's Degree in Applied Science in Recreation and Leadership from Onondaga Community College.
Women's volleyball will compete in the fall and participate in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) with the winner of the annual conference championship earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Women's Volleyball has been a well established sport in the NCAA for many years boasting more than 200 Division III institutions that actively sponsor the sport at the varsity level.
Men's volleyball has been an emerging sport in the NCAA over the last few years with over 90 institutions sponsoring the sport nationwide, including 57 institutions at the Division III level. While the NEAC does not currently sponsor the sport, men's volleyball, which competes in the early spring, will either compete independently or join a volleyball specific conference such as the United Volleyball Conference which was recently formed by 12 schools in the surrounding area and qualifies for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The addition of both men's and women's volleyball marks the sixth and seventh varsity program added at Wells since 2007. Women's Volleyball is the 9th sponsored female sport joining basketball, cross country, field hockey, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, softball, and tennis. Men's Volleyball becomes the sixth sponsored male sport joining soccer, cross country, swimming, basketball, and lacrosse. Wells also offers mixed golf, which is a coed team.
Adding women's volleyball has been in the discussion over the last few years as the College continues to grow its athletic offerings. Women's volleyball is listed amongst the sports to be added in the 2005-2010 strategic plan and efforts were put forth at that time to add the sport, along with including an NCAA regulation volleyball court layout during the design phase of the new portable basketball floor. But with the emergence of men's volleyball at the Division III level, and with over 50,000 male volleyball players competing at the high school level nationwide, it was clear adding men's volleyball would also compliment the athletic offerings here at Wells and, with the limited offerings nationwide, provide a unique opportunity for prospective student-athletes to play collegiately.