AMHERST, NY- While many schools have dropped, or continue to drop certain sports, Daemen College continues to see its athletic program grow.
Friday morning, the school announced the addition of a men's volleyball program. The MotorMVB Foundation helped out by making a $60,000 donation. MOTORMVB Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth of men's volleyball.
Athletic director Bridget Niland said "In researching ways that Daemen Athletics can continue to have a positive impact on the college's enrollment, it became evident that establishing a men's volleyball program is an avenue worth pursuing. With that being said, I don't think we could have acted this quickly without the great partnership we've built with MotorMVB. I want to thank them for their ongoing guidance and support as we work to bring another quality NCAA Division II program into our coffers."
West Seneca native and Olympic star Matt Anderson also helped get the program off the ground. Anderson writing in a letter to the school "While I headed to Penn State to play collegiate volleyball, I played with teammates in high school and at Eden Volleyball Club who would have loved the opportunity to play at Daemen had the program been in place." Anderson added "Providing opportunities for growth to young student athletes is something I'd be happy to be a part of. And because WNY is a hotbed of boys volleyball talent,, I believe that Daemen would be competitive right away. If I can promote the effort in some appropriate way please do not hesitate to reach out."
Hamburg native Don Gleason, a former teammate of Anderson's at the Eden Volleyball Club, was named the first head coach in program history. Gleason was an assistant coach on the women's team that made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 last year.
"I am humbled and honored to be a part of this groundbreaking announcement," said Gleason. "It's truly a great day to be a Daemen Wildcat, and I'm very much looking forward to bringing a new and exciting level of men's collegiate volleyball to Western New York. In many ways, this feels like the culmination of so many efforts, but in actuality it's just the beginning. Building a program from scratch brings a whole set of challenges, but through conversations with Mr. Wade Garard (MotorMVB CEO) and coaches around the country who've gone through this, I couldn't feel more strongly that the time is right for us to do this here at Daemen College. I want to thank Bridget Niland and president Gary Olson for instilling their trust in me to complete the task at hand."
The men's program will begin competing in the 2018-19 academic year with their first match scheduled for sometime in January of 2019.