Middlesex College has received a $10,000 grant from the NJCAA Foundation and First Point Volleyball Foundation to start a new men’s volleyball program beginning in Spring 2022.
The college was among 15 two-year institutions chosen for the grant by the NJCAA Foundation and First Point Volleyball Foundation, according to information provided by Middlesex College.
“As one of 19 First Point Foundation board members, I can say we are so proud to be able to support the NJCAA and these 15 institutions starting men’s volleyball,” Mick Haley, First Point Volleyball Foundation volunteer board member and AVCA Hall of Famer, said in the statement.
A former men’s volleyball coach at Kellogg Community College (MI), Haley led the program to four NJCAA national championships, back when the sport was sponsored, before stints as head women’s coach at the University of Texas, University of Southern California, and the 2000 US Women’s Olympic Team in Sydney, according to the statement.
“Two-year colleges present the most affordable opportunity for young people to play college volleyball during a time when students want to stay closer to home,” Haley said in the statement. “Our hope at First Point is to see 35 or 40 more two-year colleges follow these 15 and sponsor men’s volleyball.”
Middlesex College currently has 14 Division III (non-scholarship) varsity athletics teams, including the women’s volleyball team.
“As we work to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games, all of us at USA Volleyball are excited by this awesome news of 15 newly announced men’s collegiate volleyball programs at two-year colleges,” John Speraw, First Point Volleyball Foundation founder and volunteer chairman, and head coach of the US Men’s National Team and UCLA Men’s Volleyball, said in the statement. “I suspect it won’t be long before an NJCAA athlete will play for Team USA. I want to personally thank all the donors to the First Point Volleyball Foundation, past and future, for making these grants possible.”
In May, the NJCAA in collaboration with First Point Volleyball Foundation, announced a $200,000 grant to support the growth of men’s volleyball as an emerging sport within the association. The NJCAA Foundation awarded grants to 15 member colleges, including Middlesex College, to support the initiative towards men’s volleyball becoming a full NJCAA championship sport, according to the statement.
“The ability to create more opportunities for student-athletes to compete in college and take part in a growing sport is one of the ultimate wins the NJCAA Foundation can achieve,” Brian Luckett, NJCAA Foundation executive director, said in the statement. “We are appreciative of the First Point Volleyball Foundation for making this possible and the NJCAA member colleges who have stepped up to make history by bringing back men’s volleyball to the association.”
According to Assistant Athletic Director Carey Monkowski at Middlesex College, the new sports opportunity is a direct response to the broad popularity of the sport and its appeal to current and prospective students.
“For several years, we have had great interest on campus for a men’s volleyball program,” she said in the statement. “The addition of any sport helps to increase enrollment. By adding men’s volleyball, we will be able to provide male athletes from the 14 Middlesex County high schools that offer men’s volleyball a local opportunity to continue their education and athletic careers.”
The new grant will provide important startup funds for building a meaningful foundation for a men’s volleyball program which the college will be able to sustain in the years to come.
The addition of men’s volleyball is an important milestone for the Intercollegiate Athletics Program at Middlesex College, Monkowski said in the statement.
“Athletics are an appropriate and important component of the Middlesex College experience,” she said. “They embody many of the intrinsic values and goals of education at our college. The addition of a men’s volleyball program enables the Intercollegiate Athletics Program to take the next step in its goal to become one of the best athletic programs among comparable two-year colleges in the region and nation.”