Nov. 12, 2012
STOCKTON, Calif. — Beginning this spring, University of the Pacific will have three new sports teams, Vice President for External Affairs and Athletics Ted Leland announced today. The Tigers will welcome Women’s Sand Volleyball, Women’s Outdoor Track and Field and the return of Men’s Soccer.
The sand volleyball and track teams will begin competition in spring, 2013. The soccer team will begin playing in fall, 2014 and will begin NCAA Division I competition in fall, 2015. The soccer team is being created to take advantage of the new level of competition that will be available to Pacific when it enters the West Coast Conference (WCC) in fall 2013, while the other two teams are being added due to popular demand. Pacific announced the change from the Big West to the WCC earlier this year.
“The addition of these sports will expand our athletic profile and take us to another level,” Leland said. “The men’s soccer team and the track and field team have long been identified as additions we’d like to make to our athletics program. Sand volleyball is being added because of the rising popularity of this sport and the opportunity to enter a new league devoted to the sport.
“The additional sports will be funded by the existing Athletic Department budget,” added Leland. “No new University funding will be used to support the programs.”
Men’s Soccer will return to NCAA Division I status at Pacific for the first time since being discontinued after the 1985-86 season. The program will begin competition with recruited student-athletes in the fall of 2014 and will play a full NCAA Division I schedule as a part of the WCC in the fall of 2015.
The Sand Volleyball team will compete in the Northern California Sand Volleyball Consortium beginning this spring. The other teams in the consortium will be announced at a later date along with a start date. Sand Volleyball is an NCAA emerging sport, a sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to provide additional athletics opportunities to female student-athletes.
“We are very excited to be among the first programs to have sand volleyball and will begin our sand program in March,” said women’s volleyball head coach Greg Gibbons. “I think it provides more great opportunities for our players to compete at a very high level and capitalize on the growth of sand volleyball in the United States and. Globally it provides another platform for our student-athletes to develop and play at the next level. From a training standpoint, it will help develop our players to be better all-around volleyball athletes and as from a team aspect, most of our women and recruits play both indoor and sand volleyball and we are able to offer them both.”
Women’s Outdoor Track and Field will emphasize distance running events and will compete as an NCAA Division I Independent. Both the track and new volleyball teams will add minimal new expenses to Pacific’s Athletics program, as the current coaches of Women’s Cross Country (Josh Jones) and Women’s Volleyball (Greg Gibbons) will coach those teams.
“We are very excited about the addition of the track program for our runners, said Jones. “We have worked really hard these last four years to improve the cross country program. With the addition of track, we have more opportunities to compete and train, which puts us on a more even playing field with other West Coast Conference programs.”
With the addition of these sports, Pacific will have 19 total sports – 11 women’s and eight 8 men’s:
Women’s Athletic Programs: Women’s Basketball, Women’s Cross Country, Field Hockey, Women’s Sand Volleyball, Women’s Soccer, Softball, Women’s Swimming, Women’s Tennis, Women’s Track and Field, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Water Polo
Men’s Athletic Programs: Baseball, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, Men’s Soccer, Men’s Swimming, Men’s Tennis, Men’s Volleyball, Men’s Water Polo