The Aquinas College Athletic Department has announced that they will begin a men's volleyball program beginning in the fall of the 2018-2019 academic year with the first official competition in the winter of that year.
Rick Schroeder, current women's volleyball coach at Aquinas College, will also serve as head coach of the men's program. Aquinas will be the fourth Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference member to add volleyball which will help the WHAC move closer to the required six members in order to become a conference sponsored sport.
Schroeder stated, "Starting a men's program was an easy decision in my mind. The sport of men's volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports in collegiate athletics, especially at the NAIA level. There are volleyball hotbeds all around our country, with young men looking for opportunities to continue their academic and athletic careers. There is a hotbed tucked away amongst us in Grand Rapids, with the beaches of Lake Michigan just around the corner. It has always been a passion of mine to grow the game from the grassroots level and this program might allow us to do that in West Michigan."
Men's Volleyball at the NAIA level is currently labeled as an "Emerging Sport", with the goal of becoming a full fledged "Championship Sport" in the near future. A total of 31 NAIA institutions across the country currently offer the sport of men's volleyball with the goal of qualifying for the National Invitational Tournament in mid-April.
Schroeder added, "The WHAC conference has shown a serious commitment to the sport of men's volleyball. There are some great coaches currently working in our conference and we all share the same mindset of growing the game at all levels. I would like to thank Nick Davidson and the administration at Aquinas College for trusting me with this process. I am happy to share in growing and giving back to the sport that opened up so many opportunities for me, including a college education and a profession."
Athletic Director Nick Davidson commented, "We are excited to add men's volleyball to our athletic department offerings. It is a growing sport in the Midwest and we are thrilled to have Coach Schroeder at the helm. He has great contacts nationally and he will begin recruiting immediately."