What's Up UA? - Arizona Adds Women's Sand Volleyball - Tucson Local Media: University Of Arizona

What's Up UA? - Arizona Adds Women's Sand Volleyball

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:07 am


Competition will begin in 2014 for the UA's 20th varsity sport. Steve Walker, the UA's indoor volleyball associate head coach, will be the new program's first head coach.


University of Arizona Director of Athletics Greg Byrne has announced that his department has added women's sand volleyball as a varsity sport.

The sport, which enjoys a spring competition schedule, will be the 20th varsity sport sponsored by the department. Steve Walker has been named the new program's first head coach. Official competition will begin in spring 2014.

"This is an exciting day for the University of Arizona and our volleyball program," said Byrne. "With our strengths as an athletics department – including strong indoor volleyball, great interest from our fans and weather that is very conducive to outdoor activity – it's a natural fit for us."

Walker, currently the UA's indoor volleyball associate head coach, will serve as the program's first leader. He served as an assistant coach with the Wildcats for three seasons from 2003-05, helping to lead the program to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2005. He left Arizona after the 2005 season to become the women's volleyball head coach at the UC Davis, where he has coached for two seasons before returning to Arizona in 2007.

"I would like to thank Greg and all involved for this opportunity to be the first-ever head sand volleyball coach here at the University of Arizona," said Walker. "Throughout this hiring process, it is evident that this athletics department is excited about bringing an emerging sport like sand volleyball to this campus and community and plan to grow with it in the coming years."

"Sand volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country," said Deputy Director of Athletics Rocky LaRose. "With growing national interest, and in particular within the high school ranks in the state of Arizona, this was a natural fit. In fact, Arizona is the first high school interscholastic association to add sand volleyball as an official varsity sport. I'm excited for the new opportunities for our women, and thrilled to continue to grow our women's programs."

At UC Davis, Walker became the Aggies' eighth head volleyball coach, guiding the program through its final year of reclassification to NCAA Division I status in 2006, and during its first year of membership in the Big West Conference. During his tenure at UC Davis, Walker was selected to coach the Northern California Volleyball Association Youth Division team at the Global Challenge in Maribor, Slovenia, during July of 2006. In 2010, he was invited back to coach the NCVA Youth team at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Walker received his "AAA" rating, the highest level pro/am rating as a player in the California Beach Volleyball Association series from 1997-99, and multiple times he was an Arizona Beach Volleyball Association tournament winner from 2003-06.

A collegiate volleyball player at Long Beach State, Walker finished his career as the school's all-time leader in assists per game. The starting setter for two seasons, he was named AVCA All-America and All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in 1995, after leading the NCAA in assists and assists per game.

"We're fortunate to have Steve as our first head coach," said David Rubio, Arizona's indoor volleyball head coach. "He has a strong background in sand volleyball and will put us a step ahead of many programs right from the start."

Women's sand volleyball is an emerging sport worldwide – as witnessed by its success at recent Olympic Games – and within NCAA circles. Fifteen universities sponsored the sport in 2011-12, its inaugural year, and 29 will compete in 2012-13. Further, 47 schools are considering sponsorship in 2013-14.

In order to be an officially sponsored NCAA championship sport, there must be 40 competing institutions in two consecutive seasons. Within the Pac-12 Conference, four schools presently sponsor the sport (California, Stanford, UCLA, USC) with at least one other member considering adding the sport.

Additionally, Arizona was the first state in the nation to add sand volleyball as a high school varsity sport in 2011-12, with California following in 2012-13. Currently, there are more than 350 youth club participants in the sport in the Arizona region.

Sand volleyball was added by the NCAA in August 2011 for Division I competition. The roster size in this sport will grow as the number of scholarships increase and will have a maximum roster size of 14 student-athletes by 2014-15.

Sand volleyball features five two-woman teams ranked by ability, and each duo plays against the corresponding team or teams from other schools. In a dual meet, the winning team is the school winning three of five matches. Individual matches are two sets played to 21 points, with a tiebreaker set to 15, if needed. All sets are rally scoring and must be won by two points.

The sport is the first added by the UA since women's indoor track and field in 1998. Previously, Arizona added women's soccer in 1994.

Arizona currently sponsors 11 women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball) and eight men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis and outdoor track and field).

Arizona has won 21 national championships and 118 conference titles in its athletic history.

© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Saturday 09/26/2015

Little goes right for the Wildcats

Saturday 09/19/2015

Records fall in lopsided win

Friday 09/04/2015

Arizona challenged by Roadrunners

Tuesday 08/18/2015

Arizona has few questions at QB

Thursday 08/06/2015

Cats open fall drills

Monday 03/09/2015

McConnell, Johnson finalists for awards Johnson Named FOY, Four Wildcats Honored by Pac-12

Monday 01/19/2015

Johnson named Player of the Week

Friday 01/16/2015

Wildcats down shorthanded Colorado

Monday 01/05/2015

Vote for Sean Miller & win $100,000 for the Tucson Ronald McDonald House

Monday 12/15/2014

Arts and Sciences Are Writing a New Love Story Together

Thursday 12/11/2014

More hardware for UA's Wright

Wednesday 12/10/2014

S.H.I.E.L.D half season finale delivers Cats get a glimpse of the future in blowout

Friday 11/14/2014

UA Eller College To Share Economic Outlook for 2015-2016

Wednesday 11/12/2014

UA Humanities Seminars

Tuesday 11/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Hiring Interns? Top 8 Tips for Companies

Wednesday 10/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Close Encounter 'One in a Million'

Monday 10/13/2014

What's Up UA? - Austin Hill: The Comeback Kid

Monday 10/06/2014

What's Up UA? - Health, Wellness Practices Highlighted by Chinese Culture Festival

Thursday 10/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Ready for a Super-Fast Internet? UA Scientists Are Fast at Work on It

Tuesday 09/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Using the Force: UA Police Officer Completes NASA Project

Monday 09/29/2014

What's Up UA? - How New Social Movements Take Root

Friday 09/26/2014

What's Up UA? - PBS 'NewsHour' to Feature Inspirational UA Student

Wednesday 09/24/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Paves Way to Redefine STEM Education

Monday 09/22/2014

What's Up UA? - Wildcats Rally, Hail Mary TD Defeats Cal, 49-45

Thursday 09/18/2014

What's Up UA? - When Job Loss Equals Weight Gain

Monday 09/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Don’t Underestimate Your Mind’s Eye

Thursday 09/11/2014

What's Up UA? - 'What I Wish I Had Known as a Freshman'

Tuesday 09/09/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergraduate Researchers Take to the Radio

Thursday 09/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Send Your Tweet – and Your Name – to an Asteroid

Tuesday 09/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Brown Foundations' $2.5 Million Kicks Off Catapult Corp

Thursday 08/28/2014

What's Up UA? - New Veterinary Degree Program Made Possible by $9M Gift is Critical for State

Monday 08/25/2014

What's Up UA? - Laser 'Lightning Rods' Channel Electricity Through Thin Air

Thursday 08/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Fall Enrollment Sets Record for Diversity, Number of Freshmen

Tuesday 08/19/2014

What's Up UA? - Remarkable Résumé: UA Student Journalist's Career Includes CNN, NYT Phoenix

Friday 08/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Through Innovative Partnership, 'Hot Shot' Team Tackles Yuma Produce Perils

Wednesday 08/13/2014

What's Up UA? - The UA Named a Top College by The Princeton Review

Monday 08/11/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Researchers Study Increasing Lifespan and Immune Function What's Up UA? - UA Undergrads Conducting Microgravity Research Aboard NASA's G-Force One

Monday 06/09/2014

What's up UA? - UA to Host U.S. and Mexico Officials Exploring Collaborations in Education, Innovation, Research

Thursday 06/05/2014

What's Up UA? - New Wilderness Medicine Class Hones Patient Care Skills in Rugged Conditions

Tuesday 06/03/2014

Track Cats Send Eight Athletes to TrackTown USA

Monday 06/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Bringing a Spacecraft Back From the Dead

Friday 05/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Heart Attack Patient Defies Odds with Tailored Surgical Treatment at UA Medical Center

Thursday 05/29/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Marketing Students Win National AT&T Competition

Tuesday 05/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Friday 05/23/2014

What's up UA? - Four UA Students Picked for Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarships

Wednesday 05/21/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Monday 05/19/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Tunnels Get Carbon Fiber Makeover


Follow us on Facebook

Online poll