HACKENSACK, N.J. – Fairleigh Dickinson University President, Dr. Christopher Capuano and Director of Athletics, Bradford Hurlbut are pleased to announce the addition of men’s volleyball to the Knights stable of athletic programs.
With this addition, FDU increases its sport total to 20 teams and will become the 24th NCAA DI institution to sponsor men’s volleyball as well as, the fourth NEC institution to field the sport. St. Francis Brooklyn launched men’s volleyball in 2019-20, joining Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (Pa.) as the NEC schools that sponsor men’s volleyball. FDU plans for its first season of men’s volleyball competition in 2021-2022 school year.
In addition, it was announced that a $200,000 grant from First Point Volleyball Foundation was obtained to aid in the establishment of the program. The $200,000 will be granted over four years to assist with programmatic needs.
“The University is very excited to welcome men’s volleyball, the 20th Division I athletic program on our Metropolitan Campus,” said FDU President Christopher A. Capuano. “The pandemic has greatly impacted colleges and universities across the country over the last year, but we are continuing to move forward and respond to student needs with important new programs like this one.”
The president added, “FDU has achieved strong momentum in recent years, and our strategic planning efforts have positioned us well for the future. Our foremost goal is to create greater opportunities for our students to have a dynamic and fulfilling collegiate experience, and athletics plays an important role in that effort on both our New Jersey campuses.”
In his third year at the helm of FDU Athletics, Hurlbut is excited to bring this dynamic sport ‘on the Hackensack’, “I would like to thank President Chris Capuano for his leadership and belief in our strategic vision. Additionally, today would not be possible without the support from the First Point Volleyball Foundation and its CEO Wade Garard. Sincere thanks for making it possible for us to achieve FDU’s “First Point” next season.”
“We have been so impressed by the vision and leadership of President Capuano and Director Hurlbut,” Garard said. “First Point is honored to partner with an institution building momentum through athletics. It is really exciting to think that young men from all over the country and all over the world will soon be in Hackensack competing in volleyball and enjoying the unique student-athlete experience FDU is providing. This goes to show that even during a Pandemic when some NCAA DI administrators are considering contraction, strong leaders can stand behind the notion that athletics is a momentum builder for an entire institution. Broad based programming for sport sponsorship is very much alive.”
Hurlbut continued on the impact men’s volleyball will have on the region, “We look forward to competing against our NEC peers who sponsor men’s volleyball: St. Francis (Brooklyn), Saint Francis (PA), and Sacred Heart. Additionally, two other Division I New Jersey institutions, NJIT and Princeton, sponsor this great sport. We will move forward with applying for membership in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and look forward to competing around the country.”
Men’s volleyball is the first sport the Knights have added since the inception of women’s golf in 2006. A national search for the new volleyball program’s first head coach will begin immediately.
What They’re Saying
Wade Garard, CEO of First Point Volleyball
“We have been so impressed by the vision and leadership of President Capuano and Director Hurlbut. First Point is honored to partner with an institution building momentum through athletics. It is really exciting to think that young men from all over the country and all over the world will soon be in Hackensack competing in volleyball and enjoying the unique student-athlete experience FDU is providing.”
John Speraw, United States Men’s Volleyball National Team Head Coach
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to add another Division I program to the entire Olympic sport movement. Congratulations to Brad Hurlbut and the entire Fairleigh Dickinson community. Boys’ and men’s volleyball continues to be on the rise and I look forward to Fairleigh Dickinson’s first point in January 2022.”
Sarah Wilhelmi, Sr. Director of Collegiate Partnerships, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee
“On behalf of Team USA, congratulations to Fairleigh Dickinson University for adding men’s volleyball to your roster of DI sponsored sports. Olympic sport support is critical to Team USA and great for student-athletes. We wish you the best of luck. Go Knights!”
About Boys’ and Men’s Volleyball in the United States and New Jersey
Boys’ volleyball is exploding. It is the fastest-growing team sport in the United States for high school boys, growing at 22% over the last five years. The second fastest-growing team sport grew by only 9.98% and football decreased nine percent over the same five-year period. With 63,000 boys playing high school volleyball it is projected that 100,000 boys will be playing by 2028. New Jersey is also at the forefront of the boys’ volleyball movement as the state ranks third in participation, trailing only California and Illinois. New collegiate Men’s Volleyball programs have been launched at 80 universities in the last decade – mostly at the DII, DIII, and NAIA levels. In 2019 First Point Volleyball and the SIAC announced that six HBCUs would be adding men’s volleyball bringing the total NCAA DI-II programs that sponsor the sport up to 55 teams expected in the 2021-2022 school year.