August 8, 2016

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MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin interim athletics director Kevin McMillan announced today that the Skyhawks will sponsor beach volleyball starting in the 2016-17 academic year.

Beach volleyball is one of the fastest growing collegiate sports since its addition to the NCAA’s emerging sports list in 2009. A total of 58 programs sponsored beach volleyball at the Division-I level last season, when the first-ever NCAA beach volleyball championship tournament was held.

“We saw an opportunity to add a sport that could greatly benefit our department at a minimal cost,” McMillan said. “We explored this possibility just a few short months ago and the pieces quickly fell into place. I’d like to thank our Chancellor Bob Smith, who was instrumental throughout the process of making beach volleyball a reality at UT Martin.”

Current Skyhawk head volleyball coach Jaclynn Yocum will also oversee the beach volleyball season, which features a minimum of eight and a maximum of 16 dates that will start this upcoming March. This year’s national championship will be held on May 5-7 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

“It is exciting to make history here at UT Martin,” Yocum said. “Starting a program from scratch is a challenge that our staff and student-athletes plan to accept head-on. Beach volleyball offers a team-structured concept and the spring schedule will provide our student-athletes a chance to remain in peak physical shape year-round.”

In beach volleyball, each school produces five pairs of players. The first school to win three of the five matches (played in a best-of-three format) is awarded the victory for the contest. UT Martin’s roster will consist of the same Skyhawk student-athletes from the indoor volleyball season.

Last season, Jacksonville State became the first Ohio Valley Conference school to sponsor beach volleyball. In addition to UT Martin, fellow OVC schools Austin Peay and Morehead State are incorporating beach volleyball programs this spring.

Photo courtesy of the American Volleyball Coaches Association

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