(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) - The Thomas More men's volleyball team begins its 2019 season this weekend. This is the first time Thomas More has had a men's volleyball program since the mid-90's. When Thomas More introduced the addition of the program, it was the 100th program in Division III. According to AVCA, the fastest growing sector, men's college volleyball, hit a significant milestone with a record 150 NCAA institutions sponsoring a team: 22 in Division I, 24 in Division II, and 104 in Division III. Also, in April, the NAIA made men's volleyball their 26th championship sport after hearing that 42 institutions will field teams in 2018-19. The program is following the growing trend of men's volleyball with the addition of this program.
"We are excited to start men's volleyball program at Thomas More. It is the second time Thomas More has had men's volleyball since the mid-90's when the department had it for three years," stated men's and women's Head Coach John Spinney. "The sport of men's volleyball is growing and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky has many grade school programs, but Northern Kentucky does not have many high school programs, which will hopefully change soon. Parents and student-athletes are pushing for their high schools to offer the sport. By showcasing men's volleyball at Thomas More, I hope that local Northern Kentucky high schools will be more open to starting more men's volleyball programs.
"The sport is fast, athletic, and very team-oriented in the way that you cannot score unassisted. On the Ohio side of the river, almost every large high school has men's volleyball," Spinney stated. "Many great football and basketball athletes add volleyball as a way to stay in shape and use their athleticism in the off season. For example, two former Bengals players were great men's volleyball student-athletes in their own right, and competed while they were in the Cincinnati area. Danny Farmer played collegiately at UCLA, where he went on to win two National Championships, and Pat McInally played in high school and continued his love for the game during the off seasons of his NFL career."
Current student-athlete Ryan Hans, a junior outside hitter/libero from Newport Central Catholic, says, "When I found out that Thomas More was getting a men's volleyball program, I was so excited because I had played volleyball growing up through grade school and absolutely love the game. However, when I got to high school Newport Central Catholic didn't offer men's volleyball at the time so I thought that was the end of my competitive volleyball career," stated Hans. "I was a four-sport athlete at Newport Central Catholic, football, basketball, soccer, and baseball, and a former football and rugby player when I got to Thomas More. Once I heard they were getting a men's volleyball team here, I was so excited to do the sport I loved and missed out on in high school."
The men's team opens their season this weekend, Jan. 18 and 19, at the Hiram College Tournament.