On Sept. 18, Athletic Director Christa Racine announced that Drew would expand its athletics program with the addition of women’s and men’s volleyball, making them varsity programs 21 and 22, respectively, in the Forest. The last expansion occurred in 2016 with the formation of the men’s and women’s golf programs that have already seen success in the Landmark Conference.
Women’s volleyball is set to begin its inaugural season come the fall of 2021 in the Landmark Conference, where they will become the eighth team to compete. Drew will join the established programs from The Catholic University of America, Elizabethtown College, Goucher College, Juniata College, Moravian College, Susquehanna University and the University of Scranton. Men’s volleyball will debut in the spring of 2022 in a conference to be determined as it is not a Landmark Conference sponsored sport.
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Sport expansion at Drew has been an increased topic of discussion in recent years with volleyball topping the list. Racine stated, “It was time to decide if the university was going to move forward with it or not.” When Robert Herr, the new Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions, who oversees Racine, joined Drew this past spring he was met with the proposal to add both volleyball programs because of their similarities. Herr said, “We decided that we could move forward quickly since the resources necessary are relatively minor compared to many other sports, and it fit with what our conference peers already offered.” Drew was the only remaining school already in the Landmark Conference to not have established a women’s volleyball team.
The decision to expedite the implementation of both volleyball teams was logical on a number of fronts. Herr explained, “We already knew there is volleyball interest among Drew's student body and there's also significant volleyball interest among high school students in many of the regions Drew attracts students from.” Additionally, the Rangers wanted to participate in the 2021 season because the Landmark Conference plans their matches about two years in advance, adding to the urgency of starting the programs to ensure that Drew could be worked into the schedule.
Currently underway is the search for a Director of Volleyball and head women’s coach. Racine explained, “The individual will be starting by December 1, their number one priority will be to begin the recruiting process for both programs.” Club athletes who have a desire to be part of the program or who want to share the volleyball tradition on campus are encouraged to talk with the director once they are in place.