FIU adds sand volleyball, hires coach

Kick off ’em sneakers, Panthers: FIU Athletics is adding women’s sand volleyball to its programs and has hired Olympic silver medalist Rita Buck-Crockett to coach the new team, which will begin competing at the NCAA Division I level in 2013.

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With the addition, FIU increases its intercollegiate-sport count to 18.

“We’re extremely pleased to bring in an assistant athletics director and sand volleyball head coach with Rita’s level of experience,” said Pete Garcia, FIU Athletics’ executive director of Sports and Entertainment. “As a program, we’re very excited and expect to be competitive right away.”

“I’m very honored to become a part of FIU,” Buck-Crockett said. “I look forward to leading our sand volleyball program to a national championship and helping to get the indoor volleyball program to the next level.”

Sand volleyball is an emerging sport and Division I competition became effective in August 2011. According to American Volleyball Coaches Association, there are currently 17 programs across the country and more will be added soon. Fellow Sun Belt Conference member FAU is also adding a program and six other Florida schools will compete in 2012.

The Panthers will field five doubles teams that will compete in best-of-three matches to 21, with the tiebreaker being played to 15. All sets will be rally scoring and must be won by two points.