SUNY Potsdam's Department of Athletics is pleased to announce the addition of men's volleyball to its varsity sports offerings. The new program will begin intercollegiate competition next season. With the addition of men's volleyball, SUNY Potsdam will offer 19 athletic programs, nine men's and 10 women's, during the 2019-20 season.
"We're very excited to announce the addition of men's volleyball to our athletics programs," said SUNY Potsdam Director of Athletics Sharief Hashim. "We feel it's a growing NCAA D3 sport that will attract potential student-athletes and enhance the volleyball culture at SUNY Potsdam and in the North Country. We have the infrastructure to add the sport and Josh Stokes is experienced in coaching both men's and women's volleyball, which should accelerate the growth of the new program."
Women's volleyball Coach Josh Stokes, who is in his sixth year of coaching at SUNY Potsdam, will run the men's program as well. Stokes coached both the men's and women's programs at Southern Vermont for three seasons before coming to Potsdam.
"I am extremely excited to see Potsdam take this step into a sport that is growing rapidly in the collegiate ranks," said Stokes. "As a former NCAA Division III volleyball player myself, to witness the sport expand is extremely exciting. Having the opportunity to be the first coach of the men's program is an honor knowing the caliber of volleyball talent in the state of New York and the rest of the country. This is an adventure that has many possibilities."
Men's volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports in the NCAA and of the 104 Division III programs, 36 have been added in just the past few years. For the College, adding men's volleyball fills a regional void, creating an opportunity to bring students to campus that might not otherwise consider Potsdam.
SUNY Potsdam has been accepted into the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) as an associate member and will start conference play next winter. The NEAC consists of men's volleyball programs from Lancaster Bible College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, Wilson College and the College of St. Elizabeth.
"The addition of the sport and the opportunity to become a NEAC associate member will allow us to broaden our recruiting reach in Long Island, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and the Capital District—areas where there are strong New York State boy's high school and club volleyball programs," Hashim said.
SUNY Potsdam has offered intercollegiate athletics since 1947, though some sports date back to the early 1900s. The Bears have won five NCAA Championships and 20 conference titles in various sports. A total of 58 Potsdam student-athletes have earned All-American honors.