Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero announced that UCLA will add sand volleyball as a women's intercollegiate sport, starting with the spring 2013 season. This latest addition will bring UCLA's total number of intercollegiate athletics teams to 25 sports, 15 for women and 10 for men.
"We are extremely excited to add women's sand volleyball as our newest intercollegiate athletics sport at UCLA," Guerrero said. "We have a storied and illustrious history with our women's indoor volleyball program and we look forward to continuing our volleyball tradition on the sand. With the emergence of the sport worldwide, thanks in part to the Olympic Games, women's sand volleyball is sure to grow into an elite sport in the coming years. I can't think of a more fitting location for a sand volleyball program than right here at UCLA."
The team will be coached by UCLA Athletics Hall of Famer and former men's volleyball standout Stein Metzger. After attending UCLA, Metzger, who was a volunteer coach with the Bruin women's indoor team in 2012, enjoyed a successful beach volleyball career, winning on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Tour 16 times. He also earned a Silver Medal at the 2003 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and recorded a fifth-place finish at the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
"I feel honored to re-join the UCLA volleyball family as a coach and mentor," Metzger said. "It's especially rewarding to be involved in the school's inaugural year competing in the sand volleyball discipline, and I'm excited for the current and future Bruin athletes who will have the opportunity to play this wonderful sport."
Metzger will work closely with the head coach of UCLA's women's indoor squad, Michael Sealy, who led his team to the 2011 NCAA Championship, the program's seventh national title and fourth NCAA Championship.
"Although sand volleyball is in its early stages, I have no doubt that it will grow into a very popular and thrilling NCAA sport," said Sealy. "I am excited about our decision to start competing this season, and even more excited that Stein Metzger will be at the helm. Stein has been successful at every level of the sport and I know that coaching will be no different."
Sand volleyball was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for women in 2009 with the first year of competition beginning in 2011-12. UCLA will join 20 other schools nationwide who have added the sport since that time. As more schools continue to add sand volleyball programs, the NCAA is expected to add the sport to its national championship programming.
UCLA and beach volleyball have been synonymous since the AVP began play in 1983. Nearly 40 former Bruin women's indoor volleyball players have taken their skills to the sand as part of the AVP Tour.
UCLA has also been well represented in the sport of beach volleyball at the Olympics. In the 1996 Atlanta Games, Bruin alums Linda (Robertson) Hanley and Holly McPeak placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Four years later in Sydney, the team of Annett (Buckner) Davis and Jenny (Johnson) Jordan reached the quarterfinals, as did McPeak, who partnered with three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor.
In 2004 in Athens, McPeak partnered with her teammate from the 1990 UCLA National Championship squad, Elaine Youngs. The duo won the Bronze Medal and were coached by former Bruin great Liz Masakayan. Masakayan returned four years later to coach a team of Youngs and Nicole Branagh, who reached the quarterfinals at the 2008 Beijing Games.
"UCLA has a rich tradition of indoor volleyball, but also of producing top beach talent," McPeak said. "It is exciting to see the Bruins become part of the growing number of college programs supporting sand volleyball."
The Bruins will practice and play their home matches at the Annenberg Community Beach facility in Santa Monica.