Daemen College partners with MotorMVB, starts Division II men’s volleyball team

A $60,000 grant from MotorMVB Foundation is helping establish the first NCAA Division I-II team from up-state New York in the recent history of college men’s volleyball.

Deamen College announced Friday that it would will sponsor a men’s volleyball program beginning in the 2019 season.

Daemen, a NCAA Division II liberal arts college located in Amherst, New York, has an enrollment of about 3,000 students. Along with being the only Division I-II men’s volleyball team in New York, it will be the first Division II program located in the Northeast.

“We are beyond excited to be adding men’s volleyball to the sports offered here at Daemen College,” athletics director Bridget Niland said in a statement. “In researching ways that Daemen Athletics can continue to have a positive impact on the college’s enrollment, it became evident that establishing a men’s volleyball program is an avenue worth pursuing. With that being said, I don’t think we could have acted this quickly without the great partnership we’ve built with MotorMVB. I want to thank them for their ongoing guidance and support as we work to bring another quality NCAA Division II program into our coffers.”

MotorMVB is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing boys’ and men’s volleyball throughout the United States. The organization has a goal of increasing the amount of college men’s volleyball programs to 380 teams within the next 10 years.

The $60,000 grant to Deamen will be spread out during a three-year period.

“Thanks to the generosity of passionate volleyball donors, we are pleased to provide support to Daemen College. The leadership at Daemen has really impressed us and we are convinced that Bridget Niland and coach [Don] Gleason will guide a thriving men’s volleyball program for many years to come,” Wade Garard, CEO of MotorMVB Foundation, said in a statement. “Our foundation board chairman John Speraw always says there is nothing more important than providing opportunities for the young people of this country. We are pleased to be able to help do this for boys in Western New York and from across the country who will come to Daemen and enjoy a meaningful student-athlete experience.”

Daemen will begin competition in 2019 as an independent team. The school announced Friday, though, its goal is to join the EIVA.

Along with forming a new men’s volleyball program, Daemen announced Don Gleason will serve as the team’s inaugural head coach.

Gleason was an assistant coach for the Daemen women’s volleyball team that reached the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals last year. He also was an assistant coach with Stony Brook, Buffalo and Yale during the last five years and formed a boys and girls beach volleyball club program.

“I am humbled and honored to be a part of this groundbreaking announcement,” Gleason said in a statement. “It’s truly a great day to be a Daemen Wildcat, and I’m very much looking forward to bringing a new and exciting level of men’s collegiate volleyball to Western New York. In many ways, this feels like the culmination of so many efforts, but in actuality it’s just the beginning. Building a program from scratch brings a whole set of challenges, but through conversations with Mr. Garard and coaches around the country who’ve gone through this, I couldn’t feel more strongly that the time is right for us to do this here at Daemen College. I want to thank Bridget Niland and President Gary Olson for instilling their trust in me to complete the task at hand.”

This will be the seventh Division II school to add college men’s volleyball in the last five years.