Urbana hires former Division III coach to lead new men’s volleyball program

Urbana after almost a year-long job search has decided who will lead its new men’s volleyball program.

The Blue Knights announced Friday that they hired Andrew Palmer to be the inaugural head coach when the team begins play in 2020.

“As a start-up program, it was very important for us to bring in the right person who understands the landscape of NCAA men’s volleyball,” athletics director Larry Cox said in a statement. “Andrew’s background as a collegiate student-athlete and coach displayed his passion, drive and commitment to the sport. We feel confident in Andrew’s ability to lead Blue Knight men’s volleyball.”

Palmer spent last season as the interim head coach for Aurora and guided the first-year NCAA Division III program to finish 12-14. He also was an assistant coach with the Aurora women’s volleyball team during the last four seasons.

Along with his coaching experience at Aurora, Palmer spent two years as an assistant coach for Robert Morris. The NAIA program with Palmer on its coaching staff ended the 2017 season ranked in the top 10 of the national coaches poll.

“I’m thrilled to help bring men’s volleyball to campus and help guide young men in reaching their goals, both on and off the court,” Palmer said in a statement.

Urbana is a NCAA Division II university located in Ohio. The athletics department initially announced in August that it would add a men’s volleyball team for 2019 season but later opted to delay the start program one year until 2020.