The birthplace of volleyball will now have a nearby NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team.
American International College announced earlier this week that it will start a men’s volleyball program beginning in the 2022 season.
American International is an NCAA Division II college with an enrollment of about 1,300 undergraduate students. The school is also located in Springfield, Massachusetts — less than 15 miles from Holyoke, where the sport was invented and home to the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
“We are excited to continue to expand our athletic opportunities at AIC,” interim athletics director Jessica Chapin said in a statement. “We feel the addition of men’s volleyball is a natural fit for the AIC community with the strength of our women’s program. Men’s volleyball is a sport that has experienced tremendous growth especially at the high school and collegiate levels recently. We look forward to contributing to the growth and becoming a competitive volleyball program in New England.”
The Yellow Jackets will be the second college in Springfield to have a men’s volleyball program. Springfield College has won five NCAA Division III men’s volleyball championships and was a member of the EIVA prior to 2012 when the NCAA started a Division III championship.
American International also joins Harvard as the only NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball programs from Massachusetts.
Along with starting a men’s volleyball program, American International announced that Matthew Cribbin was promoted to the Director of Volleyball and Hector Jose Reyes was named the team’s inaugural head coach.
Reyes has spent the last four seasons as the technical coordinator for player development with the Iowa State women’s volleyball team. The Puerto Rican native also spent two seasons as a women’s volleyball assistant coach at Evansville.
Cribbin in his new role will continue to serve as the American International women’s volleyball head coach. Cribbin has compiled 139 career wins with the Yellow Jackets and helped four players earn All-American honors.
“I am so grateful to AD Jess Chapin, President Vince Maniaci and our senior administration for the courage in development of a brand-new sport at AIC,” Cribbin said in a statement. “Being entrusted with directing both programs is an honor and opportunity I relish. I have long been passionate about growing the sport of volleyball and I believe AIC and Western Massachusetts is the perfect environment to do so. I can’t wait to see this program grow and flourish with such great support from the AIC community, the city of Springfield, and all of Western Massachusetts.”
First Point Volleyball contributed $10,000 to help American International start this program.
This is the second program in recent weeks that has received money from First Point Volleyball to start a program for the 2022 season. First Point Volleyball awarded a $200,000 grant to the NCAA Division I school Fairleigh Dickinson to begin its men’s volleyball team next year.