The newly created Belmont Abbey College team will be the first Division I-II men’s volleyball program to have a female as its head coach.
Belmont Abbey announced Monday that it would add men’s volleyball as a varsity sport starting in 2013 and introduced Mary DeJute as the team’s head coach.
DeJute spent the last three seasons coaching the Belmont Abbey women’s volleyball team and is the winningest coach in its program history with a 42-45 career record. She also has experience coaching men’s teams, leading her former boys’ club team to a bronze medal the USA Volleyball Junior National championships.
“I am thrilled and honored to lead the men’s program at Belmont Abbey College,” DeJute said in statement. “Being part of building a program from the ground up is rare and I look forward to the challenge. The opportunity to play against top Division I and II schools is exciting and I intend to hit the recruiting trail immediately. Finding the right fit for the College and the style of play we want to utilize will be the foundation on which this program will be built. We will search nationwide for quality student-athletes with the mission fit in mind.”
DeJute will be the second female to be the head coach of a college men’s volleyball team — and the first to coach a Division I-II team.
Belmont Abbey athletics director Quin Monahan said in a statement released Monday that he is confident DeJute will do a good job developing the school’s new sport.
“We are fortunate that coach DeJute has agreed to lead our men’s program,” Monahan said. “I have great confidence she will do so with the same professionalism and positive leadership witnessed in the women’s program. Mary is an excellent recruiter and coach and will be a great leader – for the men and women – both on and off the court.”
Belmont Abbey, located in Belmont, N.C., will compete in the Conference Carolinas beginning in the 2013 season. The school was already a member of the Conference Carolinas for its 18 other intercollegiate varsity sports.
The Conference Carolinas is a Division II conference and in 2009 became the first multi-sport conference to sponsor men’s volleyball. The conference will become eligible for an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament starting in 2004.
Belmont Abbey will be the ninth men’s volleyball team to join the conference and is the third school in the last four months to announce it would form a team.
Erskine and Coker announced earlier this year they would form men’s volleyball teams for the 2013 season. In addition, Barton College is entering its inaugural season in 2012 and is the Conference Carolinas’ sixth men’s volleyball member — the minimum needed for a conference to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
With the addition of Belmont Abbey, the Conference Carolinas in 2013 will be the second largest men’s volleyball conference in the nation.