GREENVILLE, Ill. -- Greenville College has announced plans to begin an intercollegiate program in men's volleyball that will begin competition during the 2015-16 school year.
Head volleyball coach Tom Ackerman will become director of volleyball operations, continuing to provide leadership to the women’s team and beginning the process of recruiting and hiring a head coach for the new men’s team.
"The athletic programs at Greenville College are enjoying some of the most successful years in history," said athletic director Kent Krober. "There is a wonderful attraction to come and be a part of the GC community where students can enjoy life in small town America while gaining an excellent, marketable education."
"I am pleased and excited to add this wonderful sport. Our women's volleyball team has raised the bar with high expectations, and I expect our new men’s program to follow in the same path. H.J. Long Gymnasium will have more nights of bright lights and great excitement as we welcome this new fast paced and power game to our list of great sports."
The new program will apply for membership in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League, an NCAA Division III sanctioned conference. The NCAA has sponsored an official Division III men's volleyball national championship since 2012. The winner of the MCVL will receive an automatic bid in the NCAA national championships beginning in 2017. Current members of the MCVL include Benedictine, Carthage, Milwaukee Engineering, Fontbonne, Mt. St. Joseph, Lakeland, Loras, and Dominican. North Central and Greenville are the conference's prospective ninth and tenth members.
Ackerman became head volleyball coach at Greenville College in the 2002 season. His connection with the Greenville College volleyball program dates back to 1997 when he was a student assistant coach for three years under head coaches Pam Craig and Rick McPeak. He later became an assistant coach under Rick McPeak for two years.
As head coach, Ackerman was voted St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year in 2002, 2008, 2010, and 2013. The 2013 squad won their first outright league championship after sharing the title for the previous three seasons.
Ackerman has taken the Panthers to the conference tournament for the last eight years, and the 2010 team earned the right to play in the NCAA national tournament as SLIAC tournament champions.
Ackerman has trained internationally with coaches and players from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Coaching at every level from elementary to college, as well as both girls and boys, has given him valuable experience.
Ackerman coached boys club level volleyball for St. Louis CYC for several years and won numerous regional championships. As a player, he played four years at Greenville College while it was a club sport, and the team won the conference title during his senior season. Ackerman also played open level club volleyball in the gateway region and on teams in adult nationals.
“I am very excited that we are adding a men’s program at GC, and I am confident we will be able to attract high level players," said Ackerman. "Greenville is a great volleyball community and I am honored to oversee both programs.”