AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin is adding the rapidly growing Olympic sport of Beach Volleyball as a women’s intercollegiate sport beginning this spring.
“We are excited to have Beach Volleyball join the nation’s top athletic program and be a part of our winning Longhorn tradition,” said UT President Jay Hartzell. “The combination of Indoor and Beach Volleyball will provide greater competitive opportunities for our student-athletes, increase our ability to attract top talent and deliver even more compelling sporting events for our fans and community.”
In its early stages of competition as a varsity collegiate spring sport, Beach Volleyball was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for women in 2009. It played its first official season during the 2011-12 academic year and hosted its inaugural National Championship in 2016. Under the direction of Jerritt Elliott and the current Indoor Volleyball staff, the Longhorns will pursue a limited spring schedule in 2023 before becoming a fully sanctioned intercollegiate sport for the 2024 season.
“We’ve been discussing this for a while and are thrilled to be adding this fast-paced and exciting sport to our athletics programs,” said UT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte. “Year in and year out, we have one of the premier Volleyball programs in the country, and adding Beach Volleyball will help us to continue to strengthen that. The year-round competition in a sport that attracts some of the best student-athletes in the country will be an invaluable resource for Coach Elliott and our Volleyball program, while enhancing our athletics program overall. We look forward to getting things started this spring and steadily growing in this sport in the years to come.”
The Longhorns are historically one of the nation’s premier Indoor Volleyball programs, with three National Championship and 27 all-time conference titles. That tradition has continued under Elliott, who is in his 22nd year leading the program. Over the past 16 seasons, he has led the team to a nation’s-leading 16 straight NCAA Sweet 16s and 15 NCAA Regional Finals, 10 Final Fours and five National Championship matches. The Horns won the NCAA title in 2012 and have claimed 10 of the past 11 Big 12 Championships.
“This is another great opportunity to build and expand our brand of Texas Volleyball,” Elliott said. “Having it alongside our indoor team will be a great addition to our program in so many ways. Spring competition and Beach Volleyball will bring added exposure, enhance recruiting and the opportunity to bring in even more elite student-athletes in our sport. It also will provide additional training opportunities along with some exciting volleyball events and competitions in the years to come. And on top of that, it’s a really fun and entertaining sport that I know our fans will really enjoy coming out to see.”
Beach Volleyball will join a group of 20 intercollegiate programs that has led Texas to back-to-back LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup titles as the nation’s top overall athletics program during the past two seasons. Texas is coming off a year that included four National Championships and six NCAA runner-up finishes. Of its 20 varsity sports, 10 finished in the NCAA top-two finishes, 12 among the top five and 14 in the top 10.