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President's Corner: Volleyball Marks A New Milestone In Women’s Athletics

Old Dominion has a rich and proud history in women's athletics. In 1974, we became the first university in Virginia and among the first in the nation to award women athletic scholarships. Our teams in such sports as basketball, field hockey and sailing have won national tournaments.

In January, we reached another milestone. Our newest women's team - volleyball - played its first game, and the Monarchs won in convincing style, beating the established George Mason, 3-0.

Our women's volleyball story is a success on a number of levels - not just athletic.

We have renovated the gym at the Jim Jarrett Athletic Administration Building, which had been a basketball practice facility, into a state-of-the-art, nearly 900-seat Volleyball Center, which can serve as a venue for summer camps and University gatherings. The facility also features staff offices, home and visitor's locker rooms, a dressing room for referees and a team room, where Monarchs can watch game and practice footage.

I want to reiterate my thanks to the Ripley family for endowing one of the scholarships for our volleyball players in honor of Kate and me.

Typical of our teams - and the University as a whole - our players bring a diverse set of experiences. They come from six states and four foreign countries - Argentina, Australia, Italy and Russia.

They - and we - are fortunate to have Fred Chao as head coach. Fred has more than 20 years of coaching experience, having served as head coach of the men's program at George Mason and associate and assistant coach of women's volleyball at Duke and Virginia Tech. He's been named Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Coach of the Year three times. Fred also has a master's degree in educational psychology.

His assistant coaches are Becca Lamb and Adam McLamb.

Most important, our volleyball players are committed to both the court and their academic work. More than half are majoring in STEM-H subjects. Last semester,

they led all women's teams with a 3.72 GPA. That was very close to a straight-A average.

I encourage you to cheer on our newest student-athletes either in person or virtually as they continue their first season.

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