Sand Volleyball Update
June 30, 2011
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Unlike the surface soon to be poured for Florida State's newest sport, the impending construction and other important decisions for the new sand volleyball facility are quite fluid.
This according to Associate Athletics Director Bernie Waxman and Director of Facilities Laurie Swiger, who together are overseeing the addition of the courts to FSU's campus.
I sat down with Waxman and Swiger on June 30, 2011 to discuss the future of this facility for a sport that begins play in the spring of 2012. With new head coach Danalee Corso on board, the sand volleyball program will begin its inaugural season in late March with the first year concluding sometime in May.
While Corso and her student-athletes are preparing to be the newest 'Noles to suit up in the garnet and gold, Waxman and Swiger as well as other university officials are charged with creating some "home sand" advantage.
Despite the fact that certain details haven't yet been ironed out and decided upon, the most important decision has been confirmed: location.
The new facility will be created on the grass field that currently separates Mike Long Track and the parking garage across the street from the Soccer/Softball Complex. Currently, the field is used by the soccer team for practice and by the track & field program for warm-ups before home meets. The cross country program also uses the area to run loops on occasion as a way of switching up a routine that usually has the student-athletes running on pavement or on local trails.
"Right now our plan is to put five sand courts on the north end of the field," said Waxman, pointing to an area that backs up to rear side of the FSU medical school. "We are going to try to maintain all three uses of that facility."
Waxman and Swiger recently met with the university to discuss the plans to dig the hole needed for the sand and the drainage as well as electrical power going out to the courts.
The next big question is what about seating for fans?
According to Waxman, there has not yet been a consensus decision on whether or not to install bleachers because sand volleyball fans are typically used to bringing their own lawn and beach chairs; much like they would do if the matches were actually being played on a beach.
As of start the start of July, it is likely that if the decision is made to install bleachers they would be of the temporary nature -- perhaps just for the bigger matches -- for the inaugural season before a permanent decision is made.
"We want to make sure that when we run an event that it is a classy event and whoever comes here leaves thinking, 'Wow, they know what they are doing,'" Waxman said.
Other decisions that need to be made involve coach offices and locker rooms for the student-athletes as well as the hiring of a strength and conditioning coach.
Even though questions remain and there are still key decisions to make, FSU has the unique distinction of being a trendsetter and a program that others will look to for guidance as sand volleyball in the southeast and the rest of the United States continues to gain popularity.
"I think there are other programs that may add sand volleyball that will be looking at us to be a leader as we get this sport off the ground," Swiger said.
Stay tuned to Seminoles.com for further updates on the addition of the sand volleyball courts, including photos and video of major updates.