Chattanooga Mocs Adding Beach Volleyball as New Sport

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(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA — In a statement released by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton on Thursday morning, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will add beach volleyball as its 16th NCAA Division I intercollegiate sport.

“We are excited about the addition of Beach Volleyball to our Intercollegiate athletics lineup.  It is one of the rising competitive programs in the NCAA and bringing it to Chattanooga is exciting for our university and community,” said Wharton.

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UTC will face a limited schedule this spring before competing in a full season in spring of 2021. Chattanooga will announce and confirm conference alignment in the near future.

All future home matches will be played at the newly constructed UTC Sports Complex located on O’Neal Street next to historic Engel Stadium in downtown Chattanooga. You can check out more information on the UTC Sports Complex, HERE.

The initial roster will consist of the indoor volleyball student-athletes who retain eligibility in Spring 2020.

Current indoor assistant coach Darin Van Horn has been tabbed to lead the Mocs’ beach volleyball program. Van Horn is entering his fifth season at UTC after moving to the Scenic City in 2015. He helped lead the indoor team to its first SoCon Regular Season title in two decades behind a 26-6 overall record during his initial season.

Van Horn came to Chattanooga from the University of Virginia where he served as a volunteer assistant for one season. It was his first post-graduate position after several roles during his undergraduate days at Penn State.

He was the travel manager for the Nittany Lions men’s volleyball squad from 2009-12 and the highly-regarded women’s program for two (2012-13), including the 2013 NCAA Championship run. He served as head coach for the women’s club team from 2013-14. Van Horn also played for the men’s club squad from 2009-13.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.