"We're extremely pleased to bring in a coach with the level of experience like Rita Buck-Crockett has," Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia said. "As a program, we're very excited to be a part of this new intercollegiate sport and we expect to be competitive right away."
Sand volleyball is an emerging sport and Division I competition became effective in August 2011. According to American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), there are currently 17 programs around the country and more are scheduled to be added in the future. Fellow Sun Belt Conference member FAU is also adding a program and six other Florida schools will compete in 2012.
The Panthers will field five doubles teams that will compete in best-of-three matches to 21, with the tie-breaker being played to 15. All sets are rally-scoring and must be won by two points.
Leading the program as head coach and Assistant Director of Athletics for volleyball operations for FIU is Buck-Crockett, a former Olympic medalist with over 30 years of professional experience as both a player and coach. She comes from Tallahassee, Fla., where she owned and operated the North Florida Volleyball Academy, while also coaching the Maclay High School varsity squad.
"I'm very honored and excited to become a part of the FIU Athletics Department as an assistant AD and Head Sand Volleyball Coach," Buck-Crockett said. "I look forward to leading our sand volleyball program to a National Championship and helping to get the indoor volleyball program to the next level."
Before then, Buck-Crockett served as the associate head coach at Florida State University from 2004-06 and as the head coach at the University of Iowa from 1998-2004. Internationally, Buck-Crockett was the head coach of RTV Basel in Switzerland from 1993-97 and served as the Swiss National Team head coach in 1995.
Buck-Crockett enjoyed a successful playing career, representing the United States on the National Volleyball Team during the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, helping her squad to a Silver Medal during the '84 Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif. A member of the All-World Team in 1981, Buck-Crockett achieved success playing in Japan, Italy, Switzerland and Peru over the next 15 years.
Buck-Crockett was a world beach champion for the WPVA, partnering with the first ever Olympic Gold medalist, Jackie Silva in 1989 and was also runner-up in 1990. She also played several successful seasons on the AVP professional beach circuit.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 17 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls 46,000 students in two campus and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in17 sports. In 2010 the Panthers won their first bowl game. For more information about FIU, visit www.fiu.edu/.
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