B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 15, 2011) – Florida International University (FIU) has announced that it has hired U.S. Olympic volleyball player Rita Buck-Crockett to serve as head coach of its women’s sand volleyball program, which will begin competition in the spring of 2013.
“Rita's hiring demonstrates FIU's commitment to developing a successful NCAA sand program,” said Ali Wood Lamberson, USA Volleyball director of beach programs. “USAV Beach looks forward to assisting Rita and all NCAA sand coaches in identifying talented athletes and developing the sport at the collegiate level.”
Buck-Crockett, who was recently inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame, will serve as head coach for sand volleyball and Assistant Director of Athletics for volleyball operations for FIU. Buck-Crockett (Tallahassee, Fla.) is a 1984 Olympic silver medalist with more than 30 years of professional experience as both a player and coach.
"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."
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 was a member of the 1980 Olympic volleyball team, but did not compete due to the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games. She won the silver medal with the 1984 team in Los Angeles. A member of the All-World Team in 1981, Buck-Crockett also 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.
"We're extremely pleased to bring in a coach with the level of experience like Rita Buck-Crockett has," said Pete Garcia, FIU’s Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment. "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.