Murray Evans, Sports Information Director
OKLAHOMA CITY – Volleyball is coming back to Oklahoma Christian.
After a 36-year absence, OC will revive its program with the 2019 season, the university’s athletic director, David Lynn, said Friday.
A search for a coach will begin immediately, Lynn said, and that person will spend the next year building the program. The Lady Eagles will begin competing again in the sport just as OC moves into the Lone Star Conference for the 2019-20 academic year.
With the addition of volleyball, OC will have 17 varsity sports in its lineup – nine for women and eight for men – as well as club bowling for both genders.
“Volleyball is a huge club sport in our region and the collegiate teams around us have been very successful,” Lynn said. “We sit in a talent-rich area and I think it makes a lot of sense for our athletic department at a small, private, Christian institution for us to offer that sport. It’s something that we can be competitive in and that sport could make the university very proud in everything that it does.”
OC fielded a varsity volleyball program from 1976 to 1983, posting winning records in the first four seasons before falling upon hard times. OC dropped the program following the 1983 season after four straight losing campaigns.
Interest in bringing volleyball back to OC has increased in recent years as Oklahoma developed into a hotbed for the sport. Lynn said one of the most frequent questions he’s been asked during his time as an OC athletic administrator is about whether volleyball might return to the university.
Among Church of Christ-affiliated universities in the U.S., OC is the only one not to offer volleyball, and Lynn said it was important to remove that distinction and to provide females who wanted to attend OC and play volleyball the chance to do so.
“We want to offer that opportunity to our incoming female student-athletes,” Lynn said. “We want to serve the volleyball community and take advantage of the interest in our area. A lot of student-athletes that would like to come play volleyball at Oklahoma Christian have gone to other Church of Christ institutions for the last 20 or 30 years. We want to change that.”
Donors have provided the funds for the university to renovate the current women’s visitors’ locker room in the Payne Athletic Center and it will serve as the locker room for the volleyball team, Lynn said.
Donors still are being sought to help replace the current playing surface in the Eagles’ Nest, which Lynn hopes will happen before the program returns to action in 2019. The current playing surface is the original one installed when the building was constructed in 1970.
Other sports currently offered at OC include baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s swimming and men’s and women’s track and field. Men’s and women’s bowling teams will begin competition at the club level in 2018-19.