Trevor Schirman will lead the new men's volleyball program at Briar Cliff.
Briar Cliff University has announced the addition of men's volleyball as an intercollegiate varsity sport, to begin play during the 2015-16 school year. The men's volleyball program will be the tenth men’s sport offered by the university, joining a slate which includes: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track (indoor/outdoor) and wrestling.
Taking the reins of the program will be BC head women's volleyball coach Trevor Schirman. In his first year guiding the Charger women, the former member of the United States National Team led the squad to the NAIA National Tournament where it picked up its first-ever NAIA tournament victory, a 3-1 win over No. 14 Westmont. Schirman’s resume and body of work makes him an easy choice to guide BC’s men’s program.
The Hawaii native graduated from Punahou High School, in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1986 and was the No. 1 high school volleyball recruit in the nation. Schirman, who was taught by legendary coach Chris McLachlin at Punahou, went on to play collegiately for Hall of Fame coach Al Scates at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was the national freshman of the year. The three-time first team all-American was named the national player of the year in 1989. He helped the top-ranked Bruins to two national championships and still holds several UCLA and NCAA records. Schirman graduated from UCLA in 1990 and went on to compete as a member of the USA volleyball team from 1990-1993. He then played within the Italian and Greek Professional Indoor Leagues from 1993 until 1995.
“Plans to add a men’s volleyball program to the BCU Athletic Department have been evolving over the last several years and they immediately became focused with the hire of Coach Schirman,” said Briar Cliff Director of Athletics Steve Gast. “During his initial interviews, we explored his interest in potentially adding and coaching a men’s team (along with our women’s team). We felt he had the background, expertise, and the strong interest to simultaneously manage two programs. He indicated he was excited about this type of challenge. So when he was hired for the women’s program, he became our targeted coach for the men’s team. However, we wanted Trevor to initially get settled with the women’s program and to get at least one recruiting class under his belt before adding this additional responsibility. In one year, Trevor has done a tremendous job creating a great team chemistry within the women’s program. We fully anticipate he will do the same with the men’s program and that the two programs will eventually help make each other better. I can also foresee that with Trevor’s drive and many talents, he could eventually become a force in creating a club system for boys in this part of the country.”
Schirman, who has already begun recruiting, will spend the entire 2014-15 academic year recruiting the team which will take the court for the Cliff’s inaugural season in the spring of 2016. His plan is to bring in about a dozen players for the first season and to increase that squad size to nearly 18 by year two.
“From there the roster size will reflect the growth of the sport in the surrounding areas and in the GPAC. A possible JV squad could be in the future if more and more GPAC schools add their own men’s program. As of right now Morningside has a program, while Dordt, Midland and Northwestern are on the verge of also starting their own,” said Schirman.
Men’s volleyball is an emerging sport within the NAIA with over 20 schools currently playing at the varsity level. Schirman said the addition of Briar Cliff’s program is coming at the right time.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of high school boys volleyball programs throughout the nation with nowhere near enough college programs to accommodate prospective student athletes. Adding our program will give numerous athletes another next-level opportunity to play for, and obtain their higher education from, an outstanding University,” said Schirman. “I’ll be in Los Angeles June 8 for a SCVA points tournament and hopefully sign our first 2015 player.”
Over the years, Schirman has made connections around the country. Prior to coming to Briar Cliff, Schirman, coached club volleyball and served as an assistant coach at the University of California – San Diego. He feels confident that those connections have and will continue to help him on the recruiting trail.
“I will rely heavily on all of my connections to help me build this program. The same connections that helped me bring in 16 new quality women players this fall will be relied upon to recruit men. Just about every volleyball club on the west coast also runs a boys division, so the club owners, directors and coaches that I know will be able to help on the men’s side the same way they do on the women’s side. The greater Chicago area is very similar to California when it comes to the popularity of boys volleyball,” said Schirman. “I will rely on my friends and colleagues who coach and train the High Performance teams in that region for information on potential athletes.”
Helping Schirman to build the program will be his new full-time assistant coach, who is yet to be hired. Included in that individual’s responsibilities will be the running of off-season practices and workouts for both programs. The addition of an assistant will allow Schirman to concentrate on the team that is in the midst of competition. Men are in their off-season training while the women are competing in the fall and then the roles reverse in the spring. The men’s competition season typically begins in January. Thus, Schirman admits that “hiring the right assistant for the job will be key to our program’s success.”
While Schirman knows the task ahead will not be an easy undertaking, he is looking forward to the challenge and he knows that it is a smart, strategic move for the university.
“This is a great move for Briar Cliff,” said Schirman. “Men’s volleyball is on the rise in all of the collegiate divisions across the nation. Men’s volleyball is a sport that, in this part of the country very few ever get to see, appreciate or enjoy. I know fans from the community and the student body will enjoy the speed and athleticism of the men’s game. With the addition of the program, we should be able to continue to broaden the institution’s fan base which should benefit the entire athletic department.”
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