The Cal Poly beach volleyball program made history in 2019 by making its first NCAA Championship. This week, more history was made as the university broke ground on a beach volleyball complex on campus.
The Mustang Beach Volleyball Complex will feature five regulation-size NCAA beach volleyball courts, seating for up to 250 spectators, a state-of-the-art LED video scoreboard that will be positioned on the south side of Mott Athletics Center, lights around the facility, and an outdoor shower.
“We are delighted that with the leadership of our loyal Mustang supporters, we are able to begin construction on what we believe will be one of the finest on-campus facilities in the country,” Director of Athletics Don Oberhelman said. “This will help Coach Rogers continue to recruit and develop some of the best beach volleyball student-athletes in the country, and further cement our position as a top ten Division I program.”
Since the inception of the program in 2014, the team has played its home matches in Pismo Beach— about 10 miles away from campus. This new 35,000 square-foot complex will be located in between Mott Athletics Center and Mustang Tennis Complex, next to Anderson Aquatic Center. The beach volleyball complex will replace the outdoor basketball courts.
“I am very excited about breaking ground on the Cal Poly beach courts,” head coach Todd Rogers said. “The support of the donors and administration in getting this done so quickly has been simply amazing. I look forward to practicing on the courts in the fall when they are finished and even more so in the spring when we will be competing on them.”
While playing at the beach the past several years has been a unique and fun experience for the team, Rogers thinks this new complex will only help grow the success of the program.
“These courts are a huge recruiting advantage! Not many schools have their own beach facilities on campus and very few have five courts to be able to practice and play on. The courts being nestled right up to the training room, weight room, locker room, and beach office will make the players’ lives much easier. It is like a one-stop-shop for all the amenities needed for a beach player.”
In addition to Rogers and the athletic department, the players on the team are equally as excited about having the new complex on campus.
“I am super excited for our new facility,” said senior beach volleyball player Emily Sonny. “It will make practices and matches more convenient for us as a team as well as our fans to come out to support and show their Cal Poly pride. This new addition will help Cal Poly beach volleyball make an even bigger name for itself than it already has.”
“It is such a wonderful gift to help us on our quest for an NCAA championship,” junior Macy Gordon said. “This will bring more mustang spirit to our campus and help us achieve our full potential.”
The total cost of the project, which is all donor-based, is roughly $3 million. So far, $2.55 million from 16 donors has been raised. Supporters interested in donating can contact either Associate Athletics Director of Development Ashley Offermann (firstname.lastname@example.org, 805-440-9792) or Director of Development Jenna Tognazzini (email@example.com, 805-503-8563).
“Under Todd Rogers, Cal Poly has consistently been a top ten program,” said Chair of the Athletic Director Council John Ronca. “The goal with this new facility is to help the program win a national championship.”
“We have great athletes and a great coach but we have lacked the tools on campus to meet and exceed the expectations of the program,” said Bill Swanson, Chair of the Cal Poly Foundation. “We want to provide our athletes with the best facilities we can. It is exciting to have it be donor-funded as the donors believe in the team and the program.”
Construction will continue the rest of the summer and into the fall with completion estimated to be in October. The Mustangs will begin playing their matches at the Mustang Beach Volleyball Complex once the 2020 season gets underway starting in February.
“This new beach volleyball complex truly shows the impact our donors can have when they come together to support our student-athletes,” said Matthew Ewing, vice president for development and alumni engagement, and CEO of the Cal Poly Foundation. “With their generous support, we will provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes and fans alike. It truly embodies the spirit of ‘The Power of Doing’. The Power of Doing: The Campaign for Learn By Doing is Cal Poly’s comprehensive campaign with a goal of raising $700 million by June 2021.”
The 2019 season was the best in Mustang program history. They won their first Big West Conference title, made their first NCAA Championship, posted a second season in a row with 25-plus victories for just the second time in program history, and had 12 wins over teams ranked in the AVCA Top 20, the most in a single season in program history. They were also ranked in the top 10 of the AVCA Poll every week of the season. Rogers was named Big West Coach of the Year, senior Crissy Jones and sophomore Tiadora Miric were named Big West Pairs Team of the Year as well as AVCA Beach All-Americans, and all five starting pairs earned all-conference honors.
The second comprehensive philanthropic campaign in Cal Poly’s history, The Power of Doing will focus on securing funding for the educational practice that has distinguished Cal Poly since its founding in 1901. Funds raised will support three primary campaign pillars: Empowering Students; Empowering Excellence, and Empowering Innovation.
These pillars will be used to fund a variety of university priorities, including state-of-the-art facilities, expansion of student-faculty research, and enhancement of project-based learning opportunities, among a host of other areas. Additionally, funds from this campaign will help increase scholarship opportunities, such as the Cal Poly Scholars Program, which seeks to recruit and retain high-achieving, low-income students from California high schools while providing support through financial, academic, and community resources.
–Provided by Cal Poly