USAO to add volleyball to its sports offerings in 2016

Picture of Sheri Deily, USAO's women's volleyball coach.
Sheri Deily has been chosen to lead USAO's women's volleyball program, which will begin fall 2016.

USAO to add volleyball to its sports offerings in 2016


An opportunity for students who desire to play volleyball at the collegiate level will soon exist at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma as school officials announced the sport will join its list of varsity intercollegiate offerings.

USAO Athletic Director Brisco McPherson said that the Drovers will start volleyball in the Sooner Athletic Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) beginning fall 2016.

“I am very excited that we will be offering women’s volleyball here at USAO,” McPherson said. “Volleyball is a dynamic, fast-paced sport that is very entertaining and fun to watch. Bringing the sport to USAO allows us to provide more opportunities for young ladies who have the necessary athletic skills and academic qualifications at our unique institution.”

Volleyball is the second most popular high school sport for females in the United States behind only track and field. A number of high schools within the USAO service area are among the most successful in the state of Oklahoma.

“The popularity of the sport will offer us a broad platform and expand opportunities for students considering USAO in their choices of colleges,” said President John Feaver. “I'm very excited about what volleyball will bring to our university and the high-quality students we will attract with offering the sport."

To lead the volleyball program, USAO has chosen Sheri Deily from a strong list of quality candidates. Deily is the founder, director and coach of Club Synergy Volleyball based in Piedmont. She has grown the club from six players to more than 40 in the last three years where they competed successfully in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas tournaments.

“I cannot wait to get started. Volleyball is my passion, and I love teaching the sport,” Deily said. “This opportunity is a big step in my coaching career, and I look forward to the challenges and rewards of building the program.”

Deily initially became aware of the position through USAO’s ultra-successful soccer coach Jimmy Hampton who encouraged her to apply. The screening committee agreed with Hampton’s assessment and considered Deily’s experience, background and personality the right fit for the position.

The uniqueness of starting a program from the beginning offers its special set of challenges. However, that is what is most attractive about the job, according to Deily.

“I understand the peaks and pitfalls of starting a program from scratch. I did the same with Club Synergy three years ago,” Deily said. “I will have total control over choosing my players. I can build a relationship with them even before the season starts which will make us stronger on the court.”

Deily has experience at building support for the game she loves. She introduced volleyball to the Piedmont area and grew not only her club, but was instrumental in starting the sport at the high school in 2011.

“I plan to have camps and clinics in the summer and hopefully we can get a club started in the area,” Deily said. “With the existing support of the USAO administration, faculty, staff and students, I’m certain that we can produce a group of student-athletes that both USAO and the Chickasha community will be proud to support.”

Deily’s official start date is Dec. 14 but she has began recruiting and scheduling already. More information including tryout dates will be made available at a later date.