"The Coop" - UNF Beach Volleyball Gets a Home on Campus

"The Coop" - UNF Beach Volleyball Gets a Home on Campus

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (unfospreys.com) -- The University of North Florida beach volleyball program will now have a home on campus as released by the UNF Athletics Department Monday, September 9. The news became public today via a surprise gathering on the grounds of the future on-campus complex.

UNF beach volleyball's home will be known as "The Cooper Beach Volleyball Complex" or, "The Coop", and will feature five courts, a digital scoreboard and bleachers that can seat a capacity of 300 people. The complex will be located just north of the UNF Softball Complex and adjacent to the walkway coming from UNF Parking Lot 18 towards the center of campus. 

"This is a great day because this complex doesn't happen without a collaborative effort," said Director of Athletics Lee Moon. "I want to thank everyone involved, beginning with the Cooper family and their facility naming-rights gift. I also want to thank North Florida Sales and UNF Student Government for their court-naming contributions. I want to recognize Clark Hurst for his court-naming rights gift, as well as Broden Askew, Jim and Jane Sabo and Ryan Proffitt for their gifts towards this project."

The final push to complete the construction's funding came from the generous donation from Dwight and Christine Cooper's "Cooper Family Foundation". A resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Dwight Cooper is a member of the UNF Foundation Board, former UNF assistant men's basketball coach (1991-95), founder and CEO of Hueman People Solutions and founder of the Fortune magazine featured PPR Talent Management Group located in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

"An impressive group of young ladies have been quietly building a winning beach volleyball program at UNF," Dwight Cooper said. "They have earned the opportunity to have best-in-class home courts on campus. It is a privilege for our family to join a number of other generous supporters in making this happen."

A regulation complex on campus benefits the beach volleyball program, department and university as a whole through augmenting program visibility locally and nationwide, while strengthening recruiting efforts and bolstering the potential for attendance at home matches. Practice logistics are made easier as student-athletes and coaches can stay on campus, and tournament and invitational play is made possible. 

"This all leads us to the student-athlete experience and how important it is to have a competition complex on campus," said Moon. "It's a win-win opportunity in that our team will compete in a top-notch facility and the campus community has the chance to utilize the grounds and get behind the pride of having a home for beach volleyball on campus. Considering the national growth of beach volleyball within the NCAA, the addition of this facility puts our program in a great position to compete on the national stage."

"I think the first thing that I noticed in accepting the position [at UNF] is the potential here, indoor and beach," head coach Kristen Wright said. "I think that this is a move that is going to make a big impact in our program and our school in terms of national prominence. I think that beach volleyball can be something big, and I've said that since I got here. Kind of like the "Field of Dreams", if you build it and they will come. I think we are building something that is great and that recruits are going to want to be a part of."