TEXARKANA, Texas -- Texas A&M University-Texarkana has added a new sport in women's volleyball.
The Eagles introduced women's volleyball as their ninth sport. Madeleine Halford will be the head coach of the program, which starts in the fall.
"We looked at our conference and wanted to find ways to advance our conference in sport offerings and the number of teams in each sport," Athletic Director Michael Galvan said. "We were also looking to add a sport to supplement enrollment numbers.
"We were also wanting to add a spectator sport in the fall. People can watch soccer outdoors or volleyball indoors. The program will also bring in strong student-athletes, who will major in one of our great majors like nursing, kinesiology, business and education."
Coach Halford is joining up with A&M University-Texarkana after a 4-year stint with John Wood Community College located in Quincy, Ill.
"For personal reasons, I wanted to coach at a 4-year college instead of a junior college, which is where I was at," Halford said. "I like to see what I built and what the team has built over four years instead of starting over every single year. I think will be something neat that I get to see, the school gets to see and the program gets to see. I chose the school because everyone was welcoming and it was a family atmosphere.
"Texas is a huge volleyball state and I think we are going to get some good volleyball recruits. I am excited about the athleticism that Texas will bring."
The Lady Eagles volleyball team will start practicing in the beginning of August. Halford is in the recruitment process.
"I like to see my girls grow as players and as human beings," Halford said. "I believe that is the best part of coaching. I get to see the girls grow up and grow into great human beings. I get to be a part of that and it's a beautiful thing."
The new coach from Quincy, Ill., has set a goal to win many games and be atop the conference standings. Halford had many solid qualities that stood out to Galvan, the hiring manager.
"Coach Halford is extremely resourceful and maximizes her efforts with her current situation," Galvan said. "She is able to get the most out of what she has, which, for us, is a perfect fit. With being a new program, we are going to have some hiccups along the way.
"She is passionate and has a dedication like no other. She demonstrated strong leadership qualities, not just for women, but for athletes in general. Coach Halford will be a good example for young ladies in this area. She is going to do a tremendous job for us."