Jonathan Coelho, Assistant Editor
NGU Athletics have been in a stage of expansion over the past year with new turf fields for soccer and football, new courts for tennis and the addition of programs such as men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s volleyball.
Fred Battenfield has been tasked with leading the new men’s volleyball program. The new coach has an extensive resume in sports, working at the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games volleyball competitions. He was the producer for Olympic volleyball at the ’96 Games in Atlanta; press attaché for the U.S.A. volleyball teams in ’88 in Seoul, Korea, and served as assistant press venue chief for volleyball in ’84 in Los Angeles. He is a former national volleyball referee, and coached men’s and women’s college volleyball at UT San Antonio.
When speaking about his recruiting class, Battenfield said, “What an incredible experience it’s been working to build a brand new men’s volleyball program at North Greenville University.” As with any new program, many of the incoming players are freshman, but Battenfield said he believes they have the quality to compete, “I am highly encouraged by the young men who have demonstrated the courage to come to an unknown entity in NGU. We have a diverse group coming from multiple states and Canada and they all have competed on national level club teams.”
The new Crusaders team will open in a real David-versus-Goliath matchup as they take on Pepperdine University in their official season opener on January 3 against one of college volleyball’s top 10 teams. The boys from Malibu, Calif. will test the new volleyball program early. The game will be hosted at the brand new $19 million Upward Star Center in Spartanburg.