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Emma Racila named Gallaudet University men's volleyball head coach

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University Athletics Department is proud to announce Emma Racila has been selected as the new men’s volleyball club coach as announced by Athletic Director Michael Weinstock on Tuesday. Racila currently serves as an assistant coach with the women’s volleyball varsity team.

“Emma is the perfect person to help build our men’s volleyball program. She brings a lot of energy to the position,” said Weinstock. “Her experience is vast as a player and now as a coach with the Bison. She has NCAA Division I experience as a student-athlete playing volleyball and will use that to help teach fundamentals needed at this level. We have high expectations for her to build up this program and return it to greatness.”

Racila is in her first season as an assistant coach with the Gallaudet University women’s volleyball program following an accomplished playing career at the College of Charleston and Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I'm thrilled and honored to accept this opportunity to coach the men’s volleyball club program. I look forward to putting together the team and working with players that have a huge passion for the game,” said Racila. “I appreciate the Gallaudet University Athletics Department entrusting me with the future direction of this program.”

Racila is a current member of the US National Deaf Women’s Volleyball team. At Florida Gulf Coast University, Racila was a two-year member of the Eagles’ program where she recorded 2.51 kills/set as an outside hitter/opposite and led her team to a regular-season championship in 2009. She also earned Atlantic Sun Academic Honors as well as the Hillmyer-Tremont Foundation Athletic Academic Honors. She graduated with her master’s in public administration in 2011. Racila began her collegiate career at the College of Charleston as an outside hitter, earning two back-to-back conference championships as well two back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. After three years, she graduated with her bachelor’s in political science in 2009.

“I feel confident in my ability to translate my Division I experience into success on the sidelines as a coach,” said Racila. “I am eager to share my knowledge and experiences as a collegiate student-athlete, both on and off the court. Plus, I have gained valuable experience under Gallaudet coach Lynn Ray Boren and will take with me patience and leadership as I look to start a solid men's program here at Gallaudet.”

This is not the first time Gallaudet fielded a men's volleyball team as the Bison had a championship caliber program back in the 1970's when they won four straight Potomac Intercollegiate Conference championships (1974-77). In 1975, the Bison were a participant in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament. Bison Hall of Famer Robert Jackson founded Gallaudet’s men’s volleyball program in 1973. He led the Bison to five straight winning seasons after the pilot season.

Men’s volleyball is an emerging sport at the Division III level. This past January at the NCAA Convention the NCAA Division III Championships Committee announced the formation of the Association’s 89th championship. The first-ever NCAA Division III men’s volleyball championship will be held April 27-29 at a site to be determined. If Gallaudet men’s volleyball club team has a successful spring and the participant numbers are high and consistent the sport has the chance to be elevated to varsity status for Spring 2013.

“The recent establishment of the NCAA Division III men’s volleyball championships should fuel the enthusiasm for our players to want to elevate our program to varsity status and have something to play for,” said Racila. “Our goals this coming year is to build a strong foundation of skills and technique which will be crucial to the early development of the program. I envision a team with strong culture and character. I feel that commitment and dedication to the team must exist for this program to become a full-fledged varsity sport.”

Racila currently resides in Washington, D.C., where she is working for Rare, an international environmental non-profit, in Arlington, Va., on a program management fellowship.

Racila expects to host training camp for the men’s volleyball program in January. A complete club game schedule will be posted at a later date. If you are interested in trying out for the Gallaudet men’s volleyball club team please e-mail Coach Racila at elracila@gmail.com.